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Saturday Bird Droppings: The Winter Meetings are nearing

Baseball is entering its busy season.

MLB: Winter Meetings Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

There won’t be the pomp and circumstance usually associated with the in-person event, but Major League Baseball will still hold their annual Winter Meetings this week. Rather than joining up at a hotel in a fair-weathered town, instead the folks that run MLB and its organizations will hold a bunch of Zoom calls. It sounds awful, but it’s what needs to be done this year.

It’s unclear if this set-up really allows players, agents and front office executives the same opportunities to strike deals as they have traditionally done. One would think not, but perhaps MLB has some specific plans to facilitate those discussions.

As far as the Orioles are concerned, you can be pretty confident that they will select at least one play in the Rule 5 draft at the end of the meetings. Their 40-man roster sits at 38 right now, so they have some room.

It is less likely that they sign a noteable free agent or make a big splash in the trade market. But a deal could be made around the margins for a veteran pitcher or establish veteran at shortstop. However, it could be more likely that those are of the minor league variety.


Inbox: Who will replace Iggy at shortstop? |
There is a glaring hole in the Orioles roster. It would seem that Richie Martin is the internal favorite to succeed Jose Iglesias at shortstop, but you’ll forgive the fanbase if they aren’t exactly thrilled about seeing the guy that struggled mightily as a rookie and then missed all of 2020 with injury be thrust right back into the starting lineup.

Garrett Stallings, product of José Iglesias trade, adds to Orioles’ ‘impressive stack’ of young starters | The Baltimore Sun
It’s not as if the Orioles could have expected a huge haul in exchange for one year of Iglesias. After all, he was signed on the cheap just one year ago, and an aging defense-first shortstop isn’t the most intriguing profile despite what he showed at the plate in 2020.

Because You Asked - Final Cut | School of Roch
It’s another mail bag blog. Lots of good information in here, including an update on the sort of access that writers will have to this year’s virtual Winter Meetings.

O’s fans again hit with realization that looking to future is not easy | Steve Melewski
I think the Iglesias move feels like a bigger deal to those of us that are Very Online, then it actually is to Orioles fans in general. He was on the roster for one season, and that season happened to take place in a year with no in-person attendance and no all-star game. He didn’t win any awards and I would imagine very few folks purchased any Orioles gear with his name on it. It sucks to see one of the team’s better players go. The Orioles major league roster is worse without him, and it is totally legitimate to be bummed by it. Just don’t blow it out of proportion

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Gene Harris turns 56 today. The right-handed pitcher wrapped up his seven-season big league career with a three-game stint on the 1995 Orioles.

It’s the 64th birthday of Bill Swaggerty. He spent four seasons with the O’s from 1983 through 1986, earning a 4.76 ERA over 81.1 total innings on the mound.

Happy 66th birthday to outfielder Gary Roenicke. He had a .250/.355/.448 batting line over eight seasons in Birdland from 1978 through 1985. He was then dealt to the Yankees in exchange for Rich Bordi and Rex Hudler.

Finally, it’s the 80th birthday of John Papa, a pitcher that appeared in three games with the Orioles between 1961 and ‘62.

This day in history

1998 - First baseman Will Clark signs a two-year contract with the Orioles.