Good morning Birdland,
The 2021 baseball season is an ever-changing amoeba at this point. A few months ago, there were reports that MLB owners wanted to delay the start of the year, likely with the hope that the longer the wait the more likely that they can begin the season with fans in attendance. Then, earlier this week, it was reported that the MLBPA wasn’t gonna go for another shortened season and instead the 2021 season would begin on time. Now, there is another wrinkle.
In order for the MLB season to begin on time while also adhering to some sort of safety measures related to COVID-19, the MLB and Triple-A seasons will proceed as normal, but the lower-level minor league campaigns will be delayed. The reason for this is that organizations want to limit the number of people at their spring training facilities at one time.
As for how this impacts the Orioles, it’s unclear. I would imagine that many of the top-tier prospects you are familiar with (Rutschman, Rodriguez, Hall, etc.) will be involved in spring training from the very beginning as they can receive big league invites and then still spend the year in lower levels. But that remains to be seen.
Links & Notes
A new hope for 30 players in 2021 | MLB.com
All indications are that Trey Mancini will be ready for a full workload by the time the O’s report to Sarasota. That is great news! The slugger will certainly be determined to prove that he is the same player as he was prior to his cancer diagnosis.
Reviewing the offseason moves, and what they mean for 2021 | The Baltimore Sun
This offseason has been about as boring as anticipated for the Orioles. All of the major moves have involved established players leaving the organization. That doesn’t necessarily mean the team is worse than 2020, but there is more uncertainty.
Start of Minor League Season At Double-A And Class A To Be Delayed | Baseball America
This is the sort of news that minor league teams are likely not surprised by, but still nonetheless devastated by. They just saw 40 of their peer franchises lose affiliation and now they are bracing for what is going to be a tough financial hit.
Tigers Designate Troy Stokes Jr. | MLB Trade Rumors
This isn’t an Orioles story, but rather just something worth noting for people interested in Baltimore-area players in and around the big leagues. Stokes went to high school at Calvert Hall and was once a top-30 type of prospect after being drafted in 2014. He turns 25 next month.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
Kevin Gausman, an O’s hurler from 2013 through 2018, turns 30 today. The 2012 draft pick accrued a 4.22 ERA and 697 strikeouts over 763.2 innings with the Birds. He has since bounced to four other clubs and recently accepted the qualifying offer to return to the San Francisco Giants in 2021.
It is the 39th birthday of Brian Bass. The right-handed pitcher had a 4.86 ERA over 107.1 total innings with the Orioles between the 2008 and ‘09 seasons.
Happy 58th birthday to Norm Charlton, a left-handed pitcher with the O’s for 36 games during the 1998 campaign.
Finally, the late Lenny Green (d. 2019) was born on this day in 1933. The 12-year MLB vet had two stints with the Orioles’ first from 1957 through ‘59 and then again in 1964. All in he played in just 129 games and had a .225/.302/.302 batting line.
2009 - Japanese right-hander Koji Uehara signs a two-year deal with the Orioles worth up to $16 million. The 34-year-old is a two-time Olympian and has already played a decade for the Yomiuri Giants.
2017 - The O’s acquire outfielder Seth Smith from the Mariners in exchange for right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo.