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Halloween Bird Droppings: The real beginning of the offseason edition

It’s for real now. There will be no more baseball until the end of March. Now there’s a scary thought for Halloween.

Pumpkin ornament event at the Central Park Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 147 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day 2020. No more baseball games are left to divert our attention between now and spring training. The World Series ended last night and there will be no baseball that counts until the end of March. The Astros did not win a second title in three seasons.

It figures to be a quiet offseason for the Orioles. Things will probably be even less eventful than they were last year, when at least the team had to find a new general manager and then a new manager. They weren’t done doing those things until mid-December. The GM search, in particular, was important because of the signal it would send about how serious the team’s ownership would be about investing in the needed rebuild project.

We know, now, that they are on board, since the Orioles hired Mike Elias to do what needs to be done. That is a good thing in the long run. It didn’t mean a lot of winning at the MLB level in 2019, and it doesn’t look like 2020 is going to be all that great either. Coming off of a 108-loss season isn’t the time for big moves that will have an immediate, positive impact on the MLB standings.

There won’t be any big free agent signings. There may not even be any significant trades, because most of the players who you might have thought a year ago would be trade chips at this point did not play well in 2019 and don’t have much value. We’ll find out if they’re going to cash in on Jonathan Villar and Trey Mancini.

If those players get dealt, that would mark a real shift compared to what Elias and company have done so far. While they have made a lot of choices to not chase what they felt would be meaningless short-term improvement, they have not yet done a lot that would actively make the Orioles worse. Even the trade of Andrew Cashner looked like a shrewd sell high decision with how he pitched for Boston after that deal.

What will be going on a lot through the offseason is random roster churn. The Orioles kicked that off on Wednesday by outrighting four pitchers from the 40-man roster: Luis Ortiz, Josh Rogers, Ryan Eades, Tayler (not Tanner) Scott.

Ortiz and Rogers are interesting names if only because they were part of the July 2018 fire sale trades; they’ve done nothing in the organization to consider this a loss to the 40-man. Eades and Scott also did not make a memorable positive impression with the playing time given to them.

Around the blogO’sphere

Orioles claim Valaika off waivers (School of Roch)
Along with the four guys who got outrighted, the O’s made one waiver claim, on infielder Pat Valaika. Roch runs down Valaika’s career to date.

Where will Rutschman play next year? (
Joe Trezza hits the inbox to tackle questions about Adley Rutschman and comparable trades for Trey Mancini.

O’s minor league arrangement could be very different a year from now (Baltimore Baseball)
Rich Dubroff’s read on the Baseball America story about the potential elimination of minor league teams is that Delmarva might be the most likely team to be squeezed out.

A reunion with Jonathan Schoop seems unlikely for the Orioles (Steve Melewski)
It’s going to be a long offseason if it’s not even November and we’re reaching for stories like these.

Cal Ripken and Adam Jones’ former Baltimore County estate back on market (Baltimore Sun)
The people who bought the Cal Ripken house from Adam Jones did a bunch of renovations and then decided they didn’t actually want to move out of their current house to go live there, so it’s for sale again. No, really.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1979, Mike Flanagan was named the winner of the AL Cy Young Award. Flanagan pitched in 39 games, 38 of which were starts, posting a 3.08 ERA over 265.2 innings. Pitching for the fantastic ‘79 O’s helped him rack up a 23-9 record. He received 26 of 28 first place votes in beating out New York’s Tommy John. Flanagan never received a Cy Young vote again.

There are several former Orioles with Halloween birthdays. They are: 2013 eight-gamer Yamaico Navarro, 1997 reserve outfielder David Delucci, 2005-06 reliever Tim Byrdak, 2007-08 pitcher Steve Trachsel, 1995 catcher Matt Nokes, 1989-90 pitcher Mike Smith, and 1962-74 pitcher Dave McNally.

It’s also the birthday of former Orioles manager Dave Trembley.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday and Halloween to you! Your spooky birthday buddies for this day include: poet John Keats (1795), Girl Scouts of America founder Juliette Gordon Low (1860), actor John Candy (1950), author Neal Stephenson (1959), filmmaker Peter Jackson (1961), rapper and home improvement enthusiast Vanilla Ice (1967), and actress Piper Perabo (1976).

On this day in history...

In 1517, Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the All Saints Church in Wittenberg. The publication of the Theses are now generally recognized as the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, though historians say Luther the “nailing to the door” part may have happened in mid-November.

In 1917, during World War I, the British (heavily Australian) Army defeated a German-Ottoman force in the Battle of Beersheba in what is recognized as the last successful cavalry charge in military history. The victory led to the British capture of Jerusalem before Christmas.

In 1940, during World War II, the Battle of Britain came to an end, at least by British reckoning, as the threat of a Nazi invasion subsided. German accounts considered the battle as lasting until the end of the Blitz in the next year.

In 1941, work on Mount Rushmore was completed, and ever since we have been debating what is the “Mount Rushmore” of everything else.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on Halloween - or at least, unless something happens later on this first full day of the offseason. Have a safe Thursday.