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Monday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles are still making moves

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The Orioles are closing in on a new third baseman, Bruce Zimmermann continues to impress, and more in today’s Bird Droppings.

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Happy Monday, Camden Chatters! Another weekend is over and we’re even closer to Opening Day. In just 17 days the Orioles will take the field at Fenway Park to begin their 2021 season against the Boston Red Sox. One week later, they’ll come home for their first game of the year in front of just about 11,000 fans.

The biggest O’s news over the weekend came out last night when the news broke that the Orioles would be signing third baseman Maikel Franco to a contract. The news was originally broken by Jon Heyman but has since been confirmed others, including MLB.com beat writer Joe Trezza.

Mark Brown has the details and analysis in the link above, but this move remains a head scratcher for me. Is Franco an upgrade over Rio Ruiz? It’s probable, at the plate especially, but does that really mean anything for the Orioles? You’ll hear the argument that if he plays well he could be traded, but that seems like a longshot at best.

So while I don’t really get this move, there is also the fact that the Orioles have been absolutely abysmal at the plate so far this spring. Spring numbers don’t matter, but you also don’t really want to watch everyone be terrible. If Franco can raise the level of the offense and make the team just a bit more watchable this season, well there is something to be said for that.

Links

O's made offer to Franco, Kremer and Zimmermann shine - School of Roch
Perhaps given a confidence boost from Andrea's story last week, Bruce Zimmermann had another very good spring outing yesterday. He pitched four hitless innings with two walks and four strikeouts, and has yet to allow a run this spring.

Halfway through spring training, Orioles bats are troublingly quiet: ‘We’ve got to get better’ - Baltimore Sun
Things are not going well for the Orioles' offense this spring. Maybe they're just saving it all for the real season?

Sunday Notes: Brendan McKay Could Swing It. Brady Singer Can’t. | FanGraphs Baseball
David Laurila’s Sunday notes includes tidbits from the Orioles’ third base coach, Kevin Cash’s thoughts on Nick Markakis, and some Orioles-themed trivia.

Birthdays and History

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have three Orioles birthday buddies. Maryland native and Hall of Famer Harold Baines turns 62 years old today. Baines appeared in seven different seasons with the Orioles in three different stints with the team, putting up a hitting line of .301/.379/.502 in 666 games.

It’s also the birthday of Mike Pagliarulo (61), whose 11-year MLB career included 33 games with the Orioles in 1993, and Freddie Bynum (41), part time infielder during the dark years of 2007-2008.

Nothing much in the way of Orioles history today, but here is one fun baseball tidbit from Today in Baseball History: In 1945, Bert Shepard, a one-legged veteran of the war, tries out as a pitcher for the Senators (and subsequently appears in a league game). The symbol of wartime baseball, outfielder Pete Gray of the Browns, will field and bat with only one arm.