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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles roster tinkering continues

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The O’s reclaimed a player they’d previously claimed and lost on waivers, and DFA’d a homegrown, hometown Oriole. Such is life for those on the fringes of the 40-man.

Houston Astros v Baltimore Orioles
Branden Kline had a rocky first year with the Orioles, and now he may not be around for a second one.
Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It’s the last day of January. Spring training is just around the corner. By now, most teams have the bulk of their 2020 rosters in place and are just making small tweaks around the edges of the roster. And the O’s are no exception.

The Birds made a change to their 40-man yesterday, reclaiming infielder Pat Valaika, whom they originally claimed on waivers from the Rockies on Oct. 30, then lost on waivers to the Diamondbacks on Jan. 16. When Arizona put him back on waivers after acquiring Starling Marte on Wednesday, the O’s pounced, and now Valaika is back on the Birds’ roster.

The O’s must see something they like in this guy, despite his career .214 and .656 OPS in parts of four major league seasons. Who knows? The Orioles did exactly the same thing last winter with Hanser Alberto — claiming him on waivers, losing him on waivers, and then claiming him back — and that worked out pretty well.

Valaika’s addition, though, meant another Oriole had to lose his spot on the 40-man, and that unlucky fellow was Branden Kline, who was designated for assignment. The right-hander was a great story last year as a Frederick native who overcame serious injuries in the minors to finally make his major league debut at age 27. His 5.93 ERA in 34 games, however, didn’t instill much confidence that he’ll be a bullpen mainstay for years to come. With Kline now exposed to the waiver wire, the O’s will find out in a matter of days whether he’ll remain in the organization.

It’s likely not the last we’ll see of the Orioles tinkering with their 40-man roster before spring. But if you’re expecting any earth-shattering moves, you’ll probably be disappointed.

Links

O’s fans to see future at prospect-laden camp - Orioles.com
This article reminds me that poor Bruce Zimmermann (two N’s) constantly has his name misspelled. Heck, it was even misspelled in the Orioles’ official press release announcing his acquisition in 2018. The best way for him to fix that is to come up to the majors and, well, make a name for himself.

Orioles’ win total will be secondary to the rebuild again in 2020 - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Betting lines have started to come out for the 2020 Orioles, but as Rich Dubroff explains, their win-loss total doesn’t really matter. Tell that to all the degenerate gamblers out there!

Orioles Equipment Heading To Sarasota For Spring Training – CBS Baltimore
This headline makes me laugh. I’m picturing a bunch of anthropomorphic gloves and baseball bats drawling, “Well, fellas, it’s about time for us to hit the road,” and all piling into a taxi with their suitcases.

Orioles’ continued focus on pitching depth may not bring wins, but at least gives them options - Baltimore Sun
So...it gives them options for losing?

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Only one ex-Oriole shares your birthday, and if you remember his O’s career, you are a true diehard. Right-hander Joel Bennett, who pitched in two games for the 1998 Birds, turns 50.

January 31 is a pretty boring date in Orioles history, since there’s usually not much going on in free agency or the trade market this soon before spring training. The best I can offer you is that...the O’s signed Mark Hendrickson on this day in 2011. And Dave Philley in 1961. See, I told you.