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Thursday Bird Droppings: Still waiting for baseball to make a deal

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When will there be MLB games again? Nobody knows yet. We do know the draft is six days away, and even who the Orioles might pick.

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Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

In the parallel universe where everything is exactly the same as this one except there is no COVID-19, the Orioles would have played 62 games by now. If MLB gets its way, there will probably end up being fewer regular season games in 2020 than even that small number.

As long as those negotiations remain unresolved, there’s not very much to look forward to except the draft that starts next Wednesday. Though there was some hope a few days ago of the owners and players moving towards a deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that the owners have rejected the most recent player offer with no plans to make a counter offer.

The draft may well stay as the only thing baseball-related worth discussing. With the Orioles picking at #2 and with a competitive balance pick at #30, this feels like an important marker in the rebuild. If they can nail these picks, there will continue to be some forward momentum towards a strong farm system. If they’re whiffs, that will hurt.

So far, the assorted mock drafts have the Orioles sticking with Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin, the consensus (though not universal) #2 prospect in the draft. That includes one yesterday from The Athletic’s Keith Law.

However, the possibility of something different continues to persist. Law writes that he heard the Orioles would consider an underslot deal with Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad, allowing them to sign some talented high school players at #30 or #39 who might slide past the first round due to their bonus demands. Kjerstad is generally in the 7-10 range of rankings of draft prospects.

In the mock draft put out by Baseball America yesterday, a new name popped up with the Orioles. That’s outfielder Zac Veen, from the Florida high school ranks. Veen is in the 5-7 range in most of the rankings. This would presumably be another play for an underslot signing.

If Veen is looking for #5 pick money to align with the upper bound of his ranking, that’s still $1.6 million less than the slot value for #2. Add that money to the slot for #30 ($2.365 million) and the Orioles can get a $4 million player - mid-first round pick quality - with their #30 pick, assuming a player with that level of talent gets down to them.

There’s some creativity to the thinking there that was not seen in the Dan Duquette days. Whether it would end up working out is a different story. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in six days, and then it’s going to be interesting to see how that works or doesn’t.

The Orioles of the Baseball Reference Out of the Park-simulated 2020 season were victorious over the Cubs yesterday, raising their record to 24-38. That would leave them in line for the #5 pick in 2021; it’s already going to be tough to out-tank the 17-45 Rangers. The Cubs are one of the four teams with a worse record than the O’s.

In the 4-2 victory, the Orioles got five innings out of John Means and three hits each from Chance Sisco and DJ Stewart. This simulated version of Stewart has been a wrecking ball, hitting .325/.404/.614 in 20 games. That would be exciting performance to see from him in real life.

Around the blogO’sphere

Doing more with draft as Orioles decide on second overall pick (School of Roch)
Roch is with the people who think the Orioles are going to pick Martin in the draft, though he says he’s researching five or six guys, just in case. Sounds fair.

Six names to know as the Orioles consider their options ahead of the 2020 draft (Baltimore Sun)
Jon Meoli has also done research on six names.

Baseball America’s Ben Badler on O’s international effort (Steve Melewski)
It’s still kind of exciting to think about the Orioles actually having an international effort now. Badler has some information about players who already have agreements with the O’s, just waiting for the signing period to begin to be announced.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1967, the Orioles played 19 innings against the Senators, the longest game in the modern history of the franchise. The O’s took a 7-5 victory when Andy Etchebarren hit a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the 19th. The Orioles had won a walkoff in the 11th the previous day and finished a three-game sweep with the win.

In 2010, Dave Trembley was relieved as manager of the Orioles, replaced on an interim bases by Juan Samuel.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2009-10 reliever Cla Meredith, 2012 five-gamer J.C. Romero, 1986 reserve infielder Ricky Jones, 1987-88 catcher Terry Kennedy, and 1954 third baseman Billy Hunter. Today is Hunter’s 92nd birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Revolutionary War loser George III of England (1738), actor Keith David (1956), comedian Horatio Sanz (1969), actress Angelina Jolie (1975), and Paramore drummer Zac Farro (1990).

On this day in history...

In 1411, Charles VI of France granted the people of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon a monopoly on producing the cheese that bears their town’s name: Roquefort. It is a blue cheese made with sheep’s milk. Modern EU law still recognizes that only cheese aged in those nearby caves can be called Roquefort.

In 1745, the Prussians under Frederick beat the Austrians in the Battle of Hohenfriedberg during the War of the Austrian Succession. After the victory, Frederick acquired the nickname he’s still known by history today: Frederick the Great.

In 1919, the US Senate approved the 19th amendment to the Constitution, which would grant women’s suffrage once approved by the states. 89 members of the House and 25 senators voted against the amendment as it passed.

In 1939, the MS St. Louis was denied entry into the United States. The ship was carrying 963 Jewish refugees from Europe; more than 200 of its passengers are known to have later died in concentration camps.

In 1940, the British army completed the evacuation from Dunkirk, after which Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave his famous “We shall fight on the beaches” speech.

In 1942, the Japanese Navy launched an attack on Midway Island; within 30 hours of the ensuing battle, planes from the American Navy had sunk all four Japanese carriers in the attack force.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on June 4. Have a safe Thursday.