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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Where Wade LeBlanc is the newest member of the Orioles

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In other news: the kids are headed to spring training, rosters are expanding and the minor league signings keep coming.

Tampa Bay Rays v Seattle Mariners Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

Mike Elias had indicated that he was still searching for a veteran pitcher, and he added one on Tuesday night. According to multiple sources, the Orioles have signed left-handed pitcher Wade LeBlanc to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.

LeBlanc is 35 years old. The journeyman has spent parts of 11 seasons in the big leagues with the Padres, Marlins, Astros, Angels, Yankees, Mariners and Pirates. Most recently, he threw 121.1 innings with the Mariners last season. He started eight times and made 18 appearances out of the bullpen. His career ERA+ sits at 89.

According to MLB.com’s Joe Trezza, LeBlanc did have other offers, but preferred to join the Orioles because they would give him a chance to start. It’s nice to hear someone picked the Orioles over other teams, but it’s also telling that it does not appear anyone else views LeBlanc as a legitimate starter.

However, it appears that the signing of LeBlanc does not count as the Orioles addressing their thin starting situation. MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports that the team is still in the market for another arm.

What an exciting offseason we are all having!

Links & Notes

O’s fans to see future at prospect-laden camp - Orioles.com
The future is now...kind of! We are probably still another year away from a full on youth movement. But we will get a taste down in Sarasota this spring. That’s kinda fun, and will definitely have me a little more interested in each day’s box scores.

New major league roster rules should expand Orioles’ options - Baltimore Baseball
In case you missed it, teams will be allowed to carry 26 players this year. That’s an additional player from previous seasons. However, they can only carry a maximum 13 pitchers, so teams won’t be able to bloat their bullpens. In the event of a double-header, rosters expand to 27, and teams would be allowed to add a pitcher for the day. In September, rosters expand to 28, and teams will be required to fill all 28 spots.

Orioles Bring In Knuckleballer Mickey Jannis - Birds Watcher
Mickey Jannis is a 32-year-old, right-handed knuckleballer who has been a professional since 2010. He pitched in Double-A and Triple-A with the Mets in 2019. It’s unclear if he will really factor into the Orioles plans, but he at least gives them additional depth in the upper minors.

Rebuilding Orioles tough sell after exhilarating Ravens season - Baltimore Sun
Look, people want to watch and support teams that win. But comparing the Ravens and Orioles seems like a silly exercise. They play at different times of year. They don’t compete for fans. Not every Orioles fan is a Ravens fan, and vice versa. Attendance at Camden Yards this season is going to be low this summer, but it’s not because the Ravens had such an exciting season and the Orioles were boring by comparison. It will simply be because the O’s stink. Baltimore has shown it has the ability to support two winning teams, like in 2012. The people don’t have to choose one or the other.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Jair Jurrjens turns 34 today. The right-hander spent just two games with the Orioles in his career. Both came in 2013, and he allowed four runs in 7.1 innings of work.

Happy 56th birthday to John Habyan. The 11-year MLB vet began his run in the pros as an Oriole for parts of four seasons from 1985 through 1988. During that time, he posted a 4.61 ERA over 160 total innings.

1994 - The Orioles sign free agent reliever Lee Smith to a one-year contract.

1998 - Ozzie Guillen signs a minor league contract with an invite to Orioles spring training. He would go on to make the Opening Day roster, but would be cut on May 1.

1999 - Jimmy Key, a left-handed pitcher that had spent the two previous seasons with the O’s, retires from baseball citing shoulder injuries as the reason. He was 37 years old and had spent parts of 15 seasons in the big leagues, including two in Baltimore.

2002 - The Orioles acquire outfielder Chris Singleton from the White Sox in exchange for minor league infielder Willie Harris.