Good morning, Camden Chatters.
This evening, we’ll find out which former major league superstars will be elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, with the results to be announced at 6 PM on MLB Network. Orioles fans, prepare to roll your eyes as hard as you possibly can when Derek Jeter is (most likely) voted in unanimously, like his longtime teammate Mariano Rivera was one year ago. Don’t get me wrong; Jeter is obviously deserving of Hall of Fame enshrinement, but it doesn’t quite sit right with me that the first two unanimous inductees will have been Yankees, when so many legends before them — many of whom were superior players to Jeter and Rivera — weren’t granted that distinction.
The big question is, will anyone else on the ballot join Jeter at the podium at Cooperstown this summer? It’s going to come down to the wire. According to Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame tracker, both Larry Walker and Curt Schilling currently have just enough votes to earn election, but their numbers could drop below the required 75% threshold once the remaining, non-public ballots are tallied.
The only significant Oriole on the ballot, Brian Roberts, has not garnered a single vote as yet. He’ll be eliminated from Hall consideration, but it doesn’t detract from his excellent O’s career.
And speaking of possible future Hall of Famers...Adley Rutschman! (Am I jumping the gun? No? OK, good.) The Orioles’ top prospect and No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft is receiving an invite to spring training. It’s happening!!
Rutschman, of course, has no chance of making the team out of camp, and in fact probably won’t see the majors at all in 2020. But he’ll be able to get acclimated with major league players and coaches for whatever brief time he remains in camp. And Orioles fans who make the trip to Sarasota might get to see him don an O’s uniform in Grapefruit League play. The future is just around the corner, folks.
BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Great Orioles Quiz - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Think you’re an expert on all things Orioles? Then take Rich Dubroff’s quiz. They range from “Who wouldn’t know this?” to “Who could possibly know this?” Of the 30 questions, I’m only sure of the answers to about 12 of them.
A look at how the Orioles bullpen might improve in 2020 - Steve Melewski
The main reason the bullpen might improve is that it couldn’t possibly be worse than last year. Or could it? Don't answer that.
Inbox: How will O’s top prospects fare in 2020? - Orioles.com
Among Joe Trezza’s replies to reader questions, he speculates that when Ryan Mountcastle gets called up, he’ll be “eased into a rotation with Chris Davis” among others. Wait, what? I don’t know if that’s true, but the idea that the Orioles’ best offensive prospect won’t get everyday playing time because of Chris Davis is...discouraging, to say the least.
Orioles remain interested in starting pitchers and infielders - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko states that the Orioles “are willing to hand out one more major league contract this winter.” How generous of them!
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your share your day with the late Johnny Oates, who would’ve turned 74 today. Oates began his playing career with the O’s in 1970 and 1972 but was better remembered as the Birds’ manager from 1991-94. He had a winning record in all three full seasons at the helm before owner Peter Angelos sent him packing and replaced him with Phil Regan. That was...a mistake.
Other ex-Orioles with birthdays today are 1972-75 right-hander Bob Reynolds (73), 1996 righty Keith Shepherd (52), and the late Sam Mele of the inaugural 1954 club. Mele died in 2017 at the age of 95.