Good morning, Birdland!
Let’s just admit it. There isn’t much Orioles-specific news to discuss. With major league player movement off limits, we are left to think about the deals already agreed to, dream about the minor leaguers that may debut in the show this year, and to hope a new CBA is agreed to sometime soon.
But there was some Orioles-adjacent news this week, and it includes a couple of familiar faces.
Despite spending a boatload on players at the end of November, the New York Mets do not currently have a manager. Since 2019, three different people have been skipper of the Mets, including Carlos Beltran, who never even got to manage a game. They are in the market again after firing Luis Rojas in October, and a familiar name has popped up.
Buck Showalter has been included in the interview process. Showalter recently oversaw a renaissance of baseball in Baltimore that included three trips to the postseason for the Orioles, an AL East crown in 2014, and an ALCS appearance. But it ended in poor fashion as the 2018 Orioles slumped to a 47-115 record, which led to the full-scale rebuild that the organization is currently experiencing.
Even still, Showalter clearly knows how to manage a club, and he has had some great successes. One of his former players, Adam Jones, has come out to support his candidacy on Twitter, saying “this would be great.”
Showalter was great in Baltimore. He certainly played a big role in getting the most out of his rosters from 2012 through 2016. Plus, I always appreciated how he handled the 2015 protests in Baltimore and showed an understanding of the people in his team’s city. It would have been awesome to get him a World Series ring.
Of course, that doesn’t mean he is without fault. It has always been hinted that the Chris Davis re-signing was mostly his preference, not Dan Duquette’s. And ownership seemed to take his side on plenty of other organizational decisions that didn’t always work out. We see where that ended up. And let’s not even talk about the decision to go with Ubaldo Jiménez over Zack Britton in the 2016 AL Wild Card game.
But if he is tasked with just being the manager, then this could be really fun. There is certainly some interesting talent to work with.
What the Orioles’ moves before the lockout signal about the team’s direction in 2022 and beyond | The Baltimore Sun
I appreciate the small moves that the Orioles made prior to the lockout. I also believe that once the lockout is over they are going to attempt to pull off a trade or two that may make fans less happy (like trading away Trey Mancini). But at least it has all been pretty consistent with the plan to this point. They needed infield depth, and they needed someone to eat innings. They have achieved those two things.
Another look at Lyles, plus other notes | School of Roch
Roch notes that the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft will still take place this month. So, get hyped for the Orioles to add the next Ignacio Feliz...or possibly lose the current Ignacio Feliz.
M.L.B.’s Lockout: What Is It? How Does It Work? What’s Next? | The New York Times
Another explainer on the lockout and some of the FAQs. An important reminder is that a “lockout” is something the owners have elected to do. They did not have to, but they are doing it as a negotiating tactic.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- Gene Harris turns 57 this weekend. The pitcher spent seven seasons in the bigs, but only three games with the 1995 Orioles.
- Stan Jefferson turns 59. He appeared in 45 games as an outfielder between 1989 and 1990 for the Orioles.
- Lee Smith is 64. His Hall-of-Fame career included a pitstop in Baltimore, where he led the league with 33 saves in 1994.
- Bill Swaggerty celebrates his 65th. He had a swingman type role with the Orioles from 1983 through 1986, tossing 81.1 innings over 32 total appearances.
- Gary Roenicke is 67 years old. The former first-round pick was an Oriole for eight years from 1978 through 1985, contributing a 122 OPS+ in that time.
- John Papa is 81. Of no relation to the pizza chain, Papa played in three games for the O’s between 1961 and ‘62.
This weekend in O’s history
1963 - Cleveland and Baltimore pull off a trade. The O’s land outfielder Willie Kirkland in exchange for outfielder Al Smith and $25,000.
1968 - Mike Cuellar becomes an Oriole. He comes to the club via trade along with infielders Elijah Johnson and Enzo Hernandez. The O’s surrender outfielders Curt Blefary and John Mason in the deal.
1973 - The O’s add pitcher Ross Grimsley from the Reds in a swap that sends Merv Rettenmund and Junior Kennedy to Cincinnati.
1974 - Another good trade for the O’s, they add Ken Singleton and Mike Torrez from the Expos in exchange for Dave McNally, Rich Coggins, and Bill Kirkpatrick.
1988 - Eddie Murray’s first stint with the Orioles comes to an end as he is dealt to the Dodgers for pitcher Ken Howell and Brian Holton plus infielder Juan Bell.
1998 - First baseman Will Clark signs a two-year contract with the Orioles.