It feels like spring training matters more to the Orioles this year than it has for a very long time.
First, there are position battles all over the field. Cedric Mullins is going to the be the centerfielder, and Chris Davis is likely the everyday first baseman, but are any other players’ roles set in stone? The team now has more than a dozen infielders in camp. Nearly all of the big-name prospects are getting a chance to show off. And the pitching puzzle always feels incomplete for this team.
Second, there is the creation of a culture. When there is a major regime change like happened with the Orioles this off-season, suddenly every player is put on level footing. Organizational veterans and newbies alike are strangers to the manager and front office. Relationships are formed. Processes are built. Decisions are made.
That doesn’t mean it will turn into wins on the field during the upcoming summer. But it does make the spring more interesting that it has been for several seasons. It’s anyone’s guess as to what the Orioles will look like on Opening Day. For now, all eyes are on Sarasota.
Top prospect Diaz looks to break camp with O’s - MLB.com
If the Orioles were looking to put the absolute best team on the field from the beginning of the season, there would be a decent chance that Yusniel Diaz fights his way onto the 25-man roster this spring. But they aren’t. Even if they were, Diaz likely still has a bit of seasoning to do before he is ready for the big stage.
Orioles agree to terms with SS Alcides Escobar - ESPN
Bring Mike Elias ALL of the middle infielders you can find! Alcides Escobar hasn’t been good for a few years. But there is no evidence, yet, that any of the other shortstops that the Orioles have in camp are any good either. It won’t hurt to add an experienced player to the mix.
Austin Hays is healthy, ready to re-establish himself as a top prospect - Baltimore Sun
Despite his atrocious 2018, I’m still a big believer in Hays. The guy has oodles of tools, and he put them together well enough in 2017 to rocket through the minors and make his big league debut. Maybe one injury-plagued season erases all of that, but he is in the right organization to get an opportunity to bounce back.
O’s full-squad reporting date will arrive with almost everyone in camp - Baltimore Sun
Just some quick hits here, but the meat of it focuses on the fact that just about all of the Orioles are already in camp ahead of the mandatory reporting date. That’s good! I mean, it doesn’t really matter to me, but some people want to see DEDICATION like that.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is it your birthday? Happy Birthday!
- Scott Williamson is 43 today. The right-handed reliever was a member of the Orioles bullpen in 2007, throwing 14.1 across 16 games in what would be the final action of his MLB career.
- It is also the birthday of the late Alan Wiggins (b. 1958, d. 1991). The utility-man played in 232 games for the Orioles from 1985 through 1987 before off-field issues ended his career prematurely.
- Former outfielder Mike Hart turns 61. He had a brief big league career, playing in 34 games for the ‘87 O’s.
- Willie Kirkland celebrates his 85th big day. He was a journeyman, playing for four different teams in his nine-year career. His time with the Orioles was short-lived as he played in 66 games for the team in 1964 before being purchased by the Washington Senators.
1955 - The Orioles trade first baseman Frank Kellert to the Brookyln Dodgers in exchange for pitcher Erv Palica. Kellert would go on to play in just 39 games for the Dodgers. Palica had a 9-22 record for the O’s between the ‘55 an ‘56 seasons.
1995 - Amid the strike that lasted from the previous season, the Orioles announce that they will not play exhibition games against teams using replacement players.
2003 - Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler dies of multi-organ failure. He collapsed following a spring training workout the previous day. The Broward County medical examiner determined that Bechler’s death was a result of “abnormal liver function and mild hypertension.”
2014 - The Orioles sign two pitchers. Ubaldo Jimenez inks a four-year, $50 million deal, and Suk-min Yoon finalizes a three-year, $5.75 million pact. Both of those contracts would go on to be highly successful, and the Orioles would have no regrets about either of them.