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Weekend Bird Droppings: Orioles give glimpse at outfield fence changes

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Renderings, the front office speaks, and a prospect update

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

We have renderings, folks! The Orioles gave us a glimpse of what the revamped left field wall at Camden Yards is going to look like whenever the 2022 season gets underway. It’s fairly dramatic, and it’s sure to be a challenge for some of the less defensively-inclined players. Of course, most of the online response has been negative, but that is almost expected for change of any kind, so let’s not sweat it.

The biggest nit being picked is the portion of the wall where it meets the bullpen area and creates just about a right angle. That could be a safety concern for the left fielder, regardless of the warning track or amount of padding provided. If they are running full speed to track down a deep fly ball that corner is going to be an issue.

Others have complained that the change is simply ugly. I’m not sure I agree there. It’s a bit quirky, and it maybe be a pain for some right-handed hitters. But I don’t think it alters the look of Oriole Park in any meaningful way, especially on TV. I would be a bit miffed if I was a home run hungry season ticket holder in one of the 1,000 seats that’s getting tossed as a result of this renovation, but I don’t feel any strong emotion beyond that.

Camden Yards with slightly fewer home runs will be an interesting site to behold. It should mean more doubles and even a few triples in that bullpen corner. That sounds fun and exciting to me, at least until it costs the Orioles a game-tying home run or some other annoying occurrence.

Links

The Orioles are changing the dimensions at Camden Yards. Here are some unproductive attempts at quantifying the impact. | Maximizing Playoff Odds (Jon Meoli)
It’s tough to be specific when discussing how the fences being pushed back in left field will impact things at Camden Yards because, well, we don’t have any facts to go off of. The team put out a rendering, and there is batted ball data that we could line up against those renderings. But nothing is official yet. My gut tells me I will enjoy it when John Means is pitching and Austin Hays is playing left field. It won’t be as fun when the O’s are at the plate.

Like everything else in rebuild, Orioles’ changes to Camden Yards’ dimensions are about planning for future | The Baltimore Sun
Once again, you have to hand it to the Orioles for having a plan and following through with logical moves to line up with those plans. The Orioles drafting preference seems to be premium hitters while they prefer to “build” pitchers and perhaps even just buy them on the free agent market. Creating an environment more attractive for those potential free agents makes a lot of sense.

Elias and Mejdal on outfield changes at Oriole Park | Steve Melewski
All of the quotes from Mike Elias and Sig Mejdal meeting with the media on Friday. In a nutshell, the team just wanted their park to play more neutral. This is probably not going to make Camden Yards into a pitcher’s haven, but it should knock it down a few pegs on the list of hitter’s favorites.

Conway on Lucas: “He gave us a lot out of the bullpen” | School of Roch
I enjoy reading up on less-heralded prospects. They may not have the sort of ceiling that guys like Grayson Rodriguez possess, but they still play a role in the team’s rebuilding effort. It sounds like Easton Lucas, the player that the Orioles added in exchange for Jonathan Villar, could be a big league bullpen piece in the making.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Mark Trumbo turns 36 this weekend. The slugger had a four-season run in Baltimore from 2016 through 2019, including a standout 2016 season in which he led the league with 47 home runs.
  • Eider Torres celebrates his 39th. The former infielder played in eight career MLB games, all with the 2008 O’s.
  • Jack Cust is 43. The outfielder spent a decade in the bigs, including parts of two seasons in Baltimore from 2003 through ‘04. His tenure with the O’s is best remembered for his trouble on the basepaths in an August game against the Yankees.
  • Delino DeShields turns 53. The former first-round pick of the Expos played for the O’s from 1999 through 2001, accumulating 4.4 bWAR playing mostly second base.
  • Bobby Grich celebrates his 73rd birthday. He had a career worthy of the Hall of Fame, and it began in Baltimore, where he made three all-star teams and won four Gold Gloves between 1970 and 1976. Grich was worth 36 bWAR in those seven seasons in Baltimore alone.

This weekend in O’s history

1999 - The Orioles sign free agent pitcher Heathcliff Slocumb.

2016 - Chris Davis is given the largest contract in Baltimore Orioles history, a whopping $161 million over seven years.