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Saturday’s Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles have cut their Rule 5 picks

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The Orioles are going about building their team in a very different way than in years past.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles-Workouts Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

The Orioles are not going to have a Rule 5 pick on their 2020 roster. On Friday, the team decided to return both Brandon Bailey and Michael Rucker to their respective teams as part of their second round of spring training cuts.

It’s a surprising move given the lack of depth the Orioles possess in the pitching department. Bailey was viewed a legitimate rotation candidate while Rucker may have fit in a swingman role. Instead, it appears that Mike Elias prefers to get a longer look at guys like Wade LeBlanc and Tommy Milone, among others.

Elias has more information at his disposal than we do, and perhaps he saw something that convinced him that it would be better to move on from Bailey and Rucker now rather than struggle to keep them on the big league roster all season. Who knows. It could have simply come down to a question of roster flexibility, which the two Rule 5 players would have impeded.

Long term, it is unlikely that this move matters much. Rule 5 picks, especially pitchers, don’t tend to set the world on fire. They could certainly contribute, but aren’t going to change the dynamics of an organization. Even still, I would have liked to see them stick around a bit longer.

Links

Elias explains Oriole cuts; Eshelman impresses in 5-1 win over Yankees; Phillips avoids surgery - Baltimore Baseball
The O’s GM explains that since the new rules limit the number of pitchers that a team can carry at one time, then it would have been difficult to protect one or two Rule 5 picks all season. That’s fine. But you likely don’t cut them this soon unless you simply think they can’t hack it in the big leagues anyway.

How the Orioles are ‘organically’ building their minor league hitting department - Baltimore Sun
The Orioles have overhauled a lot of their internal structure this off-season, including the addition of a ton of hitting coaches from all over the country with the hope being that they each bring in a unique perspective, fresh drills and a new way to develop major league hitters.

Thomas Eshelman on solid outing against Yankees (O’s win 5-1) - Steve Melewski
There is talk that Eshelman has added a tick or two to his fastball. He needed to. Last year, the righty was working with a mid-80’s fastball, and understandably got knocked around doing so. His 2020 role is unclear, but he will likely throw at least a few innings in Baltimore at some point.

Leftovers from Elias - School of Roch
There does appear to be a different vibe to Orioles spring training this season than in the recent past. It’s a nice mix of young guys and veterans, and the team is winning games, which is always fun. Of course, that doesn’t mean this team will be competing for a playoff spot. But maybe they can avoid 100 losses and take a run at 70 wins.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

The only former Orioles player with a birthday today is Joe Carter. The outfielder is best known for his tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays, during which he won two World Series titles. Carter played in just 85 games for the O’s, all coming in the 1998 season. He was traded that July to the San Francisco Giants, where he finished out his career.

1999 - It is announced that the Orioles will travel to Havana, Cuba to play an exhibition game against the Cuban national team on March 28. The occasion will mark the first time in 40 years that a team from the United States will play a professional game in Cuba.