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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Wade LeBlanc returns on a minor league deal

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The Orioles have added to their rotation candidates while also finalizing the Alex Cobb deal with the Angels.

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Good morning Birdland,

The Orioles are bringing back a member of their opening rotation from a season ago, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Wade LeBlanc is re-joining the O’s on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. If he makes the team his salary will be $700,000.

LeBlanc’s time with the Orioles in 2021 was less than ideal. His first two starts were strong enough, allowing a total of five earned runs and striking out seven over 11 innings of work. But it fell apart from there as the southpaw pitched to an 11.91 ERA over his final four outings before a stress fracture in his pitching elbow ended his season.

The odds that LeBlanc makes the Orioles roster certainly went up after the Alex Cobb trade was made official. But he will face some stiff competition for a rotation spot from the likes of Bruce Zimmermann, Jorge Lopez, and the two Rule 5 picks, not to mention any other possible veteran options that are added to the mix in the next couple of weeks.

There is a wave of intriguing young pitching prospects that are nearly ready to make their debut in Baltimore. This would include the likes of Michael Baumann, Zac Lowther, and Alex Wells. The presence of LeBlanc and the more fringy members of the pitcher staff should give the Orioles enough of a buffer to allow these young guys to put in some work down on the farm prior to receiving the call to show this summer.

Links & Notes

Orioles Re-Sign Wade LeBlanc To Minor League Contract | MLB Trade Rumors
Recovering from a stress fracture in your pitching elbow seems like a lot to ask of anyone, let alone a 36-year-old. But this is an opportunity that works for both sides. The Orioles need a veteran arm or two, and LeBlanc wants a chance to start.

O’s send Cobb to Angels for prospect Jones | Orioles.com
The deal became official overnight. Alex Cobb is part of the Angels weird pitching rotation, and Jahmai Jones immediately becomes one of the better infield prospects in the Orioles minor league system. Jones may now become the most interesting part of spring training. Will he make the team? If so, at what position will he see the most time?

The rotation after the trade and more on Jahmai Jones | Steve Melewski
The Orioles are asking a lot of John Means, Dean Kremer and Keegan Akin. The three of them don’t exactly have a long track record, and with the departure of Cobb there isn’t much of a security net. But there is no doubt that the club is going to find out what that have in the trio, for better or worse.

Grant Jackson, former Orioles reliever and Pirates’ winning pitcher in Game 7 of 1979 World Series, dies at 78 | The Baltimore Sun
Grant Jackson played 18 years in the big leagues, including 1971 through 1976 with the O’s. He passed away just outside of Pittsburgh due to complications from COVID-19.

Orioles birthday

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Scott Klingenbeck turns 50 today. The right-handed pitcher spent part of two seasons with the Orioles from 1994 through ‘95. He appeared in seven games and allowed 20 earned runs across 38.1 innings.

Happy 64th birthday to Don Welchel. His entire big league career was spent in Baltimore. Between 1982 and ‘83 the righty pitched in 13 games and had a 5.81 ERA.

Longtime outfielder Fred Lynn celebrates his 69th birthday. Lynn was a nine-time all-star by the time he made his way to Baltimore in 1985. He played four seasons with the O’s, totaling a .265/.337/.478 batting line.

Also born on this day were the late Harry Byrd (b. 1925, d. 1985) and Jim Dyck (b. 1922, d. 1999). Byrd was a right-handed pitcher that made his way in 14 games with the 1955 Orioles. Dyck was a utility player that spent 72 games as an Orioles between ‘55 and ‘56.

Orioles history

1900 - There is a tussle for control of Union Park Ball Grounds in Baltimore. The Orioles, who had been contracted from the National League following the 1899 season, did not want to give it up to the team replacing them in town. So, the two sides literally set up shop on the field, one group at third base and the other at first.