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Thursday Bird Droppings: The search for pitching depth edition

Today in 1973, Jim Palmer won his first Cy Young award. The 2020 Orioles will probably not have a Cy Young winner.

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New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles
When David Hess is your pitching depth, you don’t have depth.
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 133 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day 2020. If that number is unacceptably high to you, perhaps you will take a bit more comfort in knowing that pitchers and catchers will be reporting to spring training in about three months from today. Three months is still a long time, especially since they will probably not be three months full of key roster additions.

Tonight will bring the last of the BBWAA award results as the Most Valuable Player winners are announced. Not so surprisingly, the Orioles did not factor into the results at all when Cy Young winners were revealed last night. In the AL, Justin Verlander won another trophy, with Astros teammate Gerrit Cole coming in a close second place. The NL saw New York’s Jacob deGrom win for the second straight year.

Former Orioles prospect Eduardo Rodriguez finished sixth in the voting, picking up three fourth place votes and two fifth place votes. If it doesn’t hurt, that’s because back-to-back 100-loss seasons have made you numb, which might be the healthiest way to feel about this team right now anyway.

In a recent chat with readers on Baseball America, Orioles beat writer Jon Meoli was asked, “What’s a realistic timetable for the Orioles to be a) watchable, b) interesting, c) fun, and d) competitive?”

Meoli responded:

I’d say interesting and fun some time late next year, watchable for non-enthusiasts late in 2021, and competitive by the end of 2022.

At this point we’ve experienced three straight years of Orioles baseball that were more depressing than not, and often quite depressing. The idea of another two seasons or more before things are competitive again really stinks. That’s the reality of how things bottomed out under Dan Duquette, though.

If Meoli is right about the team moving in a more interesting and fun direction some time late next year, hopefully because of the arrival of some more young players who could be building blocks rather than placeholders, that might start to make this whole endeavor feel like less of a slog for a fan. Fingers crossed.

Around the blogO’sphere

Caught in baseball’s ‘in-between’, Mark Trumbo contemplates playing, retiring, coaching, and maybe even pitching (The Athletic)
I think it’s more about what other teams are contemplating for him, rather than what he’s contemplating for himself.

A look at a couple of free agent starting pitchers (Steve Melewski)
Who’s ready to get excited about the possibility of signing Drew Smyly for one year and $3 million? Don’t, because even that might be more than the O’s will do.

The Orioles want to build pitching depth this offseason. Which minor league free agents could fit the bill? (Baltimore Sun)
One name mentioned here is Nabil Crismatt, whose name is a lot more interesting than his pitching at Triple-A in the past two seasons.

Projecting where some of the Orioles prospects will start in 2020 - part 2 (Baltimore Baseball)
The legion of Toby Welk fans out there will rejoice at the speculation that he could open the season with High-A Frederick. Unless this article writer is optimistic, then Welk will be at Delmarva.

O’s take major step forward in rebuilding effort (
I’ll take all the positive words about the Orioles farm system that I can get. Hopefully a year from now there are even more being written.

More on Villar’s stolen bases and the leadoff spot in the order (School of Roch)
In which Hanser Alberto is suggested as a leadoff hitter if Jonathan Villar gets traded. Well, if he hits lefties the way he did this season...

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1973, Hall of Famer Jim Palmer won the first of his three career Cy Young awards. Palmer took the trophy for a 1973 season where he had a 2.40 ERA over 296.1 innings. That adds up to an impressive ERA+ of 155, meaning he was 55% better than the average pitcher. Palmer threw 19 complete games, six of which were shutouts, and even got a save.

One lone former Oriole has a birthday today, though we all know that Curt Schilling has gone on to be known for a number of things other than just being one of the guys who got traded for Glenn Davis.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Glorious Revolution beneficiary William of Orange (1650), painter Claude Monet (1840), composer Aaron Copland (1900), political satirist P.J. O’Rourke (1947), and actress Vanessa Beyer (1981).

On this day in history...

In 1889, journalist Nellie Bly began a journey around the world to see if Jules Verne’s 1873 fiction work Around the World in Eighty Days could be accomplished in fact. Bly crossed the globe by ship and train in only 72 days.

In 1960, six-year-old Ruby Bridges became the first black child to attend a previously all-white school in Louisiana. Bridges had to be escorted to and from school by federal marshals due to threats made against her and her family, and only one teacher at the school would agree to teach a black child.

In 1965, American and North Vietnamese forces had a major clash for the first time the Battle of Ia Drang, also notable for being the first large-scale helicopter air assault in history. Both sides claimed victory, with the US Army claiming a 10:1 kill rate, while the North Vietnamese retook the ground after the five-day battle.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on November 14 - or at least, unless something happens later, which it probably won’t, but you never know. Have a safe Thursday.