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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Our favorite NL team is making big moves

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All is quiet in Birdland, but on the other side of the country, the Padres are having an explosive offseason.

MLB: NLDS-Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

While a whole lot of nothing continues to happen with the Orioles this offseason, have you seen what the San Diego Padres have been up to lately?

Late Sunday night, the Padres swung a blockbuster trade for Rays ace and former Cy Young winner Blake Snell, giving them a bona fide, top-of-the-rotation left-hander who’s just 28 years old and signed through 2023.

And yet that franchise-altering move was only their appetizer for the week, apparently.

On Monday, the Padres reportedly landed another big prize, signing top Korean free agent Ha-seong Kim to a multi-year deal. The 25-year-old with a potent bat has mainly played shortstop and third base in his career, but the Padres already have the best left side of the infield in baseball in Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr., so they’ll likely slide Kim to second base.

Oh, and as of Monday night, the Padres were rumored to have agreed on a trade with the Cubs to acquire yet another ace, Yu Darvish, who was the NL Cy Young runner-up in 2020 after posting a 2.01 ERA in 12 starts. Good lord. Talk about a showstopping trio of transactions.

San Diego is building a heckuva team, which may be of particular interest to folks at Camden Chat, who adopted a bit of a rooting interest in the Padres last year. It’s an easy team to like. Their roster includes former O’s superstar Machado as well as former Birds coaches Wayne Kirby and Bobby Dickerson (plus ex-Orioles utility man Ryan Flaherty, now a coach). The Padres, like the Orioles, are a team that gets overshadowed in its division by much more media-hyped clubs (the Dodgers in the former case, the Yankees and Red Sox in the latter). And the O’s and Padres rarely play each other, so it’s not like there’s any rivalry there. If I had to pick an NL team to follow on a daily basis, the Pads would be the obvious choice.

Mostly I admire that they’re actually going all-out and making a huge splash this winter while most teams are crying poor and cutting costs. They’ve built a stacked minor league system that they’re using both to build a talented, homegrown core and to pull off megadeals for established big league stars, and they’re not afraid to spend a little money when they need to. It’s an impressive combination, and that’s the kind of team we hope the Orioles can become someday.

Links

Too many losses for sports fans in 2020 - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff notes the litany of sports greats who have died in 2020, in case you needed another reminder of how much this year sucks.

Big non-baseball news for Hays and Means - School of Roch
Then again, 2020 hasn’t been terrible for everyone, as both Austin Hays and John Means became first-time fathers earlier this month. And both gave their kids some Wild West-sounding names.

On the O’s farm, versatility will be a real key - Steve Melewski
The Orioles want their prospects to be able to play all over the diamond, including Gunnar Henderson, who apparently “could play seven positions.” Not all at the same time, though. Too bad. That’d be cool.

These are the best O’s by uniform number - Orioles.com
Joe Trezza compiles the best player in O’s history by each uniform number, which of course gets to be slim pickings once you get past, like, 30. When guys like Ubaldo Jimenez and Kevin Gregg are showing up on this list, you can tell which numbers have barely been used.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Four former Orioles were born on this day, though they combined for fewer than 100 games in a Birds uniform: right-handers Jaret Wright (who turns 45), Jim Brower (48), and Dave Ford (64), and catcher Ken Rudolph (74).

On this day in 2005, funeral services were held in Baltimore for Elrod Hendricks, who spent more years in an Orioles uniform than anyone else, including 11 as a catcher and a record 28 as a bullpen coach. O’s legends Earl Weaver, Eddie Murray, and Cal Ripken Jr. were among those to pay their respects to Hendricks, who had died eight days earlier of a heart attack at age 64.