Good morning, Birdland!
These next couple of weeks tend to be some of the quietest of the offseason. Teams are shuffling their 40-man rosters. Free agents are gauging interest behind the scenes. It’s all important, but fairly boring from a fan’s perspective.
One team, however, decided to make a major move this week. And they were so proud of the move that they waited until the entire country was enveloped in news coverage of maps, counties and vote counts before they announced it.
The Red Sox announced on Friday that they were re-hiring Alex Cora as their manager. Cora was the club’s manager in 2018 when they won the World Series. He had joined the Red Sox organization after serving as the bench coach of the Houston Astros and winning a World Series there in 2017. But by now the thing he is best known for is being a cheater.
An investigation by Major League Baseball revealed that Cora was the ringleader of a sign stealing operation while with the Astros, including their championship season. For that, he was suspended for the entire 2020 season, although the Red Sox fired Cora prior to the announcement of the punishment.
A later announcement revealed that MLB had suspended the 2018 Red Sox replay operator due to electronic sign stealing as well. They were unable to tie Cora to that infraction, and thus he evaded further consequences, however the Red Sox were forced to forfeit their second-round draft pick in the 2020 draft as a result. It seems unlikely that Cora was unaware of a process that was similar to the work he had been doing in Houston.
Alex Cora is probably a very good coach regardless of access to technology to easily steal opponent’s signs. And people deserve second chances. But that doesn’t mean baseball fans or people in the game have to be happy about it, and the way in which the Red Sox announced the move suggests that they understand that too.
Mancini: “I literally feel like myself again” | School of Roch
I want all of the Trey Mancini news I can get right now. It sure sounds like he is on track to be back on the field with the Orioles in a few months if/when they return to Sarasota for spring training.
Adding ‘fairly polished’ group of Rule 5-eligible prospects to 40-man roster next on Orioles’ to-do list | The Baltimore Sun
Mike Elias has a little less than two weeks to make decisions on the Rule 5-eligible players, and it’s going to be a doozy of a decision. Some talented players, like Alex Wells and Mason McCoy, could be left exposed to the draft.
What might O’s Opening Day roster look like? | Orioles.com
It may seem a bit early to think about the shape of the Orioles roster for 2021, but the reality is that it likely ends up looking very similar to the way it did in 2020. The O’s aren’t in a position to make any high-profile trades, nor are they about to add big name free agents.
A few notes on new additions, Mo Gaba and Trey Mancini | Steve Melewski
It has been neat to see the entire city of Baltimore, including both of its major sports teams, rally around the memory of Mo Gaba. He will be getting a street near the two stadiums named in his honor next month.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
Dariel Alvarez turns 32 today. The Cuban outfielder appeared in 14 games with the Orioles between 2015 and 2016.
Right-handed pitcher Kris Benson turns 46 years old. He spent the 2006 season with the Orioles, accumulating a 4.82 ERA over 30 starts and 183 innings.
Finally, the late Bob Hale (b. 1933, d. 2012) was born on this day. The first baseman was an Oriole from 1955 through 1959, during which time he had a .280/.398/.337 batting line.
This day in history
1989 - Orioles pitcher Gregg Olson becomes the first relief pitcher to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award. The righty had a 1.69 ERA and 27 saves across 64 total appearances.