We are now four months and 27 days until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day 2022. The Orioles are set to host the Blue Jays at Camden Yards on March 31 to begin the 2022 season. That’s a long way away, so if it makes you feel better, perhaps you can instead count down the three months and 11 days until pitchers and catchers will be due to report to Sarasota to begin spring training.
Between now and then are a variety of deadlines for the routine offseason stuff, and one deadline that could grind everything to a halt. The biggest thing to keep an eye on is that the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and the player expires at midnight on December 2.
It is expected by all involved that if a new agreement is not reached prior to that, the league will initiate a lockout and all major league roster activity will be on pause until there is a new CBA. For a dumpster diving team like the Orioles that’s not expected to be active on the free agent market, the biggest immediate impact would maybe be the cancellation of the Rule 5 draft.
If this hypothetical lockout lasts for two months or more, it could start to impact the beginning of spring training which would in turn likely impact the regular season. However, the lockout would not impact minor league players who are not on 40-man rosters, as those players do not belong to the players union yet. Many of the Orioles prospects, including Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez, would not be directly affected even in the case of games being lost to owner greed.
Okay, so all of that is worry for a month from now and beyond. Let’s not spend too much time stressing out about it today. Instead, there’s cause for being happy! There was some Orioles news of a sort on Wednesday, involving Trey Mancini’s relationship status rather than roster status:
Between Mancini’s cancer diagnosis during spring training last year and treatments going on simultaneously with the pandemic that upended pretty much everybody’s life worldwide, they have been through a lot over the last 18+ months, so congratulations to them!
Around the blogO’sphere
Which relievers are returning to the Orioles in 2022? (School of Roch)
Roch surveys the landscape of the Orioles bullpen and proclaims the only stone cold lock to be on the Opening Day roster to be Tyler Wells. He’s come a long way this year.
Will the Orioles trade Cole Sulser this winter? (Orioles.com)
Beat writer Joe Trezza tackled his inbox, and we’ve got a trend: Two beat writers speculating that Cole Sulser just might have some trade interest this offseason. MLB level trades would also be halted in a lockout.
Offseason position breakdown: Orioles overworked bullpen remains in flux after top arms struggle (The Baltimore Sun)
Jon Meoli writes, “Elias seems to be a believer that when the team is better as a whole — a more consistent and more productive lineup and starters who go deeper in games — then the bullpen will get easier assignments and thus perform.” I hope that Mike Elias is right about that.
Orioles considering many players for final 40-man spots (Baltimore Baseball)
Rich Dubroff is also looking at the fringe of the Orioles roster, wondering which of the bubble guys will get cut to make room for prospects being added and (we hope) possible Rule 5 picks.
There was a decent amount of news on this front last night. One Oriole was claimed on waivers and another three were outrighted off of the roster. The biggest surprise name among the quartet is catcher Pedro Severino.
It’s not a surprise in the sense that Severino was expected to be removed prior to the tender deadline. The timing is a surprise to me. I didn’t expect Severino to be unceremoniously dumped along with players of the ilk of Conner Greene (7.71 ERA in 22 games), Marcos Diplán (4.50 ERA in 23 games), and Eric Hanhold (6.97 ERA in 10 games), but that’s how it is.
Greene and Diplán were outrighted along with Severino after clearing waivers. They are all expected to become free agents. Hanhold was claimed on waivers by the Pirates. This leaves the Orioles 40-man roster at 30 players, though there are still five players on the 60-day injured list who’ve yet to be formally re-added to the 40-man roster.
I expect all of Keegan Akin, Hunter Harvey, Jorge López, Jorge Mateo, and DJ Stewart to be back on the 40-man, at least for the start of the offseason. That gets them to 35. There will probably be some more trimming of the roster prior to the deadline to protect eligible prospects from the Rule 5 draft, assuming it occurs.
What to make of O’s home-road disparity on offense? (Steve Melewski)
Steve doesn’t have any answers, but he notes that as a team the Orioles had a 108 point gap between their home and road offensive OPS in 2021. League-wide, home OPS was only 31 points better than road OPS. A lot of this is probably wrapped up in Camden Yards compared to Not Camden Yards, but perhaps there are other explanations that can be addressed.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 1975, Jim Palmer was named the winner for the AL Cy Young award, the second of three wins in his career. Over 323 innings, Palmer had a 2.09 ERA, which led all qualifying MLB pitchers, as did his ten shutouts. He even snuck a save in there in his lone relief appearance.
In 2002, Orioles finished second and third in AL Rookie of the Year voting. Rodrigo Lopez was the runner-up to Toronto’s Eric Hinske after posting a 3.57 ERA in 33 games in his rookie season. Jorge Julio came in third place.
There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2001-05 outfielder Larry Bigbie, 1987 reliever Doug Corbett, and 1956-57 outfielder Tito Francona. Francona, the father of Terry, passed away in 2018 at age 84.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: World War II Marine hero John Basilone, TV newsman Walter Cronkite, and Barbie creator Ruth Handler (1916); and rapper Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs and actor Matthew McConaughy (1969).
It’s also my fiancee’s birthday, so I would like to wish an especially happy birthday to her.
On this day in history...
In 1429, Joan of Arc led a French force that liberated the Burgundy-occupied fortified town of Saint-Pierre-le-Moutier. This was Joan’s last victory before her capture at Compiegne about six months later.
In 1922, the team led by archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the entrance to King Tut’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was occupied by a group of students, who took 90 hostages in the process.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on November 4. Have a safe Thursday.