Good morning, Camden Chatters.
We’re nearly two months into the MLB lockout and there is still no imminent accord between the league and the Players’ Association on a new collective bargaining agreement. But if you squint, there are signs of progress.
Yesterday, representatives from the MLBPA — including player rep and former Orioles pitcher Andrew Miller — met with four league officials for about two hours, the first meeting between the two sides since MLB offered a few proposals Jan. 13. According to The Athletic’s Evan Drellich, the players rejected “most if not all” of MLB’s most recent proposals, including a three-team draft lottery and the elimination of arbitration for Super Two players.
There were some developments, however. The MLBPA reportedly dropped its request for players to become eligible for free agency before six years. It also called for less drastic changes than previously requested to the revenue-sharing system, which Drellich writes has been “a hot-button topic for the owners themselves.”
While yesterday’s developments could theoretically begin to draw the sides closer to a deal, there are still some other significant issues to be addressed. ESPN’s Jeff Passan writes that the players “remain steadfast” about raising the minimum annual salary from $570,500 to $775,000 and implementing an eight-team draft lottery. In what could be an encouraging note, the two sides are scheduled to meet again today to continue discussions.
Meanwhile, there’s important baseball news happening tonight regardless of what happens in the labor talks. The National Baseball Hall of Fame will announce its 2022 electees, and it’s going to be a small — and possibly nonexistent — group. My last look at Ryan Thibodaux’s ballot tracker, with less than half the ballots publicly revealed, had David Ortiz garnering 84.6 percent of the vote thus far and Barry Bonds (77.7) and Roger Clemens (76.6) just barely above the 75 percent threshold for election. But Bonds and Clemens will almost surely dip below 75 once the remaining ballots are tallied, as the non-public voters tend to omit suspected PED users. So it appears it’ll be Ortiz or bust for the 2022 class.
In honor of the Hall of Fame announcement, today’s Camden Chat Sporcle quiz has a HOF theme. Can you identify which year the Orioles’ most prominent stars were inducted into the Hall?
Will the next team for Grayson Rodriguez be Norfolk or Baltimore? - Steve Melewski
The answer seems obvious to me, considering how the Mike Elias regime usually handles prospects. But Melewski tries to make a case that there’s at least a chance for Grayson to make the Opening Day big league roster.
Meet Di Zou, the Orioles’ bridge between the past and future of their burgeoning analytics department - Maximizing Playoff Odds
Yes, there really was a stretch of time during the Orioles’ front office turnover that the O’s had literally just one person working in the analytics department. Jon Meoli interviews that sole survivor, Di Zou, about what’s been going on then and now.
Highest-ranked Orioles prospects should make 2022 more palatable - School of Roch
Sounds like a team slogan in the making. “The 2022 Baltimore Orioles: Now Slightly More Palatable!”
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three Orioles were born on this day, including 1963-68 right-hander Wally Bunker, who turns 77. Bunker set an MLB single-season record for wins by a teenager with 19 victories as a 19-year-old in 1964, and he also started Game 3 of the 1966 World Series, which we’ll be retro recapping tomorrow. Hope it goes well for him! (Spoiler: it does.)
Also born on this day were nine-game utility guy Francisco Melendez, who turns 58, and four-game righty Richie Lewis, who would have been 56. Lewis passed away last month.
On this day in 2015, the Blue Jays broke off negotiations with the Orioles over potentially hiring then-GM Dan Duquette, ending a lengthy and somewhat confusing saga. The Jays reportedly wanted to recruit Duquette to be their next team president, but since he was still under contract with Baltimore, the Orioles had no intention of giving him up without acquiring prospects in return. While Duquette ultimately stayed with the Birds, the months-long uncertainty about his job status may have caused him to be less active than usual that offseason, as the defending AL East champion Orioles let Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis, and the aforementioned Andrew Miller leave in free agency without adding any significant replacements.