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Thursday Bird Droppings: A former Oriole takes a qualifying offer

The Giants made the $18.9 million qualifying offer to Kevin Gausman for 2021. He said yes, so he’ll keep being a Giant.

Colorado Rockies v San Francisco Giants Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 141 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day 2021, or at least the one that’s currently on the schedule. Pitchers and catchers are set to report to Sarasota to begin spring training in three months and four days - again, as currently scheduled.

Not surprisingly, the early days of the free agency period have been quiet for the Orioles. The biggest bit of vaguely Orioles-related news there is on this Thursday is that yesterday, former Oriole Kevin Gausman accepted the $18.9 million qualifying offer from the Giants for the 2021 season. After the July 2018 trade, Gausman stunk for the Braves in 2019, was waived and claimed by the Reds, then non-tendered by the Reds.

The Giants gave Gausman a $9 million contract for 2020 and saw him pitch to a 3.62 ERA and 3.09 FIP, with 79 strikeouts in 59.2 innings. This is not quite Jake Arrieta territory since Gausman churned through two other teams before finding success in San Francisco, and his success hasn’t added up to a Cy Young yet, but it’s in an adjacent neighborhood.

Liberated from the burden of Dan Duquette-era pitching development, he found some success, like I was always sure he would. Or at least he found enough success to get a qualifying offer for 2021. We saw our share of good stretches from Gausman that never seemed to last from year to year. The Orioles aren’t scheduled to 2021 teams, so we won’t see him unless the Orioles and Giants stage an all-orange-and-black World Series.

In other Orioles-connected news that’s not terribly relevant to the fortunes of the 2021 Orioles, 2014 third round pick Brian Gonzalez has signed a minor league contract with a big league spring training invite with the Rockies. Gonzalez was the top Orioles pick that year after the O’s traded away a 2014 pick to get Bud Norris in 2013, then forfeited a pair of picks to sign Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz before the 2014 season.

Gonzalez was one of the players the Orioles brought in to the 60-man player pool to get some work in at Bowie during the 2020 season. He became a six year minor league free agent at the start of this offseason. The 25-year-old lefty was converted to the bullpen in 2019 and posted a 4.32 ERA over 41.2 innings for the Baysox. Not great, though his 1.056 WHIP looks better.

So that’s the big Orioles news going into today. It’s not very big news.

Around the blogO’sphere

Mancini says he feels ‘totally like myself’ (Baltimore Baseball)
Trey Mancini spoke via Zoom to Orioles reporters yesterday and said he’s doing good. That is some great news. I’m looking forward to seeing him back in action in 2021.

Here’s the state of the Orioles farm system (MLB Pipeline)
MLB prospect writer Jonathan Mayo has his post-2020 breakdown on the Orioles farm system, which he rated 13th of 30 teams heading into the season and 8th in a midseason update.

Graffanino felt connection to Orioles via Hardy before trade (School of Roch)
One of the two players the Orioles received from the Braves for Tommy Milone is AJ Graffanino, son of former big leaguer Tony. Turns out the younger Graffanino was always a J.J. Hardy fan.

Taking a look at O’s skipper Brandon Hyde (Steve Melewski)
Steve Melewski took the occasion of Brandon Hyde receiving no votes for Manager of the Year on Tuesday night to write about the Orioles manager.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1973, Jim Palmer won the first of his three career Cy Young awards. Palmer led the American League with a 2.40 ERA, throwing 19 complete games and six shutouts. He was also the runner-up for the AL MVP that year, trailing only future teammate Reggie Jackson.

There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2005 former slugger Sammy Sosa, and 1955 swingman Don Johnson.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Revolutionary War ally Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729), early American women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815), actor Grace Kelly (1929), musician Neil Young (1945), figure skater Tonya Harding (1970), and basketballer Russell Westbrook (1988).

On this day in history...

In 1927, Joseph Stalin became the undisputed leader of the Soviet Union when rival Leon Trotsky was expelled from the Communist Party.

In 1942, the Japanese Navy launched an attack in support of an attempted landing to reinforce Guadalcanal. After a three-day battle with US warships, they turned back and effectively gave up on recapturing the island.

In 1958, several rock climbers led by Warren Harding (not the president) became the first people to ascend The Nose, a feature on El Capitan in the Yosemite Valley.

In 1970, the story of American forces involvement in the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam became public, with journalist Seymour Hersh getting the scoop.

In 1980, Voyager I made its closest approach to Saturn. This resulted in the first up close photographs being taken of the rings of Saturn.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on November 12. Have a safe Thursday.