Over the last several years before now, Orioles fans became accustomed to ways of the team doing things that were particular to Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter and whatever strange, dysfunctional dynamic apparently existed between them. These ways were frequently inexplicable even when they were successful, with many unsuccessful front office moves that appeared to be idiotic even without the benefit of hindsight.
One of the tough to stomach quirks of those days was the Orioles refusal to spend money on international amateur prospects. By all accounts, this decision was driven by Peter Angelos, and so the Orioles paid a price for their unwillingness to pay the price.
On Wednesday, general manager Mike Elias offered only the latest sign that there is a new way of doing things for the Orioles when he gave a pre-game interview and touched on the topic of the coming July 2 class of international free agents, boldly promising that this “will be the largest international signing period, July 2, that the Orioles have ever had.”
When the previous largest was something close to zero, that means the claim can be technically true and still not particularly impressive. Indeed, Elias also cautioned that the Orioles will probably not hand out one of the top 10 signing bonuses to one of the top 10 players, because for those players, there has been multiple years of advance work going on by teams that were active there.
Many top-tier commitments were already made before Elias was hired. Still, it’s exciting to hear about the new international scouting infrastructure that is being built under this regime. Now we can feel at least a little better knowing that the Orioles will not be completely left behind in this avenue for acquiring talent.
It will take a long time for that talent to bear fruit. If the O’s sign a bunch of 16-year-olds in six weeks, even the players among them who are successful and perform well enough to debut at, say, age 22, will not be appearing for the team until 2025. That is a long way away. But as the cliche goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Until this year the Orioles would not even start the journey.
Fans need to feel better about this behind-the-scenes stuff because the MLB team sure isn’t great. After last night’s loss to the Yankees, the Orioles hold the worst record in MLB once again. Check out Alex Church’s recap of another homer-filled setback to find out what you missed.
The home runs allowed, especially against the Yankees, have become so absurd that the O’s broadcasters don’t even know what to say about it. Last night, MASN’s Gary Thorne practically sputtered for several seconds before sounding his standard “Good bye, home run!” call because he couldn’t even believe that this keeps happening.
Thorne isn’t the only one. Manager Brandon Hyde after last night’s game:
Brandon Hyde did not mince words tonight, calling all the home runs "inexcusable at this level."— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) May 23, 2019
"I don’t know what to say really," Hyde said. "There is definitely a pitching plan. It definitely isn’t ‘throw the ball in the middle part of the plate.’ And we continue to do it."
The Orioles have now given up 105 home runs in 49 games. It is simply incredible. That is a pace over a full season of 347 home runs allowed, well ahead of the current record of 258 homers given up by the 2016 Reds.
Mike Mussina was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame 124 days ago. The Orioles have not yet announced any plans to retire his jersey or erect his statue in Camden Yards.
Around the blogO’sphere
Elias on “largest international signing period” club has ever had (Steve Melewski)
Also included here are some thoughts on the #1 pick in the draft, namely that Elias and the scouts haven’t gathered all possible information yet, nor assembled to talk about it, so there’s no decision yet.
Elias says Broxton will add speed and defense to Orioles (Baltimore Baseball)
The Orioles did a little roster shuffling yesterday to add recently-DFA’d outfielder Keon Broxton, who could be activated today or tomorrow.
Hyde on Broxton: “His tools are off the charts” (School of Roch)
Hyde might be just a little bit excited to get closer to having three real outfielders at his disposal.
Elias: Sisco, Stewart ‘very much on our radar’ (Orioles.com)
If you’re out there looking for some of the younger players still in the minors to get a chance soon, this will be music to your ears.
Mike Elias evaluates Brandon Hyde, record as team nears 50-game mark (Baltimore Sun)
There are a lot of angles to approach the same Mike Elias remarks from, because he had a lot to say and because, unlike his predecessor, he comes across as having a strong command of everything that’s going on, so of course he can speak extemporaneously about it.
Birthdays and anniversaries
Today in 1999, Brady Anderson was hit by a pitch twice in the first inning of an eventual 15-6 Orioles victory over the Rangers. He became just the third player to ever be hit twice in the same inning.
One lone former Oriole has a birthday today: 2010-11 bullpen member Mike Gonzalez. Today is also the birthday of former Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who turns 63 years old.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: father of modern taxonomy Carl Linnaeus (1707), baseball Hall of Famer Zack Wheat (1888), singer-songwriter Jewel (1974), and movie man Ryan Coogler (1986).
On this day in history...
In 1430, Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians during an effort to lead an army to break the siege of Compiegne.
In 1568, a force of Dutch rebels defeated the Spanish in the Battle of Heiligerlee, marking the beginning of the Eighty Years’ War.
In 1618, three men were thrown out of windows in the city of Prague. This defenestration ultimately led to the Thirty Years’ War.
In 1934, the bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed by police and killed in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on May 23 - or at least, until something happens later when the Orioles play the Yankees. It’s a 12:35 game, so you won’t have to wait long. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!