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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles are making minor moves

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The O’s probably won’t be making any big free agent signings this winter, but they’re adding minor league depth.

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Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles
Here’s Fernando Abad. You probably don’t need to know who he is.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

With Christmas just days away, it’s the quietest time of the year for MLB hot stove activity, which is saying something for an offseason that’s already been dreadfully dull. Of course, the Orioles probably aren’t going to be making particularly aggressive moves no matter what time of year it is, so it’s basically business as usual in Birdland.

The O’s did announce a quartet of minor league signings yesterday, a couple of which we’d already heard about. The most experienced of the bunch is veteran lefty Fernando Abad, who’s pitched in 384 major league games for six different teams (and was prominently involved in the Manny Machado/Oakland Athletics brouhaha in 2014 after throwing at Manny’s surgically repaired knee).

The Birds also inked former Rays catcher Nick Ciuffo, who has 19 games of MLB experience (and one career homer, which he hit against the Orioles in 2018). The two other signings have yet to appear in the majors: righty Conner Greene — who apparently is friends with Charlie Sheen — and righty Claudio Custodio, best known for having a delightful name.

The odds of any of these guys making a significant impact for the 2021 Birds is approximately zero. Chances are we’ll never even see any of them in an Orioles uniform beyond spring training. Such is life for a minor league journeyman. Still, if you’re holding your breath for any more impactful signings than the likes of these, you’re going to be waiting a while.

Links

Moments to remember in a strange Orioles year - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff compiles a few memorable moments from 2020, some sad, some wacky. The Nationals’ grounds crew’s epic tarp fail will never stop being hilarious.

Hyde: Mullins “was a shining moment for us in our organization” - School of Roch
Speaking of memorable, Cedric Mullins was one of the biggest success stories of 2020, shaking off a horrible 2019 season to re-emerge as a contributor. He won’t become a star, but he can be plenty useful to the Orioles moving forward.

He’s looking for a season where health and potential meet - Steve Melewski
I had hoped the truncated 2020 season would be the first one in which Hunter Harvey finally stayed healthy for a full campaign. That, of course, turned out not to be the case. There’s always 2021, I suppose.

How the oriole became a baseball bird - Orioles.com
Who knew Joe Trezza dabbled in ornithology? Here he takes us on an educational journey through the history of the Maryland state bird.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have a whopping eight O’s birthday buddies, including current Oriole Richie Martin, who turns 26. Martin missed the entire 2020 season with a broken wrist, but currently he’s atop the shortstop depth chart after the trade of Jose Iglesias.

Two particularly notable ex-Orioles were born on this day: Zack Britton (33), the Birds’ two-time All-Star closer who’s now plying his trade for the Yankees, and the late Elrod Hendricks (b. 1940, d. 2005), who spent nearly 40 years in an Orioles uniform as a player and coach.

Other Orioles with Dec. 22 birthdays are infielders Rey Navarro (31) and Blake Davis (37), right-hander Chris Jakubauskas (42), outfielder Lonnie Smith (65), and the late left-hander Tom Underwood (b. 1953, d. 2010).

On this day in 1953, Jack Dunn III, owner of the International League’s Orioles, officially gave permission for the newly relocated major league club in Baltimore to use the name. Imagine he hadn’t? What would we have been calling this team for the last 66 years?

The Birds have made one trade on this day in history, swapping Ryan Minor — the guy who replaced Cal Ripken at third base on the day he ended his streak — for reliever Jorge Julio, who went on to notch 83 saves in parts of five erratic seasons for the O’s.