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Thursday Bird Droppings: Buck Showalter gets his interview with the Mets

The former Orioles manager is in the mix for another MLB managerial job. He’s come up short before, but reportedly now has the owner in his corner.

Houston Astros v Baltimore Orioles
Buck Showalter could be back in a dugout soon.
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now three months and 19 days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day 2022. Pitchers and catchers reporting to Sarasota is a mere two months and six days away. These dates continue to assume there’s a resolution to the ownership lockout that has halted the baseball offseason, and that this resolution come soon enough not to disrupt the season calendar. It seems like February 1 might be the deadline to avoid an impact to the 2022 schedule.

I think we all know that even if there wasn’t a lockout, there wouldn’t be a whole lot of O’s news going on right now. We did at least get a shred of it yesterday, as you’ll see in the links with the O’s signing a catcher to a minor league deal. They also picked a pair of players in the minor league Rule 5 draft yesterday: Nolan Hoffman and Cole Uvila.

The Orioles even traded for a third minor league Rule 5 dude later on Wednesday when they shipped some cash considerations to Seattle for righty reliever Tommy Wilson, picked by the M’s away from the Mets organization earlier in the day. Wilson, 25, was originally a 19th round pick by the Mets in 2018 from Cal State Fullerton. In the 2021 season, Wilson pitched in ten games for Double-A Binghamton, striking out 18 batters in 15.1 innings. He posted a 0.978 WHIP. Small sample size, but it’s a nice small sample.

The future of the franchise is not exactly wrapped up in moves like this, but maybe they will pay off. Given how much the Orioles bullpen stunk this season, it can’t hurt to get some more minor league depth at the position in hopes that somebody can be polished into something good.

What passes for big news in this lockout might be former Orioles manager Buck Showalter again in the mix for an open managerial job. Showalter got an interview with the Mets yesterday. Different rumors have suggested that both Mets owner Steve Cohen and newly-signed Mets ace Max Scherzer expressed a preference that Showalter be hired for the job. That doesn’t make it a guarantee, but it’s got to make him a favorite if that’s what is really happening.

It seems like the current situation of the Mets would be fertile ground for the kind of dysfunction that cropped up in the later Showalter/Dan Duquette years. If the owner has intervened to push Showalter ahead of the GM’s pick, that’s a source of drama, and possibly something that would lead to Showalter getting his way with some personnel moves that another manager would not.

In Birdland, we’re plenty familiar with the Showalter benefits, too. I certainly believe that Showalter helped clean house and get the team turned around. The perpetually disappointing Mets, who’ve been above .500 once in the last five seasons, might be able to use some Buck magic. If there’s later a reckoning where some phrase like “I like our guys” leads to liking their guys a little bit past the sell-by date, well, they’d still be better off having had some guys they like.

The Mets are reportedly expected to make their decision next week, so it’ll still be a few days before we find out if Buck is getting another job. He’s been in the reported mix for at least two teams in the last couple of seasons but hasn’t gotten hired yet. Maybe this one will be his time.

Around the blogO’sphere

Orioles sign Nottingham to minor league deal (School of Roch)
One of the only things that can happen during the lockout is a minor league signing. The O’s plucked a former Astros catching farmhand - drafted by Mike Elias in 2013 - on one such deal yesterday.

John Means, potential trade target (Fangraphs)
At FG, Ben Clemens ponders what a team that trades for John Means might to do make him even better. I think it would be even more fun if the Orioles didn’t trade Means and were able to make some improvements.

Camden Yards to test using artificial intelligence for security at some games this season (The Baltimore Sun)
Sometimes it seems like we get all the grim stuff from the imagined future of the past and none of the cool stuff like flying cars or teleportation.

How much of Tanner Scott’s 2021 season was derailed by injury? (Steve Melewski)
My starting assumption about any “This guy was injured and that’s why he sucked” story is that he actually just sucked, but sometimes the injury really makes a difference. One recent example where I was wrong: After the 2020 season, we heard about how Cole Sulser hurt his toe. He looked much better in 2021 with a healed toe.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1965, the Orioles pulled off the franchise-altering trade for future Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, sending three players, including their best ‘65 pitcher Milt Pappas, to Cincinnati in the deal.

In 2008, they traded with the Reds once again, spinning Ramon Hernandez to Cincinnati in order to clear the deck for then-top prospect Matt Wieters. The O’s received three players for Hernandez: Ryan Freel, Justin Turner, and Brandon Waring. Turner has gone on to 32.7 bWAR, but was only any good with his third MLB team starting in 2014.

In 2010, another big trade for the franchise, though the Reds weren’t involved this time. The O’s traded pitchers Brett Jacobson and Jim Hoey to the Twins for two players, including J.J. Hardy. That guy was pretty good here.

There are a number of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2019-21 reliever Hunter Harvey, 2001-03 third baseman Tony Batista, 1996-97 outfielder Tony Tarasco, 1965 five-game pitcher Darold Knowles, and 1959-60 infielder Billy Klaus. Also happy birthday to former Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel, who helmed the team to a 17-34 record in between the end of the Dave Trembley era and the start of the Buck Showalter era. Samuel turns 61 today.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: poet John Milton (1608), actor Kirk Douglas (1916), actress Judi Dench (1934), Green Day drummer Tre Cool (1972), and gold medal gymnast McKayla Maroney (1995).

On this day in history...

In 1872, P.B.S. Pinchback became the governor of Louisiana. Pinchback was the first African-American man to be governor of a state, serving as acting governor for one month and four days.

In 1968, computer engineer Douglas Engelbart delivered a public demonstration of three things that became foundational for the development of computers: A mouse, hypertext links, and a graphical user interface. The demonstration at the Association for Computing Machinery / Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers conference has since gained the nickname of “The Mother of All Demos.”

In 1979, a commission of disease experts certified the eradication of the smallpox virus, which was endorsed by the World Health Organization the following year. It’s thought that 300 million people died of smallpox in the 20th century prior to the success of the eradication effort, mostly in less developed countries.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on December 9. Have a safe Thursday.