For about as long as I can remember, one Christmas gift I have been able to count on receiving from an older relative is an Orioles calendar for the coming year. Ever since the Orioles have entered the current rebuilding era, there’s been a little game to play about each year’s calendar. Which Orioles will still be in the organization when their month rolls around? Let’s look at the 2022 choices.
This 2022 Orioles calendar is published by a company called The Lang Companies Inc. The calendar was sold on the official MLB team shop until supplies ran out in the early days of the year. I mention this only to have it in mind for what follows: This is not some knock-off non-brand thing.
One of my first adult recollections of this type of calendar stands out from when I received a 2008 Orioles calendar at Christmas in 2007. One player featured in that 2008 calendar was Rodrigo Lopez, who was traded away from the Orioles in January 2007. I feel that there could have been more quality control on that calendar.
I’m willing to accept some hiccups, especially when the team is in the place it is in. The few good players could be traded, the many bad ones could be released or sent to the minors when their month rolls around.
The fine print on the back of the calendar says this:
Please note: All featured players are under contract at time of printing.
January - Trey Mancini
After his 2020 cancer treatment and successful return to the baseball diamond in 2021, Mancini is probably the most nationally recognizable Oriole right now, for whatever that is worth. He may yet be traded as this year rolls along, but as long as the lockout is going on, it sure won’t be happening in January.
Will he still be here? Yes!
February - Rio Ruiz
Ruiz is pictured with that bad mullet he was sporting and everything. You may recall that Ruiz did not make it to the end of the season on the Orioles roster, or even to the All-Star break. He was designated for assignment and eventually claimed on waivers by the Rockies on May 24, 2021. If this calendar had already been printed then, well... no wonder there are some whoppers.
Will he still be here? Already long gone.
March - Dean Kremer
This time last year, I was excited to see Kremer. His handful of 2020 starts were good enough to build on. He had just one quality start in 13 tries and was banished to the minors after a late June outing where he walked five batters in 0.1 inning, returning only for a doubleheader spot start in September.
Will he still be here? Almost certainly in the organization, but maybe not the Opening Day MLB roster. If Opening Day even happens on March 31 as scheduled.
April - Austin Hays
I’ve been waiting for several seasons for Hays to have a great month beyond the month of Septmeber. It hasn’t happened yet. It is hard to say with certainty that he will be on the next good Orioles team until he manages to do that. In the meantime, I’d sure rather see him than DJ Stewart.
Will he still be here? Yes, but no guarantee he won’t be on the injured list again.
May - Chance Sisco
Come on, calendar makers. Really? Sisco’s inclusion is less egregious than Ruiz’s, in that Sisco’s departure via the waiver wire was more than a month later on June 25, 2021. He was gone after a .431 OPS through 23 games. Still, I feel it is not too much to ask that a team calendar not have a player who was removed from the roster more than six months prior to when this 2022 calendar took effect.
Will he still be here? Already gone. That’s two.
June - Hunter Harvey
This makes two months in a row of players gone before 2022 even arrived. This one is a bit more understandable. I’m still surprised the Orioles so casually tried to pass Harvey through waivers in early November. They almost succeeded. He was claimed by the Giants, whose waiver priority was dead last. Be that as it may...
Will he still be here? He gone. That’s a 50% failure rate for the first six months before the year even began!
July - Tanner Scott
If Scott had shown better last year, he might have already been traded before this year even began, but that’s not what happened. Instead, O’s fans must hope that Scott looks more like he did in 2020 (1.065 WHIP) than 2021 (1.574 WHIP).
Will he still be here? When this calendar is turned to July, yes. If he’s pitching better, he may not make it to the end of his month.
August - Keegan Akin
Akin is a lot like Kremer in that I was more excited about him a year ago. His 2020 outings were also good enough to build on. Then last year, he was really bad. Maybe he can hang his hat on his FIP (5.10) being way less bad than his ERA (6.63).
Will he still be here? It’s not guaranteed that Mike Elias will keep around struggling Dan Duquette-era projects forever. He’s trimmed some already and more, including Akin, figure to hit the “make or break” point this year. We’ll see if better options than Akin present themselves by August.
September - Anthony Santander
This might be our toughest choice yet. With as many corner outfield prospects as there are in the system, and with Santander being the MLB outfielder who is farthest along in service time as a first-year arbitration eligible player, he’s easy trade bait if he can both play well and stay healthy in the first four months of the season.
Will he still be here? Santander’s career to date has not seen him play well and stay healthy for four straight months. I think he’s a more likely non-tender candidate next offseason than a 2022 season trade candidate. That’s a yes for September from me, but like Hays, the injured list is always a possibility.
October - Cedric Mullins
There’s a certain kind of baseball commentator who seems to take it upon themselves to both take a dump on the Orioles for being a rebuilding team as well as stoke speculation that any good non-rookie is on the trading block at all times. Mullins’s 2021 breakout, to this type of person, is pre-evidence of how the O’s are a stain upon baseball because they’re obviously going to trade him. I think those people are wrong about a variety of things.
Will he still be here? Only a real human tragedy (as opposed to hyperbolic sports tragedy) would make the answer to this question be a no.
November - Ryan Mountcastle
Mountcastle hit 33 home runs in his rookie season last year. Not even the group of people I mentioned for Mullins in October would consider Mountcastle as trade bait. He’s a 1B/DH for a while. An eventually better Orioles team might re-evaluate if they want more OBP out of that kind of player, but we’re sure not there yet and we won’t be by November.
Will he still be here? This might be the single safest ‘yes’ on any post-April month of the calendar.
December - John Means
You know what was cool? When Means threw the first Orioles solo no-hitter since 1969 last year. I hope the O’s show enough progress in 2022 that they don’t think about trading Means at any point. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where the team sucks again, and where the right contender with the right stacked farm system comes along and makes Elias an offer he can’t refuse. It doesn’t seem likely to me, but...
Will he be here? Don’t bet your life on it, because you never know. Probably a fairly safe yes overall, though.
The inclusion of Ruiz and Sisco on this calendar is still so weird to me. Then again, it’s not like there were slam dunk A-listers who were left off the calendar. In retrospect, they should have chosen Ramon Urias and Cole Sulser instead. Then again, Urias had only played in 29 games before July 1, so even that wasn’t a guarantee.
Perhaps the biggest thing that Orioles fans can root for to happen in 2022 is that Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez debut in time to make it onto the 2023 Orioles calendar.
With all that said, how many of the monthly featured Orioles do you think will be on the Orioles MLB roster when their 2022 month rolls around? The calendar started the year with 75% being its best possible score. Your guess is as good as mine. My guess is that Keegan Akin will be the only additional player to be off the roster when his month rolls around.