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Monday Bird Droppings: The probable lockout is getting deals done, just not here

MLB’s CBA expires at midnight on Thursday. There’s been a flurry of activity ahead of that deadline, just nothing that registers here in Birdland.

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Baltimore Orioles vs California Angels
Pictured: The Orioles while free agents spent the weekend signing big deals.
Set Number: X49090

Hello, friends.

There are now fewer than four months remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day 2022. Pitchers and catchers reporting to Sarasota to start spring training is about two and a half months away. All of this continues to assume that the expected owner lockout if the clock strikes midnight on Thursday without an agreement on a new CBA will not impact the 2022 season calendar. We can certainly hope not.

That pending deadline is proving to be a significant one for a lot of players and teams, because it sure seems like a number of prominent free agents and their suitors are looking to get things settled in advance of any lockout. There’s been a flurry of activity over the last week, really picking up speed last night. What’s notable about some big moves last night is it’s bad teams signing players to free agent deals or locking them up to contract extensions.

It’s easy for an Orioles fan, though, because our favorite team has signed no one, as expected. It’s other teams picking up the big contracts. Marcus Semien to the Rangers (60-102 in 2021) for seven years, $175 million. Texas is also signing Jon Gray. Then there’s Avisail Garcia to the Marlins (67-95 in 2021) for four years, $53 million, and the Marlins giving an extension to pitcher Sandy Alcantara (five years, $56 milllion). On top of that, Byron Buxton got a contract extension from the Twins (73-89 in 2021) for seven years, $100 million. Some of 2021’s crummy teams are trying to improve themselves.

Less crummy but still far out of the 2021 playoffs, the Mets (77-85) collected Eduardo Escobar, Mark Canha, and Starling Marte over the weekend, and to top it all off, they were reportedly “close to finalizing” a contract with Max Scherzer as I was about to go to sleep last night. It seems that the Mets owner took his rejection by then-free agent pitcher Steven Matz personally. Whether the spending spree that followed that rejection proves productive for the Mets is to be determined.

At least one team that was good at the end of the 2021 regular season is getting in on the party. Former Oriole Kevin Gausman is coming back to the AL East with a five year, $110 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

We will never know what might have happened if the Mike Elias analytics regime could have gotten its hands on Gausman. Probably they still would have ended up trading him, but surely he would have fetched more than the virtual zero of Dan Duquette shipping him to Atlanta. Oh well. I’m glad for Gausman for getting paid, but now I have to hope he returns to something closer to his Orioles career form, or worse. Maybe Adley Rutschman is going to hit a bunch of homers off of him.

Around the blogO’sphere

More on Orioles trade speculation and minor league manuevering (School of Roch)
Roch was on duty over Thanksgiving weekend to remind everyone not to panic over some vague, thinly-sourced rumors about how the Orioles are listening on John Means and Cedric Mullins. Not on duty was the person who would make sure “maneuvering” was correctly spelled in the headline.

Orioles ‘DFAll-Star’ pitchers: A full team of waiver claims and trades from the first three years of the rebuild (The Baltimore Sun)
The pitching staff made up entirely of Mike Elias-era waiver claims would be an all-time bad pitching staff, even more than the 2021 Orioles were. This probably surprises no one, but it’s still amazing to see the low quality names in one list.

MLB players want change, and Bruce Meyer is fighting to deliver it: ‘The other side is not going to be happy with me’ (The Athletic)
With the lockout looming, this deep dive into one of the players union’s lawyers new to this round of CBA negotiations is a great way to get caught up on what’s likely to grind the offseason to a halt in a few days.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1975, the Gold Glove winners were announced. Four Orioles received them that year, including the final career wins for Brooks Robinson (his 16th) and Paul Blair (his eighth). Also honored were Mark Belanger (fifth win of an eventual eight) and Bobby Grich (third win of four in his career).

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2017-18 outfielder Craig Gentry, 2008 catcher Guillermo Quiroz, 1989-90 pitcher Brian Holton, and 1990 pitcher Joe Price. Today is Price’s 65th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832), first woman governor Nellie Tayloe Ross (1876), novelist C.S. Lewis (1898), spandex developer Joseph Shivers (1920), should-be Baseball Hall of Famer Minnie Miñoso (1925), filmmaker Joel Coen (1954), and actor Don Cheadle (1964).

On this day in history...

In 1394, the capital of Korea was moved from Kaesong to Hanyang (modern-day Seoul) by its king and the reigning dynasty’s founder, Yi Seong-gye.

In 1807, with Napoleon-allied forces marching on his capital, Portugal’s king, John VI, fled the country. He established court in the colonial possession of Brazil, and did not return to mainland Portugal for 14 years.

In 1972, Atari’s Pong was first released. It’s notable for being the first commercially successful video game.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on November 29. Have a safe Monday.