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Friday Bird Droppings: Where it’s Opening Month

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Before this month is over, ladies and gentlemen, there will be actual, regular season baseball. Huzzah!

MLB: Spring Training-Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The calendar has flipped to March. And you know what that means: by the end of this month, the 2019 MLB regular season will be underway.

We’re so close, folks! We’ve slogged through five straight calendar months without regular season Orioles baseball. We don’t have to wait another full month. The Orioles, and most other teams, will begin their official games on March 28, while the Mariners and Athletics open a week earlier with a two-game series in Japan from March 20-21.

With real baseball so quickly approaching, it’s about time that one of the most prominent free agents in sports history has finally found a home. Bryce Harper agreed to an incredible 13-year deal with the Phillies worth $330 million, setting an MLB record for the largest overall contract (surpassing Giancarlo Stanton’s $325 million extension with the Marlins in 2014, most of which is now being paid by the Yankees). It also eclipses Manny Machado’s 10-year, $300 million deal with the Padres signed last week, although Machado is earning the higher average annual salary.

Wowza! Thirteen years. We’ll be having three more presidential elections before Harper’s contract expires. My currently 19-month-old daughter will be well into her teenage rebellion phase. I feel older than I ever have. Kudos to Harper for getting a huge payday, and good on the Phillies for going all in to compete.

Orioles fans will be seeing a lot less of Harper now that he’s no longer part of the annual “regional rivalry” series with the Nationals. In fact, the Orioles won’t play against Harper again until 2021, when the O’s are next scheduled to face the NL East in interleague play. (That’s assuming the Orioles don’t play the Phillies in the World Series before then, an assumption I’m very comfortable making.)

In the meantime, the Birds still have a few weeks’ worth of exhibition games to trudge through as they count down to Opening Day. Yesterday’s Orioles-Phillies matchup aired on MLB Network until the Harper news broke, at which point they cut away, never to return. Probably a good call, since the game ended in a tie, the most anticlimactic result for an already meaningless contest. Top prospect Yusniel Diaz, though, continued to be a highlight, going 3-for-4 with an RBI double. He’s 7-for-14 this spring.

As for Chris Davis, well...

Links

Wrapping up a 5-5 tie - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko has further details about yesterday’s game. Joey Rickard is hitting well, too! That doesn't excite me nearly as much as Diaz’s hot spring does, but hey, good for Joey.

Davis seeks to give Orioles their money's worth in 2019 - Yahoo Sports
I’m going to have to object to this headline. It’s all but impossible for Davis to give the Orioles “their money’s worth” at this point. I’d settle for him not being a complete liability.

Inbox: Where will prospect Mountcastle play? - Orioles.com
Joe Trezza answers questions from readers, and points out that the Orioles are planning to move Ryan Mountcastle around to different positions this spring. Can we just make him a first baseman and be done with it?

Dylan Bundy hopes that he has bounceback season for Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com
The fact that the Orioles’ 2018 Opening Day starting pitcher ended up allowing 41 home runs was just one of the many reasons their season crumbled. Here’s hoping for a Dylan Bundy rebound this year under some fresh eyes.

Orioles starter candidate Nathan Karns scratched from Friday night start with arm soreness - Baltimore Sun
The Orioles’ oft-injured new pitcher is injured again. Who could have possibly foreseen this??

Orioles birthdays

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your living O’s birthday buddies are 2003 lefty Omar Daal, who turns 47, and 1973 infielder Larry Brown (no relation to Mark), who turns 79. Two late Orioles with birthdays today are 1954 righty Howie Fox (b. 1921, d. 1955) and 1958 pinch-hitter Bert Hamric (b. 1928, d. 1984).

Also, shout out to 2017 reliever Stefan Crichton, whose birthday falls on a day that doesn’t exist this year — Leap Day, February 29. He’ll have to settle for celebrating today instead. Crichton turns 27.