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Friday Bird Droppings: Wondering when the prospect promotions will come

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While some fringe O’s prospects have been moved up lately, Adley Rutschman and Jahmai Jones remain stuck at their current levels.

2021 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

I’m going to admit something. Every time an e-mail from Orioles PR with the subject line “Orioles Roster Move” pops up in my inbox, I can’t help but get intrigued. Is something big happening? Is someone exciting joining the team?

I should really know better by now. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it’s a roster move that barely matters, like the O’s optioning out some no-name reliever and calling up a different no-name reliever. Flotsam in, jetsam out; that’s how most Orioles transactions work. Yesterday, I clicked on one such e-mail merely to find that the Orioles optioned Kelvin Gutierrez, presumably so they can activate Maikel Franco from the injured list today. Yay. How exciting.

One of these days, I would love to open the e-mail to discover an Orioles roster move that actually justifies my excitement. How about “Orioles recalled 2B Jahmai Jones from Triple-A Norfolk”? It doesn’t seem like too much to ask. The guy is OPSing .868, is major league ready, and plays a position that’s currently a black hole on the big league club.

Reportedly, the Orioles want to keep Jones in Norfolk so he can hone his defense. If they say so. They’ve watched a lot more of him than I have, and presumably they have access to much more robust minor league defensive metrics than the rest of us, who can only look at basic stats like errors (of which Jones has seven in 44 games). I do wonder how awful his defense has to be to justify holding him down while Orioles second basemen have put up an unbelievable .197/.258/.288 batting line, all MLB-worsts for the position — and oh by the way, just lost a game on Wednesday on a defensive miscue by second baseman Pat Valaika. It’s not a high bar to clear.

And while we’re discussing prospects who are inexplicably being held at their current levels, how about Adley Rutschman, the newly minted best prospect in baseball by The Athletic’s Keith Law? Rutschman, who had a two-homer performance Wednesday, is batting .272 with an .895 OPS, 14 homers, and 44 RBIs, with more walks (47) than strikeouts (46). He’s pretty clearly mastered the level, and that’s been the case for some time now. Yet even as the O’s continue to promote other minor leaguers — including Rutschman’s former Bowie teammate Robert Neustrom, who was bumped up to Norfolk this week — Adley remains with the Baysox.

As Law writes, “There’s no real reason to keep him at that level at this point,” adding that he’d call up Rutschman to the majors as soon as September. At this rate, it’s not clear whether Rutschman will even be in Triple-A by September, though MASN’s Roch Kubatko reported that the front office’s internal conversations about sending Rutschman to Norfolk “are gaining steam since the Futures Game.” Only since then?

I guess patience is a virtue. Lord knows Orioles fans have had their patience stretched to the utmost limit, and probably will continue to for the foreseeable future. Someday, barring disaster, Adley Rutschman will arrive in the majors. So will Jahmai Jones. But watching this current version of the Orioles team doesn’t make it easy to wait.

Links

Orioles option Gutiérrez to Triple-A Norfolk - School of Roch
More info on the Orioles' blockbuster transaction.

Assessing the Orioles’ trade chips as deadline nears - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff runs down the club’s trade candidates. Spoiler alert: it’s probably going to be a quiet deadline for the Orioles.

Orioles Prospect Reed Trimble: Journey To Hearing Name Called In MLB Draft ‘A Blessing’ - PressBoxOnline.com
The Orioles’ recently drafted outfielder has a great attitude and some strong college stats, and as baseball names go, it’s hard to top “Reed Trimble.”

Birdland loses a great O's fan - Steve Melewski
Melewski offers a touching tribute to his college friend and Orioles fanatic Brice Freeman, who passed away earlier this year. Rest in peace, Brice.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Nobody with a July 23 birthday has ever played a regular season game with the Orioles. But today is the 29th birthday of right-hander Ashton Goudeau, who spent part of spring training this year with the O’s before being claimed by the Giants (and about whom I made several “waiting for Goudeau” jokes). Also born on this day was outfielder Johnny Groth, who came over to the Orioles with the St. Louis Browns when the franchise changed cities in 1954, but was traded before the season began. Mr. Groth turns 95 years young today, so a very happy birthday to him.

On this day in 1971, the Orioles walked off the Angels, 4-3, on Elrod Hendricks’ RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. That clutch hit allowed starter Pat Dobson to win his 10th straight start, a streak that would ultimately stretch to 12. He finished the season with 20 victories, one of four 20-game winners on the Birds’ famous 1971 staff.

On this date in 1998, backup catcher Lenny Webster played hero with a four-hit, six-RBI game, including a walkoff two-run homer in the ninth to beat the Athletics, 9-7.

And on this day in 2013, the Orioles acquired embattled reliever Francisco Rodriguez from the Brewers for prospect Nick Delmonico. Rodriguez looked little like the hotshot “K-Rod” of old, compiling a mediocre 4.50 ERA in 23 games for the Birds, but returned to the Brewers the following year and posted back-to-back All-Star campaigns. It was a forgettable trade for the Orioles, though Delmonico didn’t amount to much, either, later appearing in about a season’s worth of games for the White Sox with middling production.