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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles took a couple of fliers

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The Birds were active as usual in the Rule 5 draft, plucking two pitchers who face long odds of cracking the club’s roster.

MLB: AUG 27 Orioles at Nationals Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

This year’s virtual (and fairly quiet) winter meetings wrapped up yesterday with the annual event that always piques the Orioles’ interest: the Rule 5 draft. The Birds, as usual, were active in the draft, selecting two pitchers for the second consecutive year. Mark Brown gave the skinny on the two newest Orioles, right-handers Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells. Having never heard of these guys before yesterday, I have little insight to add, except that “Mac Sceroler” is an extremely anagrammable name. (Scarcer Mole! Camel Scorer! Lamer Soccer!)

Considering Sceroler hasn’t pitched above the High-A level and Wells topped out at Double-A before undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2019, it would to be a tough road to hoe for either one to stick on the Orioles’ major league roster all season, as is required to keep a Rule 5 pick. They could quickly go the way of last year’s Rule 5 selections, Brandon Bailey and Michael Rucker, whom the Birds returned to their former teams early in spring training before the pandemic. (Remember when there was a time before the pandemic?) But it can’t hurt for a rebuilding team to audition a couple of young arms to see if they have what it takes to stick around.

The Orioles also lost two pitchers in the draft, something that rarely happened in past years because their farm system wasn’t good enough to raid. Notably, Zach Pop, the hard-throwing reliever from the 2018 Manny Machado trade, was plucked by the Diamondbacks and immediately traded to the Marlins. Pop is in a similar boat to Wells, having also reached Double-A and then undergone Tommy John surgery in early 2019. I’d been looking forward to seeing him pitch since FanGraphs called him a right-handed Zack Britton in 2018. Best of luck to him with the Marlins, if he sticks. And best of luck to righty Gray Fenter, newly scooped up by the Cubs, although we may be seeing him back in the Orioles’ organization soon enough. He’s never pitched above Low-A and it seems unlikely the Cubs will carry him all year.

Will any of this back-of-the-roster tinkering make any difference in the long run? Probably not. But these are the kinds of things you pay attention to when your team isn’t going to be bringing in any big-name stars.

Links

O’s Mike Snyder and Kent Qualls on today’s additions - Steve Melewski
The Orioles’ director of pro scouting and director of minor league operations weigh in on the Birds’ new Rule 5 acquisitions. Spoiler alert: they have very positive things to say.

Orioles release 2021 promotions schedule, featuring several planned 2020 giveaways - Baltimore Sun
It’s a little bit awkward to push the 2020 promotions to 2021. It’ll be more awkward to push the 2020 promotions to 2022 if we have another fanless season next year.

Chris Davis’ return to Orioles is another swing-and-miss – The Athletic
Dan Connolly says all that needs to be said about the Chris Davis situation. To sum up: Davis certainly has every right to continue playing out his contract, but he’s fooling himself if he thinks he'll ever be a productive player again.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have just one O’s birthday buddy, but it’s a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame: reliever Hal “Skinny” Brown, who posted a 3.61 in 204 games across eight years with the Orioles. Brown, born on this day in 1924, died in 2015, six days after turning 91.

On this day in 1959, the Orioles named Lee MacPhail as their team president. The team, which had never been above .500 since moving to Baltimore, went on to post five winning seasons in MacPhail’s six years as president, and he laid the groundwork for the franchise-changing Frank Robinson trade just before his departure in 1965.

On this date in 1984, the Orioles signed former Red Sox and Angels All-Star Fred Lynn to a four-year deal. Lynn was on the down swing of his career but hit exactly 23 homers in each of his three full seasons with the Birds, then was traded for Chris Hoiles in 1988.

And on this day in 1991, the Orioles reacquired righty Storm Davis, who’d been a steady presence in the early-80s rotation, for catcher Bob Melvin. Davis served mainly as a reliever in his second go-round before leaving in free agency.