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Thursday Bird Droppings: Reading the Orioles coaching staff tea leaves

The Orioles announced minor league coaching staffs yesterday. Buck Britton moves up again. Is there another move in his future?

MLB: AUG 27 Orioles at Nationals Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello, friends.

Two months and four days remain until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day. Will it happen on that day? Eh. There’s been a little movement this week in the sense that the sides have actually traded offers and talked, but it doesn’t sound like we’re on a steady path towards a conclusion yet. The ownership lockout of players rolls on, and we’re getting pretty close to the point where major league spring training won’t happen on time, at a minimum.

Even in the midst of the lockout, yesterday brought a little bit of O’s-related news. The team announced minor league coaching staffs for its affiliates on Wednesday. This made official a number of previously-reported promotions for minor league coaches, including last year’s Double-A manager Buck Britton, and his pitching coach Justin Ramsey, getting the bump up to Triple-A Norfolk.

Norfolk is where a lot of action figures to be in 2022, and a lot of the players who will be there are players with whom Britton and Ramsey had a relationship with Bowie in 2021. That includes guys like Adley Rutschman and even Grayson Rodriguez who could start out at Norfolk, as well as players who might show up there like - if everything goes well for them - Jordan Westburg and Gunnar Henderson.

When Mike Elias was hired as the Orioles general manager, Britton was coming off of a season where he’d served as the manager of Low-A Delmarva. Now he’ll be in the manager’s spot one level below MLB.

I think it is completely reasonable to wonder, based on these moves, whether the team views Britton as a future member of the MLB coaching staff or possibly even a future manager. Elias and company are clearly interested in what the 35-year-old Britton has to offer to the development project for the organization.

There’s going to come a time where it’s at the MLB level where the action is happening. Hopefully that time will be as soon as next year. When it gets here, will the team still want Britton along with the young players? The answer to that question should arrive after this coming season, when we see whether the team ends up with any openings on the MLB staff and then whether Britton is plugged into one of those openings. I hope good things happen under his watchful eye for Norfolk this season.

Around the blogO’sphere

Orioles to get rent credit for $3.5 million cost of left field wall project as lease talks continue (The Baltimore Sun)
The nitty-gritty of the story is that the Orioles will get a 20% discount on rent for the next two seasons, and if they extend their lease beyond 2023, they’ll get the same discount for three years beyond that. The state Board of Public Works approved this credit yesterday.

Latest sampling of spring training storylines (School of Roch)
You know it’s getting close to the bottom of the barrel for spring training storylines when “Where does Tyler Nevin get most of his work - on the back fields or in games?” is one of the big topics for discussion. It’s going to take something special from Nevin to really force his way into even the short-term picture.

Norfolk Tides will have a familiar face as their new manager (The Virginian-Pilot)
The Norfolk paper has a local angle on their new manager: He played for the Tides in four different minor league seasons, including spending about half of the 2013 and 2014 seasons there. The O’s drafted Britton in the 35th round back in 2008, two years after having taken his younger brother Zack.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 2015, the Orioles acquired Travis Snider from the Pirates for pitching prospect Stephen Tarpley and a player to be named later, who turned out to be pitching prospect Steven Brault. Snider OPSed .659 in 69 Orioles games before being released; Brault’s six-year MLB career has seen him post a 1.526 WHIP.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2017-18 infielder Tim Beckham, 2004 eight-game catcher Ken Huckaby, and 1979-85 platoon outfielder John Lowenstein. Today is Lowenstein’s 75th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you as well! Your birthday buddies for today include: composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756), novelist Lewis Carroll (1832), American Federation of Labor founder Samuel Gompers (1850), ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov (1948), Super Bowl Champion Ravens kicker Matt Stover (1968), and prolific biathlon medalist Ole Einar Bjørndalen (1974).

On this day in history...

In 98, Trajan became Emperor of Rome. During his 19-year reign, the Roman Empire expanded significantly and reached the largest boundaries it would hold before decline.

In 1606, in England, the trial for treason of Guy Fawkes and the other figures in the Gunpowder Plot got underway. Fawkes and the rest were executed four days later.

In 1967, the three astronauts of Apollo 1, Roger Chaffee, Gus Grissom, and Ed White, were killed as a result of a fire that broke out during a test of their spacecraft on the ground at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

In 1980, six American diplomats escaped from Iran. The “Canadian Caper,” recently dramatized in the Academy Award-winning film Argo, involved the diplomats who’d evaded capture when the Iranian embassy was overrun being given fake Canadian passports that eventually allowed them to pose as a film crew leaving the country. The CIA was involved in the operation, though this was not public knowledge until relevant files were declassified in 1997.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 27. Have a safe Thursday.