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Weekend Bird Droppings: The Orioles continue churning their roster

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Some surprising names left the organization on Friday. Meanwhile, down in Florida the prospects continue to impress.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

The Orioles’ 40-man roster is about as small as it gets. If you include players currently on the 60-day IL, they are down to 31. That leaves a LOT of room to do a couple things.

In all likelihood, the top priority is going to be protecting a batch of their youngsters from the Rule 5 draft. Some of the top candidates there are DL Hall, Kyle Bradish, and Terrin Vavra.

Beyond that, it’s nice to have some cushion to make waiver claims when other teams make similar moves. Considering the Orioles tied for the worst record in baseball last year it’s fair to assume there a more than a few players out there that could be unworthy of a roster spot elsewhere but quite comfortable with the O’s.

Then there is the consideration of who the Orioles will take in the Rule 5 draft. They made two selections a year ago, and would seem likely to have a similar strategy this year if the draft goes off like normal.

After that, way down in the pecking order, is free agency. Now, I feel comfortable saying that the Orioles will sign a free agent to a major league deal. Heck, maybe even two! But they may not be as revered as some fans want or expect. Even still, there needs to be some room there, or at least the consideration for them.

Some of the players the Orioles lost yesterday sting a bit. Chris Ellis had seemed to earn himself a longer look. Hunter Harvey leaves without reaching his potential. But on the whole, this is the sort of thing that happens to a bad baseball team. Roster churn is inevitable everywhere, but especially for a club in a transition period.

Links

Healthy again, Kjerstad looks toward ‘22 | Orioles.com
This is massive news on the prospect front. If Kjerstad can have a fully healthy offseason, then there is a chance for him to rocket through the minors in the next season or two. Sure, his ceiling may have been dented slightly, but his major league dream is very much alive.

An O’s pitcher who could have a breakout 2022 season | Steve Melewski
The O’s bullpen needs to be better than it was in 2021. Some of that will fall to Dillon Tate to turn into a high-leverage arm.

MLB Players Association makes second economics proposal to MLB, likely leaving next move to the owners | The Athletic
And the off-season battle in the press between the players and owners begins. Every fans’ favorite part of watching sports!

Previewing the Orioles’ Offseason | The Warehouse Podcast
Some auditory entertainment that is actually outdated already because the Orioles went right to cutting folks. Still some good stuff in here, although I am a tad biased.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Dariel Álvarez is turning 33. The former outfielder played in 14 games with the Orioles between 2015 and 2016.
  • Kris Benson celebrates his 47th birthday. The right-handed pitcher spent just the 2006 season in Baltimore, when he had a 4.46 ERA over 183 innings.
  • Deivi Cruz is 49 years old. A major league infielder for nine seasons, Cruz was the Orioles’ everyday shortstop during the 2003 season, posting a 69 OPS+ over 152 games.
  • Leo Hernàndez is 62. He spent parts of three season in Baltimore: 1982-83 and ‘85. Over 78 total games, the infielder was worth -1.4bWAR.
  • The late Bob Hale (d. 2012) was born on this day in 1933. His seven-season MLB career began with a five-year stint in Baltimore from 1955 through 1959.

This weekend in O’s history

1969 - Mike Cuellar ties in the AL Cy Young voting with Tigers hurler Denny McLain.

1989 - Gregg Olson wins AL Rookie of the Year, becoming the first reliever to receive the honor. He beats out Tom Gordon and Ken Griffey, Jr.

2011 -Dan Duquette agrees to become the Orioles’ general manager. He had been out of baseball since 2002.