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Weekend Bird Droppings: Mullins rumor ignites the internet

It’s OK for the Orioles to listen. If something more happens, then it will be actual news.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

Everyone needs to calm down. There was a rumor that came down the pike on Friday afternoon that had the temperatures of both Orioles fans and anti-tank advocates running high.

At first blush, it makes sense to be annoyed or even angry at the thought of trading away Cedric Mullins. Not only is he the Orioles’ best player, he was legitimately one of the best players in all of baseball this past season. On top of that, he has years of control left and has not even hit arbitration yet. Dealing him right now would not be a matter of saving money. It would be a brazen move that actively shifts the team’s window to win even further into the future.

But let’s look at this rumor and break it down a little bit.

The phrase “would listen” is doing a lot of work here. Most teams would probably listen on just about any player in their organization. The Red Sox traded Mookie Betts, arguably the best player in the world at the time, just two years ago. If a player like that can be got, Mullins seems to be within the realm of possibility.

Then, Heyman acknowledges that it’s a “long shot.” OK. So, what would it take? Have any offers been made? Are the Orioles putting a specific asking price out there? Did we attempt to do any actual reporting here? It does not appear so.

Finally, there is a list of teams that need a centerfielder. It’s not even teams that are actually confirmed to be in on the Mullins talks, but just clubs that have an opening. Oh, and let’s add in the “and more” just to really muddy the waters. The Mets are even in there, on the same day that they signed Starling Marte to a $78-million contract.

Look, I believe that Mike Elias has taken calls about Mullins, and I also believe that he has probably asked teams what they would be willing to give up to land the all-star centerfielder. If even that perturbs you, I get it. But I would not consider any of that “news.” It sounds like the sort of conversations that happen between front offices, especially in what has been a frantic period as teams that are actually trying in 2022 attempt to assemble a roster ahead of a likely lockout.

Although it was many years ago, this is the team that turned Erik Bedard into Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, and George Sherrill. Those sorts of moves have fallen off since then, and don’t think that the way in which the Mariners got fleeced isn’t part of the reason why. If some team is willing to tread back into those waters, you should listen.

But don’t get me wrong, I have no interest in Mullins being dealt. There is enough evidence to suggest his gains in 2021 are here to stay, at least to a degree, and he’s young enough to be the team’s centerfielder long term. But I’m going to reserve any potential outrage for a rumor with more depth to it than what was being kicked around this week.


Orioles Willing To Listen To Trade Offers On Cedric Mullins | MLB Trade Rumors
The above-mentioned rumor in more detail from MLBTR.

Trying to answer a few more Orioles questions | School of Roch
Roch touches on the idea that Adley Rutschman could sign an extension in the next year. There is no news there yet, but I think it would make a lot of sense. Of course, Rutschman does not exist in a vacuum. The team needs to see gains across the diamond, not just one position, in 2022.

Orioles ‘DFAll-Star’ pitchers: A full team of waiver claims and trades from the first 3 years of the rebuild | The Baltimore Sun
Finding high-quality players on waivers is tough. After all, there is a reason they are on waivers. And it has been especially tough for Mike Elias when it comes to pitchers. Cole Susler has been a success, and Chris Ellis was really impressive down the stretch in 2021. But it’s not the most encouraging crew, and the team outrighted Ellis, so they must have been a tad scared of his peripherals.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Yefry Ramirez turns 28 this weekend. The right-handed pitcher appeared in 21 games between 2018 and ‘19 for the O’s. He spent 2021 in the Dodgers organization.
  • Jason Berken is 38. He had a three-season run with the Orioles from 2009 through 2011, serving mostly as a reliever. He even got a t-shirt night in 2010.
  • Tim Laker turns 52. His Orioles stay lasted seven games during the 1997 season.
  • Randy Milligan is 60. Serving as the Orioles’ most oft-used first baseman from 1989 through 1992, the former first-round pick accumulated 11.1 bWARin orange and black.
  • Jim Fuller celebrates his 71st. From 1973 through ‘74, the outfielder played in 73 games for Baltimore.
  • Bill Short is 84 years old. He appeared in 11 games in an Orioles uniform, five in 1962 and six in 1966.
  • The late Johnny Schmitz (d. 2011) was born on this day in 1920. The southpaw played in 18 games for the 1956 squad.

This weekend in O’s history

1963 - The O’s trade first baseman Jim Gentile to the Kansas City Athletics in exchange for Norm Siebern.

1973 - Al Bumbry earns AL Rookie of the Year. He led the league with 11 triples and hit for a .337 batting average.

1978 - The Orioles sign former White Sox righty Steve Stone to a free agent contract.

2005 - B.J. Ryan signs the largest contract ever given to a relief pitcher: five years, $47 million. The lefty leaves the O’s to join the division rival Blue Jays.