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Monday Bird Droppings: The start of the winter meetings edition

The winter meetings run from today through Thursday. The Orioles may not do much other than the Rule 5 draft.

Mike Elias in the middle of a scrum of reporters. Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 108 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day 2020. That is one day for every game that the 2019 Orioles lost. Do you think that the 2020 edition of the Orioles will lose more than that? I think that signs are currently pointing to yes.

With free agents starting to sign a little earlier this year and the trade market already humming, the next few days of winter meetings could be full of activity. Probably not too much of that activity will have much to do with the Orioles since they’ve already traded Jonathan Villar and Dylan Bundy. For free agents, they’ll be trawling the bottom, if that.

If a team or several teams decide they’d rather acquire an Orioles player than sign a free agent at that position, maybe a deal will get done. Mychal Givens and Trey Mancini remain among the trade candidates. Neither seems very likely to fetch prospects that anyone other than really dedicated minor league followers know. though we know that’s not going to stop Mike Elias from trading anybody.

This does not have to be a bad thing. Consider a couple of the trades Dan Duquette made in July 2018. The O’s got Dillon Tate, a former #4 overall pick, from the Yankees in the Zack Britton trade, and Luis Ortiz, a former late-first round pick, from the Brewers in the Jonathan Schoop deal.

These had been familiar names who once had some prospect promise. A reasonably involved fan may have heard of them. Each guy had been traded once before. Their prospect stars had fallen. So far, neither looks like he will be a factor when the Orioles emerge from the rebuilding project.

Elias is looking instead for players whose prospect stars have yet to rise. Will it work out? Maybe it won’t, but it is at least something different. If Elias swings no trades this week, there’s still the rest of the offseason and then July to try to build for a better O’s future.

There’s also still the Rule 5 draft on Thursday, not that it’s very likely to help in building a better Orioles future either. You never know, though. Anthony Santander looked like one of Duquette’s Rule 5 wastes of time in the 2017 season, and two years later he hit 20 homers in 93 MLB games. He might actually have some potential. And so might whoever the O’s select on Thursday.

Around the blogO’sphere

Elias enjoying a normal Winter Meetings in 2019 (School of Roch)
At last year’s Winter Meetings, Mike Elias had to stand in front of a TV that was reporting that the Orioles were hiring Brandon Hyde as manager and give an interview saying the Orioles hadn’t hired Hyde. A few days later, they made it official, though.

Sunday Notes: Dylan Bundy’s two-seam fastball (Fangraphs)
It seems that recently-traded Dylan Bundy was enjoying more success in the second half because his two-seam fastball was working better. Maybe that will continue for him in Anaheim.

Oriole left-handers might be affected by three-batter minimum in 2020 (Baltimore Baseball)
I don’t think baseball will be missing out on much if the LOOGY (lefty one out guy) goes extinct.

Another look at the new pitchers in the organization (Steve Melewski)
Steve has the rundown of the players the Orioles picked up last week. Here’s hoping that they’re still making a difference years from now.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1965, the Orioles acquired future Hall of Famer Frank Robinson from the Reds for three players, including pitcher Milt Pappas. Bill DeWitt, at the time both the Reds owner and GM, is said to have defended the deal by calling Robinson “an old 30”, and as we all know, Robinson went on to win the Triple Crown and AL MVP on the way to the Orioles winning the 1966 World Series.

In 2010, the O’s picked up J. J. Hardy from the Twins for Brett Jacobson and Jim Hoey. The trade may not rank up with the Robinson one at the very top of the list, but it was a pretty good one. All O’s fans are lucky that Hardy was part of the 2012-14 runs.

There is one current Oriole with a birthday today. Happy 25th to that Kenny Powers lookalike himself, Hunter Harvey.

A number of former Orioles were also born today. They are: 2001-03 third baseman Tony Batista, 1996-97 outfielder Tony Tarasco, coach/interim manager Juan Samuel, 1965 five-game pitcher Darold Knowles, and the late 1959-60 infielder Billy Klaus.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Pilates developer Joseph Pilates (1883), Wizard of Oz actress Margaret Hamilton (1902), admiral/computer scientist pioneer Grace Hopper (1906), actor Kirk Douglas (1916), actress Judi Dench (1934), Green Day drummer Tre Cool (1972), musician Imogen Heap (1977), and gold medal gymnast McKayla Maroney (1995).

On this day in history...

In 1872, P.B.S. Pinchback became the governor of Louisiana, making him the first African-American to serve as governor of a state.

In 1935, the first Heisman Trophy was awarded, although at the beginning it was called the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy. The first winner was Jay Berwanger of the University of Chicago.

In 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas made its debut on CBS.

In 1979, scientists confirmed the eradication of the smallpox virus. It’s thought that 300 million people died of smallpox in the 20th century alone.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on December 9 - or at least, unless something happens at the winter meetings today. Have a safe Monday. Go O’s!