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Saturday Bird Droppings: It’s Hanser Alberto’s birthday

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Elsewhere in Birdland: The Orioles are slashing budget, the prospects look good and Maryland stadiums are opening up.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

There is a special breed of athletes that fall into the “fan favorites” category. These are the guys that are good enough to warrant a spot in the starting lineup most days, but not quite good enough to compete for big-time awards. Add a dash of personality and entertainment as a finishing touch. Hanser Alberto is one of those players.

The O’s second baseman turns 28 years old today. What a career he has had up to this point. Alberto broke into the majors with the Rangers in 2015, but struggled to find a regular spot. During the off-season following 2018 he was claimed on waivers four different times, twice by the Orioles. Since then, he has been a fixture in the Orioles starting nine and currently finds himself as their everyday second baseman.

It’s unclear what Alberto’s future holds. His offensive profile is old school: good average, lackluster power. Plus, he will be in his second year of arbitration and due for a raise. There is no doubt that he deserves a spot on a big league roster. The Orioles just might have different goals for the position.

Links

Draft selections impressing in fall instructional camp - School of Roch
It’s exciting to hear nice things about the Orioles youngsters. After all, this entire rebuild crumbles without the promising draft picks turning into something more at the next level. There is a long way to go between fall instructional camp and the big leagues, but all positivity is good at this point.

Orioles’ early offseason a troubling sign for club’s roster decisions as finances loom large - Baltimore Sun
The Orioles weren’t expected to be too active this winter anyway, but the recent news of layoffs and firings might mean the team actually cuts loose some of the more experienced players that would earn anywhere near their value.

Maryland to allow fans at Ravens, Washington stadiums at 10% capacity - Baltimore Sun
This doesn’t impact the Orioles just yet since their season is over, but the plan certainly seems to be to get people back into sports stadiums sooner rather than later. At Camden Yards, that would be 4,000-5,000 available tickets. However, the permitteded attendance may increase by the time March gets here.

Will the Orioles go position player with another high draft pick? - Steve Melewski
Honestly, it doesn’t matter much to me where on the field the Orioles go with what looks to be the fifth overall pick in the 2021 draft. Mike Elias has been heavy on hitters through his first two drafts with the O’s, so they could be due to load up on hurlers. But that could be left up to the minutiae of draft day.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday this weekend? Happy birthday!

Hanser Alberto celebrates his 28th birthday. The O’s current second baseman has been a solid contributor over the last two seasons, hitting .299/.322/.413 with 15 home runs and a 96 OPS+.

Happy 60th birthday to Ken Dixon, an O’s pitcher for four seasons from 1984-87. During that time he had a 4.66 ERA over 482.1 total innings.

The late Kelly Paris (d. 2019) was born on this day in 1957. He spent 10 games with the Orioles across 1985 and ‘86, recording just two hits in 19 plate appearances and serving as a utility-type off the bench.

Finally, it is the 73rd birthday of Jim Hutto, an Orioles catcher for four games in 1975.

This day in history

1971 - The Orioles lose decisive Game 7 of the World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates by a score of 2-1. Roberto Clemente home runs on route to winning MVP of the Fall Classic.

1979 - It’s deja vu all over again as the Pirates win another Game 7 in the World Series against the Orioles. This time it is Willie Stargell that homers, lifting Pittsburgh to a 4-1 victory.