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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where it’s international signing day

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After years of ignoring international amateurs, the Orioles intend to get involved with a vengeance starting today.

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MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles
Something tells me Mike Elias will be doing a lot of smiling today.
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Today is July 2. And for the first time in way too long a time, that date is actually significant in Birdland.

July 2 marks the beginning of the annual international amateur signing period, when youngsters from all around the world become eligible to be signed by MLB clubs.

In the recent past, that elicited a yawn from the Orioles front office. By ownership mandate, the club essentially ignored the international amateur market for years and years. They stayed out of the bidding for the top-tier prospects and lagged far behind every other team in baseball, usually making just a handful of cheap signings. The Orioles’ aversion to international talent was a big reason why the club’s minor league system so often failed to produce major league-ready talent.

But finally, things are changing for the better.

Under Mike Elias and new senior director for international scouting Koby Perez, ownership has given the green light for the O’s to be much more aggressive in the international market going forward. And Elias recently indicated that the Birds will be announcing a slew of signings on the first day — and some of them actually legitimate prospects, too, not just the lower-rung players that no other team wanted.

For the Orioles, it’s a brand new world, full of opportunities to bolster the talent level in the organization. This could be an exciting day for Orioles fans. When’s the last time you could say that on July 2?

Links

International signing period begins on Tuesday - MLB.com
Jesse Sanchez breaks down everything you need to know about international signing day, including the top 30 amateur prospects. The Orioles (along with seven other teams) have the most money to spend in this year’s international market, so that’s pretty sweet.

Finally going global: New O’s international director Koby Perez talks in-depth about the July 2 signing period – The Athletic
Dan Connolly interviews Koby Perez about all the activity to expect from the Orioles today. Isn’t it so nice that we can use “Orioles” and “activity” in the same sentence on international signing day?

The Orioles’ ugly 2019 season could pay future dividends - just ask the 2012 Astros and Cubs - BaltimoreBaseball.com
It’s been kind of a brutal season for the Orioles so far, if you haven't noticed. But Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde have been through this before with other teams and emerged victorious on the other end. Allow me to explain how.

Mancini moves past snub while Orioles lose 6-3 - School of Roch
Trey Mancini seems legitimately crushed to have been snubbed for the All-Star Game, which makes me sad. Hopefully he has a couple of All-Star appearances in his future.

The Unexpected Rise Of Orioles Catcher Pedro Severino - PressBoxOnline.com
Severino has been one of the most pleasant surprises on this year’s club. Matt Kremnitzer crunches the numbers to explain how it’s happened.

Rays 6, Orioles 3: Poor bullpen spoils Tom Eshelman’s solid debut - Camden Chat
Oh by the way, the Orioles are still playing baseball, and the bullpen is still blowing games. Tyler Young recapped last night’s action for Camden Chat.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! It’s the 89th birthday of 1963 Orioles lefty Pete Burnside, so a special happy birthday to him. It’s also the big day for one player currently in the O’s system, Pedro Araujo, who turns 26. The Orioles DFA’d Araujo in April, 10 days shy of when he would’ve fulfilled his Rule 5 requirements, but then reacquired him from the Cubs. He’s spent most of the season at Double-A Bowie, along with one appearance in the majors and two at Triple-A Norfolk.

On this day in 2013, the Orioles made one of the most ill-fated trades in recent history, sending struggling right-handers Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop to the Cubs for starter Scott Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger. I’ll confess: I liked the trade at the time. The O’s needed veteran pitching help, and Arrieta looked like he would never figure out how to harness his potential.

The rest, of course, is history, as the Cubs immediately revitalized Arrieta’s career and turned him into the 2015 Cy Young winner. (And don’t forget Strop, who six years later is still a key part of the Cubs’ bullpen.) It was not the finest endorsement for the Orioles’ player development system.