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Friday Bird Droppings: Where some baseball news finally happened

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Just when we needed a distraction from, well, everything, MLB’s hot stove cooked up a big trade yesterday.

Wild Card Round - New York Yankees v Cleveland Indians - Game Two
Pictured: A guy I wish played for the Orioles.
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

With such horrifying events going on in our country right now, writing about — or even thinking about — baseball seems like a trivial endeavor. But this being a baseball blog, we shall try our best, if for no other reason than to provide a momentary distraction from the chaos of the real world.

And hey, kudos to MLB for actually giving us some news to talk about yesterday. In a blockbuster trade, the Cleveland Soon To Change Their Team Name But Waiting Until Next Year For Unclear Reasons dealt their superstar shortstop, Francisco Lindor, to the New York Mets for four players.

It was a move that wasn’t entirely unexpected. The notoriously low-payroll Cleveland was long rumored to be shopping the pending free agent Lindor, a 27-year-old with four All-Star appearances, two Gold Gloves, and three top-10 MVP finishes already under his belt, or else risk losing him after the season with nothing but a draft pick in return. And some pundits think the club got a reasonable return package. Still, what a gut punch for Cleveland fans. They’re a competitive club that’s losing one of the most exciting players in baseball because ownership wasn’t willing to shell out the money to keep him.

Congrats to the Mets, under new owner Steve Cohen, who have been one of the busiest teams in baseball this offseason, first signing reliever Trevor May and catcher James McCann to multi-year contracts and now acquiring a potential franchise cornerstone. They and the Padres are making big moves while most teams slumber for the winter.

I can’t help but wonder which side of this kind of trade the Orioles will be on, if and when they become a contending team again. Will they be Cleveland, having to trade a homegrown, star player in his prime because his price tag is too high? Or will they be an active buyer like the Mets, willing to deal from their prospect pool — and spend a little money — to put a strong team in place?

My guess would be more of the former, but who knows? We have yet to see what a contending Orioles team looks like since John and Louis Angelos officially took the ownership reins from their father. The Birds may have a skinflint budget now, but once they’re out of the rebuilding phase and into the winning phase, perhaps ownership will be a little more generous with the checkbook. It’s a question I’m looking forward to having answered someday.

Links

Baltimore Orioles 2021 Top 50 Prospects | Prospects1500
A lot of sites have prospect lists, but not many of them go 50 deep. This is the place to be if you want to read about guys like, say, Leonel Sanchez and Zach Muckenhirn.

New O’s coach brings youth and more to his job - Steve Melewski
Get to know new third base coach Tony Mansolino, who — fun fact — was born 18 days after I was, which I think makes him the first Orioles coach ever younger than me. Welp, I’ve basically got one foot in the grave over here.

Holt tasked with setting innings restrictions and freedoms - School of Roch
How do you figure out how to ramp up pitchers’ full-season workload after a 2020 season that was less than a third as long? I’m glad it’s Chris Holt’s job to figure that out and not mine.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Five Orioles were born on this day, including 1950s outfielders Willie Tasby, who turns 88, and the late Jim Busby (b. 1927, d. 1996). Also celebrating birthdays today are blink-and-you-missed-them Birds Shane Turner (58), Paul Carey (53), and Breyvic Valera (29).

It’s been a slow day in Orioles history. On this day in 2004, the O’s signed righty reliever Mike DeJean, who went on to post an unsightly 6.13 ERA and 0-5 record in 37 games — allowing nearly two baserunners per inning — before the Birds traded him in July. Why does it feel like signing veteran relievers almost never works out well for the Orioles?