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Monday Bird Droppings: Where we miss when no news was good news

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The Orioles are poor, apparently. Maybe they could borrow some money from Chris Davis.

Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles
Hey Trey, just wondering...you want us to hold onto some of your money this year? You’d be doing us a real solid. No? Oh...ok
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Happy Monday, Camden Chatters! As your dedicated Monday morning Bird Droppings writer, I have filled this space for most of the offseason with words about how the Orioles had another quiet weekend. It seemed destined that I’d ride out the remainder of the off season struggling to find something to talk about. I wished every weekend for something to happen that was worth filling this space on Monday morning.

Well, friends, be careful what you wish for. Because we got several bits of news on the current state of the Orioles, and it’s not great.

First, on Friday evening, Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic broke the news of the big changes coming to MASN for both the Orioles and Nationals. On the Orioles side, we learned that MASN cut ties with Rick Dempsey, Tom Davis, Jim Hunter, Mike Bordick, Dave Johnson, and Gary Thorne. It was a bloodbath.

The biggest upset there of course is Gary Thorne, who has been the voice of the Orioles on TV since 2007. It seemed the writing was on the wall when they didn’t bring him aboard last year even after agreeing to a contract, but it’s still a big disappointment and marks a huge change in the broadcast booth.

Regardless of what you think of each of those announcers, to see them all given the axe in one fell swoop is pretty jarring. I have no real love for the TV and radio work that most of those men have done in the recent past, but we’ve also been watching them for years and it’s hard not to think about them personally as well.

I don’t remember a time when Tom Davis wasn’t on my television during the summer, stretching back to when he used to give us the scoreboard updates from his seat inside the dugout. Maybe that in itself is a sign that maybe time has passed him by, but it’s still very strange. It’s especially frustrating because it feels less about bringing the broadcast team up to the present day and more about cutting costs.

And speaking of cutting costs, the second weird bit of news came out on Saturday, when it came to light that the Orioles bizarrely tried to defer the money they would owe to Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander in 2021. Both Mancini and Santander are arbitration eligible this year; Mancini has already settled on a contract and the Orioles and Santander appear to be headed to a hearing. Both declined to accept the salary deferment, because of course they did.

What is clear is that the Orioles and MASN are doing whatever they can to cut costs. It is truly due to the money lost during the 2020 season? Most teams are being budget conscious this year with that as their excuse, but asking two of your players to just accept a salary deferment out of the goodness of their hearts is a whole other level of strangeness.

So now we’re left to wonder what it all means. Are they stripping down to prepare for a sale? Did the pandemic really just hit them THAT hard? Are the MASN changes also intended to stick it to the Nationals? Is it even possible for the team to be poor when their listed value is over a billion dollars?

Ugh. Bring on spring training so I can stop thinking about these kinds of things.

Links

‘I’ll treasure that forever’: Gary Thorne not returning to Orioles broadcasts in 2021 - Baltimore Sun
Like many of you, I'll miss Gary Thorne when Orioles broadcasts resume this year. It sounds like he'll miss us too. He and Jim Palmer were a consistent source of happiness through many dark years of Orioles baseball. In this article, though, he remembers the good years.

Report: Marlins, Orioles having trade talks about Santander | theScore.com
Could the Orioles trade last year's Most Valuable Oriole? That would be pretty disappointing to me, but it wouldn't surprise me after what we've seen this offseason.

Taking another glance at some prospect lists - School of Roch
There is a lot to be unsettled about with the Orioles right now, but that state of their minor league system isn't one of them. Five Orioles on the Baseball America top 100 and a recent flurry of international signings is definitely a welcome change.

Birthdays and History

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have three Orioles birthday buddies. Wally Bunker turns 76 years old today. Bunker pitched for the Orioles from 1963-68, and pitched a complete game shutout in game three of the 1966 World Series.

Also born on this day in history are Richie Lewis (55) who started his seven-season major league career with two games with the Orioles in 1992; and Francisco Melendez (57), who finished his five-season career with nine games with the Birds in 1989.

On this day in 2005, the Orioles lost out on free agent Carlos Delgado. The Orioles had been one of several teams who wanted Delgado, but he ultimately signed with the Florida Marlins.