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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the roster decluttering has begun

The Orioles have some, let’s say, replaceable parts on the 40-man roster. They’ve started casting a few adrift.

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MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers
If you don’t recognize Mason Williams, that’s OK. He’s already gone.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Happy All Saints’ Day. Hope you enjoyed your Halloween, for those who celebrated. We took our 2-year-old daughter out trick-or-treating in her dinosaur costume, complete with custom-made velociraptor cage (a.k.a., a wagon decorated with Jurassic Park decals and strung-up lights as an “electric fence”). I look forward to eating all the candy she collected.

Meanwhile, in baseball, the World Series is over, the calendar has flipped to November, and it’s time for clubs to start jettisoning some of the flotsam and jetsam from the roster. The Orioles have more than most. In the last two days, they’ve excised five players from their 40-man, the most recent being outfielder Mason Williams, who declined an outright assignment to the minors yesterday and elected to become a free agent.

The fact that Williams was one of the best hitters at Triple-A Norfolk (batting .308/.371/.477 with 18 homers and 67 RBIs), yet still didn’t get called up until September for a club that was noticeably lacking a center fielder all year, tells you all you need to know about the front office’s opinion of his talents. The 28-year-old journeyman will now try to latch on with a new organization, which would be the fourth of his career. His brief Orioles stint will soon be forgotten.

He’s not the only player for whom that will be true. Looking at the current Birds 40-man roster, I count at least a half-dozen more players who could easily be sent packing without batting an eyelash. (Tell me, what’s your favorite memory of the Eric Hanhold era?) Expect to say your goodbyes to several other unremarkable Orioles throughout the winter.


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The headline has about eight too many words, but the gist of this story is that the O’s screwed up letting Nick Markakis leave town five years ago. I don’t know if the loss of Markakis was the mistake so much as the Orioles’ complete inability to find a competent right fielder afterwards.

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If you had your heart set on Mark Trumbo returning to the Orioles, friend, then Roch Kubatko has some bad news for you.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have three O’s birthday buddies: 2012 infielder Steve Tolleson (36), 1993 rotation filler and former Dodgers phenom Fernando Valenzuela (59), and the late Jim Pyburn (b. 1932, d. 2011), a utility man for the 1955-57 Orioles.

On this day in 1960, O’s shortstop Ron Hansen won the AL Rookie of the Year vote after posting a .781 OPS and contributing 22 homers and 86 RBIs in 153 games. Hansen received 22 of the 24 first-place votes, and the two he didn’t get went to two other Orioles: Chuck Estrada (18-11, 3.58 ERA) and Jim Gentile (21 HRs, 98 RBIs, .903 OPS). It was a good year for O’s rookies, folks.