Good morning, Birdland!
Spring training is still in its infancy, so there is plenty of time for storylines to develop. For now, it seems the only common point of interest we have is Chris Davis. The highly-paid “slugger” worked out with Craig Gentry, gained weight and trolled everyone in his first batting practice of the spring by pretending to change his swing. Lovely.
Why even waste energy on Davis at this point? He has been a bad baseball player for three consecutive seasons, accounting for -3.8 bWAR in those years. Now he enters his age 34 season, and we are going to pretend like maybe he unlocked some hidden ability over the winter? Or act as if he was actually going to retire? Please. Have you seen the money he is still owed? He is going to see it out to the bitter end, and he is absolutely right to do so. He earned that money, and he isn’t going to let the Orioles off the hook. But Davis’s presence in spring training is, to me, one of the least interesting things about these Orioles. He is a known commodity on a roster full of question marks.
Davis’s arrival and opening quotes in Sarasota needed to be reported on. He is the most familiar face on the team and earns the highest salary. What he says is newsworthy. Now we can all move on to more consequential players. Hopefully!
Links & Notes
Sisco on revamped hitting approach, Conine on new role with Orioles - School of Roch
If I had to pick one player on the Orioles roster to have a “breakout” performance of sorts it would be Chance Sisco. Although he has failed to live up to his lofty prospect status, he did improve in 2019. His defensive metrics are likely to continue to be abysmal, but it might be worth it if he can be a well above-average offensive catcher.
Ryan McKenna out to make an impression, plus Chris Davis’ comments - Steve Melewski
It would be no surprise to see Ryan McKenna become one of the more talked about players at Orioles spring training. He has a fun skillset that could thrive against sub-MLB pitching staffs.
Nick Markakis has rough words for Astros after cheating scandal - NBC Sports
He hasn’t been an Oriole for a few years, but you may recall that Nick Markakis is a pretty reserved guy. When speaking to the press he doesn’t typically deviate from your typically cliches and run-of-the-milll baseball jargon. But he piled on to both the Astros and Rob Manfred.
Conine lends pro expertise at Orioles camp - Orioles.com
Obviously, there is a reason that big league teams invite a handful of their alumni into spring training every year to help with instruction. It is unclear how effective their presence is to the overall improvement of the team, or if it is just done to bring some familiar faces out and allow fans to go “Oh, I remember that guy!”
Orioles birthdays and history
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
According to Baseball Reference, no former Orioles players have been born on February 19, so here are some other famous people that are celebrating birthdays today: musician Smokey Robinson (b. 1940), actor Jeff Daniels (b. 1955), NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (b. 1959), actor Benicio del Toro (b. 1967), professional football player Dwight Freeney (b. 1980) and actress Millie Bobby Brown (b. 2004).
Additionally, Baseball Reference doesn’t mention any other significant events regarding the Baltimore Orioles history occurring on February 19, so here are some notable happenings outside of the Charm City:
1889 - John Ward leads a tour of baseball players in Europe, staging a game in Naples, Italy
1953 - Ted Williams’s plane, which he was flying in the Korean War, is hit by enemy fire. He manages to safely crash-land the damaged jet.
2019 - Former Oriole Manny Machado signs a 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres.