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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where that’s a wrap on Sarasota

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Spring training is officially over. The next time we see the Orioles play baseball, the games will count. Strap in!

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

We’ve made it. We’ve officially put a bow on spring training. Six weeks after Orioles pitchers and catchers reported to spring training, the club broke camp yesterday, wrapping up their Grapefruit League schedule with a 9-7 loss to the Mets in Sarasota.

The doors at Ed Smith Stadium are closed. The bags are packed. The Orioles are on their way to New York, where they’ll begin the regular season on Thursday against the Yankees. And they’ve all but finalized their opening 25-man roster. It’s, um...it’s really something. All those who predicted John Means, Hanser Alberto, Pedro Severino, and three Rule 5 picks to make the Opening Day club, please come collect your winnings.

If you were hoping the O’s would finish their exhibition schedule strong, they most certainly did not. After winning eight of their first 15 games, the Birds went 4-12-1 in their last 17, and were winless in their last seven. In fact, the more the Orioles cut down their roster and began using their regulars, the more they started to lose. That’s probably not a great sign for the season ahead.

A bunch of the young players who contributed to those early spring wins will be starting the season in the minors, including Austin Hays (who’s now injured), Yusniel Diaz, Anthony Santander, and Chance Sisco. There’s a very real possibility that the Triple-A Norfolk Tides will be a much more watchable club, and certainly more competitive, than the early-season Orioles.

Still, that’s not important now. The regular season is here, ready or not. And maybe I’m a sucker, but I’m excited to see what the first season of the Mike Elias/Brandon Hyde era has in store for the Orioles. They’ll be bad, sure, but there figures to be a lot of change throughout the season as the O’s call up prospects and continue to try to add talent to the organization. The rebuild has just begun. Where is it going to take us?

There’s only one way to find out. In two days, it all begins.

Links

Orioles enter 2019 with an eye on the future - Orioles.com
Joe Trezza provides a preview of the 2019 Orioles. In summary: they’re gonna be terrible, but that’s kind of by design.

Elias says Sisco needs more time in minors while Cobb won’t make opener - BaltimoreBaseball.com
For the second time in his career, Alex Cobb was announced as the Opening Day starter and then had to miss the game with an injury. I feel bad for the guy. Also, how about the retro hat Mike Elias is sporting in this photo?

As Alex Cobb, Mark Trumbo head to injured list, Orioles GM Mike Elias clears up Opening Day picture - Baltimore Sun
Cobb’s injury will force the Orioles to scramble with their starting rotation, including the possible use of openers. Sure, why not? If they’re not going to win, they might as well at least be creative.

Orioles’ roster decisions are about the future and the fit, not about true competition – The Athletic
Dan Connolly notes that, ultimately, spring training performance didn’t make a lick of difference in terms of who made the Opening Day roster. Yeah, pretty much. It stinks for the players who clearly outperformed others, but Elias and crew aren’t going to let small sample sizes affect their team-building decisions.

Smith has another big day for Orioles (final roster moves) - School of Roch
Quietly, Dwight Smith Jr. had a sensational spring, tying for the Orioles team lead in homers with five, capped by two more yesterday. Is there any reason he shouldn’t get everyday at-bats for a while instead of, say, Joey Rickard?

And don’t forget to enter Camden Chat’s 2019 pre-season contest! You have less than 48 hours to get your entry in. Are you like me, waiting until the last minute to cast your ballot so you have as much information as humanly possible to make an informed decision? Only to pick the wrong answer anyway?

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have four O’s birthday buddies, none of whom played more than 22 games with the club: 1998 outfielder Jesus Tavarez (who turns 48), 1995 outfielder Jarvis Brown (52), 1989-90 righty Mickey Weston (58), and 1983 lefty Dan Morogiello (64).

On this day in 1960, the Orioles canceled a scheduled exhibition game against the Reds in Cuba for fears of political unrest. No MLB team played in Cuba again until 1999, when it was — ironically — the Orioles who did so.