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Sunday Bird Droppings: The virtual winter meetings edition

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Baseball’s all-virtual winter meetings are coming this week. The Orioles probably aren’t going to make much news.

Mike Elias in the middle of a scrum of reporters.
This sight will not be seen at the 2020 winter meetings because they are going to be virtual.
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 116 days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day 2021. It will be here before you know it, although there are still plenty of days to go between now and then. If it makes you feel like real baseball is any closer, pitchers and catchers are set to report to Sarasota in two months and ten days from today.

In the original plan for baseball for 2020, the league’s annual winter meetings would be getting under way today in Dallas. With 2020 being what it is, the meetings have gone virtual. It seems like the kind of experience that will be difficult to replicate virtually, but with that being the only safe option this December, well, that’s what they’re going to have to do.

The image of the winter meetings from the olden days involves team scouts getting face-to-face contact and swapping rumors about who is available and what other teams might be doing, while reporters roam around trying to get scoops, agents try to get meetings to get their players signed, and people trying to break into baseball, or find a new job within it, are thrown into the mix looking for jobs as well.

In truth, the dawn of text messaging has made it easier for GMs to just talk to one another briefly and directly, and teams around the league are relying less on those old school scouts as video- and analytics-based things have become more common. The game is changing and the way things like the meetings were done have been changing anyway. This year it’s just going to be really apparent.

For the Orioles, it is probably not going to be a busy few days. Maybe they will make some minor league signings. Or maybe they won’t. The two “big” minor league signings of last offseason were Wade LeBlanc and Tommy Milone, and those guys signed in February. When Mike Elias said last week that the time was not yet right to flip the switch to try to maximize wins next year, that signaled there won’t be many big moves to be made for the rest of the winter at all, let alone over the next few days.

The Orioles of last year did make two Rule 5 draft picks. That draft will still take place on the final day of the virtual meetings on Thursday. Both players picked last year ended up being returned before spring training was put on pause. So even that might not have much impact.

Around the blogO’sphere

How will the Orioles fill their infield? (School of Roch)
The question is on a lot of people’s minds. Roch doesn’t have any more answers than you do.

Inbox: Who will replace Iggy at shortstop? (Orioles.com)
This question was also on the minds of readers who wrote in to beat writer Joe Trezza. He offers a prediction that the most likely O’s free agent shortstop signing would be Freddy Galvis.

A conversation with 1960s slugger Jim Gentile (Fangraphs)
A must read for anyone interested in some of the very old days of the Orioles franchise.

Earl Weaver would approve: Keep adding shortstops (Steve Melewski)
Although the Orioles traded away their best 2021 shortstop option last week, Steve Melewski is confident that they will find a shortstop of some future period out of the current crop of infield prospects. It’ll be nice if he’s right, though even if he is, that’s probably a couple of years off.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 2010, the Orioles acquired Mark Reynolds from the Diamondbacks in exchange for David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio. This one started working out better once Reynolds became a first baseman instead of a third baseman. On the same day, Melvin Mora signed with the Rockies.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 1984-89 outfielder Larry Sheets, 1977 three-game pitcher Mike Parrott, and 1981 pitcher Jeff Schneider.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: silent Western star William S. Hart (1872), jazz man Dave Brubeck (1920), Craigslist founder Craig Newmark (1952), and movie man Judd Apatow (1967).

On this day in history...

In 1240, the Golden Horde, led by Genghis Khan’s grandson Batu, captured the city today known as Kiev, Ukraine.

In 1884, the external structure of the Washington Monument was completed, 36 years after construction began.

In 1922, the Irish Free State came into being as agreed under the Anglo-Irish Treaty signed one year earlier. The country started going by Ireland in 1937, and proclaimed itself the Republic of Ireland in 1949.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on December 6. Have a safe Sunday.