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Monday Bird Droppings: Injured Orioles prospects are on the mend in Florida

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Among the Orioles prospects getting work in fall instructs in Florida are newly-healthy Heston Kjerstad and Carter Baumler.

2020 Major League Baseball Draft
Some day we can hope for a more recent picture of Heston Kjerstad in Orioles apparel than this from his draft day.
Photo by MLB Photos via Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now four months and 20 days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day 2022. More immediately, there are 23 days left until the current MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement expires, after which the offseason and who knows what beyond that will grind to a halt due to an expected owner lockout.

In the meantime, routine roster maintenance goes on. If you had already checked out from O’s news for the weekend at lunch on Friday, you might have missed a little surprise: The Orioles put Hunter Harvey on waivers instead of activating him from the 60-day injured list, and he was claimed by the Giants. Several other Orioles, including late-season six start guy Chris Ellis, went unclaimed while being outrighted from the roster. Ellis is now a free agent.

On Sunday, the Orioles announced that their four remaining players on the 60-day IL were reinstated. That quartet is Keegan Akin, Jorge López, Jorge Mateo, and DJ Stewart. With those guys added back on to the roster, the Orioles have 31 players on their 40-man roster. That’s a lot of open spots!

Based on results as Orioles to date, there’s not much reason to miss anyone who is now gone. Harvey will be missed because of his former first round and top 100 prospect pedigree, but injuries simply never let him come close to that potential. If he gets healthy, there may be regrets that the O’s didn’t give him one more chance. It could happen, but it doesn’t feel very likely.

All of this pruning of the roster was in order to make room for the O’s to add their Rule 5 draft-eligible prospects to the roster. That deadline is November 19. There is enough space for the Orioles to add anyone they want. Whether the draft even gets to take place due to the possible post-CBA expiration lockout is another story. If there is a lockout, all MLB roster transaction activity will be frozen.

Elsewhere in the league, yesterday marked the deadline for teams to decide whether to offer their departing free agents a qualifying offer to potentially be in line for draft pick compensation if they sign with a different team. With the Orioles only having Matt Harvey and Fernando Abad as free agents, there wasn’t much drama for them.

League-wide, 14 players were given the QO, which if accepted will set them up with a one-year, $18.4 million contract for 2022. You can find some people in the sphere of Orioles fandom who are really trying to talk themselves into thinking that the Orioles will make a big play for one of these players, Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, on the basis of Mike Elias’s familiarity with Correa from scouting him for the 2012 draft.

I don’t see it happening, but I understand the impulse to find some excitement. Offseasons have been pretty boring for O’s fans since Elias came along. We can hope that will change in the future, maybe even as soon as a year from now. In the meantime, here’s Kelvin Gutierrez hitting a double in the Dominican Winter League:

Around the blogO’sphere

This, that, and the other (School of Roch)
For those scoring at home, this is the second “This, that, and the other” since the start of November and the fourth since the last 2021 Orioles game. In this edition, Roch looks in on the remaining arbitration eligible players, plus other things.

Ellis, Harvey departures surprising Orioles news (Baltimore Baseball)
I’m a bit less surprised than Rich Dubroff is that Ellis, a 29-year-old late August waiver claim, was treated as disposable. Harvey being gone is a surprise, though.

Healthy again, Kjerstad looks toward ‘22 (Orioles.com)
After all that he’s been through in his professional career, I’m really hoping that Heston Kjerstad can find success close to what the Orioles believed he could have when they drafted him in 2020.

Carter Baumler’s rehab from surgery has been moving along well (Steve Melewski)
Baumler is another 2020 pick who’s not really gotten to get his pro career going yet. In his case, it was due to needing Tommy John surgery. Like Kjerstad, he’s staying positive. He told Orioles media that his goal is to be ramped up for a normal throwing program in spring training next year.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1966, Frank Robinson was the unanimous choice for the American League MVP award. In winning, he became the first player to win an MVP award in both leagues.

Also today in 1991, Cal Ripken Jr. won his second MVP award of his career. Cal collected 15 first place votes for his 11.5 WAR season, fending off second place Cecil Fielder (3.8 WAR) who notched nine first place votes. Voting standards being what they used to be, we should count ourselves lucky they didn’t just blindly put Fielder ahead since he had 133 RBI to Cal’s 119.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2000 two-gamer Carlos Casimiro, 1994 outfielder and father of a later Oriole Dwight Smith, and 1955 outfielder Wally Westlake.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: comet prognosticator Edmund Halley (1656), board game pioneer Milton Bradley (1836), Dracula creator Bram Stoker (1847), and author Kazuo Ishiguro (1954).

On this day in history...

In 1602, the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library opened to the public for the first time. Still in existence today, the library has a collection of over 12 million items.

In 1889, Montana was admitted to the United States, making at that time the 41st state of the union.

In 1923, two thousand Nazis led by Adolf Hitler attempted to seize control of the German government in the Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler served nine months of a five year sentence for treason.

In 1950, during the Korean War, USAF Lieutenant Russell J. Brown, no known relation to this author, shot down a pair of North Korean MiG fighters. Brown’s success was noteworthy as it took place during the first ever dogfight to take place between jet aircraft.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on November 8. Have a safe Monday.