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Monday Bird Droppings: 80 days to go until Opening Day

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Opening Day is 80 days away. Do you know who your starting shortstop is?

Baltimore Orioles Archive Photo by Baltimore Orioles/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 80 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. The year 1980 was the last time that the Orioles had a pitcher win the Cy Young Award. Steve Stone was the winner that year, thanks largely to a 25-7 record. If I was Oakland’s Mike Norris, who threw more innings, had an ERA lower by 0.70, and had a significantly better WHIP, but “only” a 22-9 record, I might still be a little annoyed 40 years later.

I think we all know this streak will not be ending in the 2020 season. Maybe some day.

Baseball’s offseason calendar does have something on it this week. Friday is the day where teams and arbitration-eligible players have to exchange salary numbers if they have yet to agree on 2020 contracts. In past years, this was significant for the team because arbitration raises meant that the Orioles were spending more and more money just to keep their core group intact and they had less money to use to add impact talent in free agency.

The same concern isn’t exactly present for the 2020 team. They didn’t have many arbitration-eligible players to begin with, and they dealt the most expensive of them, Jonathan Villar, back in November. Dylan Bundy, another arbitration-eligible player, was also traded. The payroll has already plummeted. And it’s quite possible that anyone who’s already arbitration-eligible will be a free agent before the next good Orioles team arrives.

There are four players left to settle: Hanser Alberto, Miguel Castro, Mychal Givens, and Trey Mancini. The team already reached an agreement with Richard Bleier. The MLB Trade Rumors projected salaries range from $5.7 million for Mancini down to $1.2 million for Castro. If Givens and Mancini aren’t traded during the 2020 season, we’ll probably start to hear the “He’s too expensive for a bad team” chorus about them in November much like was done to Villar after the 2019 season.

Around the blogO’sphere

From this offseason to the next, important Orioles dates to know in 2020 (Baltimore Sun)
Next after the arbitration exchange deadline is single-game spring training tickets going on sale on Saturday. Hey, it’s a thorough list.

Your All-Time Orioles team: The position players (Baltimore Baseball)
It’s not like there’s any news to talk about, so we could always argue over snubs on a best-of list.

Orioles prepping for latest minicamp and retreat (School of Roch)
A coaches retreat is a new Mike Elias-era spin on the familiar Orioles winter minicamp. No reporters allowed any more. There won’t be any stories about how Tanner Scott’s definitely got it figured out this time until at least spring training.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 2009, the Orioles signed Koji Uehara to a two-year contract. It looked like a bit of a bust signing until he was switched into the bullpen, and his eventual trade for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter did prove significant to the franchise.

In 2017, the Orioles traded Yovani Gallardo to the Mariners for Seth Smith. Would have been better if they had never signed Gallardo at all, but the fact that they traded him and received a cromulent player in return still amazes me.

There are a handful of former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: 2013-18 pitcher Kevin Gausman, 2008-09 pitcher Brian Bass, 1998 reliever Norm Charlton, and the late 1957-59/64 outfielder Lenny Green. Green passed away one year ago today on his 86th birthday.

When I saw Gausman’s name, I thought about my #1 memory of him as an Oriole, and the first thing that came to mind is the time that he was in the minor leagues and they diagnosed him with an intercostal strain. It later turned out he had pneumonia. A couple of weeks later they called him up to start a day game against the Tigers on short rest and he gave up five runs in four innings, then they demoted him again.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your non-Orioles birthday buddies for today include: saint Joan of Arc (1412), abolitionist senator Charles Sumner (1811), poet Kahlil Gibran (1883), baseball Hall of Famer Early Wynn (1920), novelist E.L. Doctorow (1931), Pink Floyd’s Syd Barrett (1946), Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii (1954), TV host Julie Chen (1970), actor Eddie Redmayne (1982), and YouTube personality Arin Hanson (1987).

On this day in history...

In 1066, following the death of King Edward the Confessor, Harold Godwinson was crowned as King of England. A variety of people saw opportunity in the ensuing chaos, including William, then the Duke of Normandy.

In 1847, Samuel Colt received his first contract to sell his now-legendary revolvers to the United States government.

In 1912, German physicist Alfred Wegener first proposed his theory of continental drift, that Earth’s landmass had once been one large continent that broke apart over time. It was not a popular theory for a long time, because it lacked an answer for what caused the drift. This answer came when the modern understanding of plate tectonics developed.

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his “Four Freedoms” speech, a State of the Union address in which he argued the importance of freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 6 - or at least, unless something happens later. Have a safe Monday.