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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles could use more pitching

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Tanner Scott receives a lofty projection, Grayson Rodriguez makes a list and the O’s gear up for the spring.

Baltimore Orioles v Detroit Tigers Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

Every MLB team, regardless of whether they are World Series contenders or in the midst of a massive rebuild, could use more pitching. Even the deepest rotations have a weak link or two. Just about every bullpen has a few arms that the manager would prefer to avoid. And no pitching prospect is ever a guarantee to make it big leagues, no matter how talented they may be.

The Orioles are going to field one of the worst major league pitching staffs in the league in 2020. They have so many question marks throughout the unit that it’s impossible to come to any other conclusion. Can John Means avoid a sophomore slump? Will Alex Cobb be healthy to start the year? Who even will make the rotation after Means, Cobb and Asher Wojciechowski? What happens to the bullpen if/when Mychal Givens is traded? Is Richard Bleier any good?

Of course, that does not mean that it’s all negative. We get to see a full season (hopefully) of Hunter Harvey. Prospects like Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer will be in Baltimore at some point. The bullpen, in general, should be fun to watch with arms like Harvey, Dillon Tate and Tanner Scott.

Help is on the way for the pitching staff. It’s just going to be a while before it arrives. Like, maybe a few years.

Links & Notes

An interesting Orioles reliever is projected to have the best year of anyone in their bullpen: Tanner Scott - Baltimore Sun
Scott is extremely talented. He possesses a triple-digit fastball, and it’s not even his best pitch. The guy’s slider is a knee-buckler. But he clearly has issues with command, and his fastball seems to play down despite its velocity. Seeing him make a leap forward in 2020 would be a pleasant surprise.

Here are MLB’s Top 10 RHP prospects for 2020 - MLB.com
O’s hurler Grayson Rodriguez squeaks onto this list following an impressive full-season debut last year. He won’t be rushed through the minors, but he will continue to be a fun name to watch develop during the rebuild.

Starting Pitching Help Is Still Available - Birds Watcher
The Orioles probably aren’t going to make any more “major” moves this off-season. But they probably will add another name or two with a spring invite in order to up the ante in the pitching competition to make the Opening Day roster.

What’s next for Orioles as spring training approaches? - School of Roch
There is going to be a lot of checking of the waiver wire by Mike Elias once spring training gets into full swing. There may a surprise or two that makes the 26-man roster out of camp, but it’s safe to say that we know the names of most of the players that will begin the season with the O’s.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Delino DeShields turns 51 today. He spent 13 years in the big leagues, including three with the Orioles from 1999 through 2001. During his time in Birdland, DeShields hit .269/.350/.396 with a 95 OPS+.

One of the best players in Orioles history, Bobby Grich, celebrates his 71st birthday today. The former infielder appeared in parts of seven seasons with the O’s from 1970 through 1976. He earned four Gold Gloves, three All-Star nods and a bit of MVP buzz while with the Birds.

1999 - The Orioles sign relief pitcher Heathcliff Slocumb to a one-year, $1.1 million deal. He would be released on April 30 following a rough start to the season in which he had a 12.46 ERA in 10 appearances.