Good morning, Camden Chatters.
For Orioles fans who have been grumbling about the team not making any moves this winter, cheer up: the Birds are probably going to announce a bunch of signings today. They just won’t be major league signings.
Today marks the beginning of MLB’s 2020 international signing period, despite the fact that, you know, it’s not 2020. In a normal year, the signing period would have begun last July 2, but — in case you didn’t notice — last year was not normal. The pandemic pushed the process back five months, but today the wait is over. Teams are now ready to pounce and add an infusion of young talent to their organizations.
Let’s not forget how big a deal it is that the Orioles are part of this process again. In the pre-Mike Elias era, O’s ownership infamously refused to participate in the international amateur market, leaving the Birds with nothing but a handful of low-cost non-prospects while other teams gobbled up the most promising international talents. Year after year, the O’s hamstrung themselves with their lack of involvement, and their farm system suffered the consequences.
Even in the first two years of the Elias regime, once John and Louis Angelos gave the go-ahead to increase the club’s presence in Latin America, the Orioles were still left playing catchup. Many of the top amateurs in the 2019 class had already been extensively scouted and courted by other teams before the Orioles could get their international operations up and running.
This year, though, it appears the Orioles finally will be able to make their presence felt and recruit some legitimate talent. Perhaps they won’t land any of the five or 10 best prospects — this MLB.com preview from last April pegs other teams as the favorites to sign the top guys — but there are plenty of other intriguing names for whom the Orioles could make a serious play. According to CBS Sports, only five teams have more bonus pool money to spend than the Orioles for this signing period, so the club is in a good position to make a splash.
It’ll be exciting to find out who the Orioles come up with. Of course, none of these players will be anyone we’re likely to see in an O’s uniform within the next three or four years. But they’ll go a long way to giving the Orioles’ rebuilding effort a shot in the arm.
Cueing some curiosities in 2021 - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko poses a few questions about the upcoming season, including whether the minor league signing of Fernando Abad will affect Paul Fry’s or Tanner Scott’s status. I can field that one: not in the least.
History of B&O Warehouse at Camden Yards - Orioles.com
Joe Trezza drops some knowledge about the iconic warehouse. If you’ve ever found yourself asking, “Say, what’s the longest brick building on the East Coast?”, well, have I got some news for you!
Branden Kline was one of 28 Marylanders to play for Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com
ICYMI, Maryland-born Branden Kline announced his retirement from baseball. He pitched just 37 games in the majors, but that’s 37 more than you or I will ever have. Best of luck to Branden in his post-playing career.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your two Orioles birthday buddies are defensively gifted second baseman Bobby Grich (72), who by all rights should be in the Hall of Fame, and Delino DeShields (52), who, uh, will not be in the Hall of Fame. But he had a plenty respectable career, with 463 career steals.
Jan. 15 has historically been a day for the Orioles to sign uninspiring free agents. On this date in 1986, they signed infielder Juan Bonilla, who went on to bat .243/.311/.296 with one home run in 102 games for the Birds that season. And in 1999, they signed veteran reliever Heathcliff Slocumb, who proceeded to post an unsightly 12.46 ERA in 10 games, allowing a whopping 26 baserunners in just 8.2 innings, before the O’s released him in April.