Good morning, Camden Chatters.
How’s your holiday shopping going? Done? Almost done? Not even started? You know, some might say that the true gift of the holidays is being with family and friends. Of course, others might say, “Screw that, gimme actual gifts.” No judgment here!
The Orioles haven’t made much progress in their shopping, such as it is. They’re obviously not going to be bidders for any free agents of much renown, but they do have a few roster holes that they need to fill externally. They’re said to be looking for a defensive-minded shortstop and a couple of arms to plug into the rotation, but they might have to wait around and pick up the scraps of the free agent market — i.e., the players who have no offers from anyone but the Orioles.
So far, the O’s have added only two players to the 40-man roster this offseason who have previous big league experience: reliever Cole Sulser and infielder Pat Valaika, both of whom they claimed off waivers in October. So, yes, there’s still some work to be done before the Orioles have enough warm bodies to field a team in 2020.
Elias still in early stages of Orioles’ roster construction - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff notes that Mike Elias still has plenty more roster overhauling to do before the O’s are even remotely good. So if you’re wondering if the 2020 season will be just as crappy as 2019 was...why, yes. Yes it will.
A scout’s take on some Orioles prospects - Steve Melewski
An AL scout has some nice things to say about O’s prospects, even the fringe guys like Ryan Ripken and Zach Jarrett. And it’s not even an Orioles scout.
More from Saturday’s Winter Warm-Up - School of Roch
Among the leftover quotes from the Orioles' Winter Warm-Up, Sig Mejdal insists that grizzled scouts and analytics nerds actually work together in front offices rather than chirping at each other. I guess that’s a good thing, but it makes for a much less interesting scene than the ones in Moneyball.
The Baltimore Orioles Should Trade Trey Mancini...Now - Forbes
Look at Forbes, coming in hot with the Orioles takes!
‘We’re going back to work’: Bobby Dickerson’s Padres job reunites him with longtime pupil Manny Machado – The Athletic
Bobby Dickerson is just one of the cavalcade of former Orioles joining the Padres coaching staff in 2020. This is a nice read if you’d like to reminisce about the recent glory days of O’s baseball.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your most notable O’s birthday buddy is the late Jerry Adair (b. 1936, d. 1987), a slick-fielding infielder for the Birds during the early ‘60s. Baseball Reference tells me that his nickname was Casper the Friendly Ghost, and I’d love to know the story behind that one. Among ex-Orioles still with us, 2012 righty Stu Pomeranz turns 35 today and 2008 infielder Alex Cintron turns 41.
Twice on this date, the Orioles have signed free agent relievers who turned out to be injured. In 1998, the O’s agreed to a two-year, $2.7 million contract with righty Xavier Hernandez, but he failed the team’s physical after doctors noticed a shoulder injury. The O’s tried to void the contract but ended up paying him a $2 million settlement after he filed a grievance.
Exactly 15 years later, history repeated itself when the Birds reportedly reached agreement with free agent closer Grant Balfour on Dec. 17, only to back out of the deal after seeing something they didn’t like in the physical. Balfour criticized the O’s in the media and signed with the Rays. The Orioles were mocked at the time, but Balfour ended up pitching just 71 more games in the majors, with a 5.00 ERA.
So, word to the wise — if the O’s sign a free agent today, keep an extra close eye on that physical. Dec. 17 has been an unlucky date in that regard.