There are now three months and 15 days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day 2022. It’s a mere two months and two days for pitchers and catchers to report to Sarasota to begin spring training. These dates continue to assume that the ongoing lockout by MLB owners does not disrupt the 2022 calendar.
There are probably six weeks left to have the lockout end before there are any delays to the season or reduction in the number of games. Perhaps a more urgent deadline than “the CBA expires in the middle of the offseason” will spur some movement towards a new deal next month.
With MLB rosters and transactions frozen due to the lockout, the most interesting Orioles-ish story out there remains whether or not former O’s manager Buck Showalter will become the next manager of the Mets. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman and Ken Davidoff reported on Sunday that Showalter is one of the finalists to emerge from a group of six who interviewed last week, along with Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quartaro.
Previous rounds of rumors have suggested that Showalter might be the favorite choice of Mets owner Steve Cohen, and that he also counts among his boosters recently signed Mets ace Max Scherzer. If those are accurate, it’s hard to imagine Showalter’s not the favorite to get the job. Things can always get weird, but if they don’t, Showalter managing again will probably regularly dredge up feelings both good and bad about his tenure here.
I don’t think anyone other than Buck could have come in when he did, mid-2010, and help have the team turned around for the surprise 2012 season. He presided over three postseason appearances in five seasons, which is a greater number of postseasons for the Orioles than every other year of my life combined.
Then there was the bad taste of the still-inexplicable decision to have Ubaldo Jimenez pitch before Zack Britton in the 2016 wild card game, and the whole lot of regular bad things that come along with having a sub-.500 team in subsequent seasons. It’s sad to look at the record book and see that Buck was only 669-684 as the O’s skipper. Widespread stories of his greater-than-typical front office influence and the attendant dysfunction from that do suggest he wasn’t just some innocent bystander as the franchise collapsed in 2018.
Maybe Buck is just the right guy to get the underachieving Mets molded into shape. They’ve been above .500 for the season just once since 2017. They’ve got a roster that’s been fortified with a bunch of free agents, including Scherzer, that their billionaire owner went out and signed after another free agent hurt his feelings by signing with another team. This might be a more immediately interesting storyline for Orioles fans than anything on the actual Orioles until Adley Rutschman’s debut.
Around the blogO’sphere
Even after injury-marred season Vavra ascends to 40-man (Steve Melewski)
Melewski takes a look at O’s infield prospect Terrin Vavra, who got onto the 40-man roster even while only getting to play 48 games for Double-A Bowie this season.
In minor league Rule 5 draft, Orioles holistic pitching philosophy remains consistent in pursuit of weapons (The Baltimore Sun)
Jon Meoli highlights how the O’s recent minor league Rule 5 selections show how they’re looking for pitch traits that have the potential to play well in MLB. Whether collecting a quantity of these guys ever turns into quality is one of the ongoing questions for the rebuild.
Leftovers for breakfast (School of Roch)
The Orioles swept up five late-signing international amateur pitching prospects late last week. Probably none of them will ever matter, but again here the Orioles are collecting quantity in a way they never did before. It’s something, even if it’s not something exciting.
What we have learned about these 10 players in the Dominican Winter League (The Athletic)
Kelvin Gutierrez has batted .417/.493/.567 in 18 games for the Gigantes del Cibao in the DWL. This fact probably has little bearing on whether Gutierrez can eventually find MLB success, but good for him anyway. He OPSed 1.096 in 17 games for the same team last winter. Two recent ex-Orioles feature in this outlook as well.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2020 three-game pitcher Carson Fulmer, 1956-59 pitcher Billy Loes, and 1955 reserve infielder Hank Majeski.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Siemens founder Werner von Siemens (1816), decorated World War I soldier Alvin C. York (1887), actor Dick Van Dyke (1925), actor Jamie Foxx (1967), singer-songwriter Amy Lee (1981), and singer-songwriter Taylor Swift (1989).
On this day in history...
In 1939, three British cruisers engaged the German “pocket battleship” Admiral Graf Spee off the coast of Uruguay. The Battle of the River Plate was World War II’s first naval battle. Graf Spee was forced into a neutral port for repairs, and its captain, believing the British had summoned reinforcements, ordered the ship scuttled and then committed suicide.
In 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt began the third and final moonwalk of their mission. 49 years later, they remain the most recent humans to set foot on the moon.
In 1974, the North Vietnamese launched what would prove to be their final offensive of the Vietnam War, which ended with the capitulation of South Vietnam about four and a half months later.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on December 13. Have a safe Monday.