Good morning, Birdland!
It has been interesting to watch the Phillies and Padres battle it out in this year’s NLCS, and it acts as a reminder that the Orioles are getting closer to playing in games like this than what seemed possible a few months ago.
Neither of the NLCS contenders won 90 games during the regular season. The Padres won 89 and finished 22 games back of the Dodgers in the NL West. The Phillies won 87, 14 games back of the Braves and Mets in the NL East, and squeaked into the playoffs.
The dynamics of the NL and AL are slightly different, but I guess the point I’m making is that there is truth to the cliché that your team just has to get into the dance. After that, anything can happen.
Theoretically, that means the Orioles only have to improve by four wins (give or take), and that could be enough for them to punch a ticket all the way to the World Series. Of course, that is easier said than done, and it comes with the caveat that not every player from 2022 will return in 2023 or be as good as they were this past season.
But even still, that just feels so attainable, doesn’t it? Perhaps it is because the areas of improvement are so plain, and the team is set up to increase payroll dramatically. Rarely is the path forward so clear for a team that finished middle of the pack. Of course, it doesn’t guarantee anything, but you don’t have to do any mental gymnastics to see what sort of moves the Orioles have to make from here.
There is no need to reiterate those here, and there are significant differences between theorizing and actualizing. But that’s what this time of year is about for also-rans. The dreaming won’t last forever, so enjoy it now and hope that the Orioles do even better than your wildest imagination.
Offseason Outlook: Baltimore Orioles | MLB Trade Rumors
A nice little roundup of the O’s offseason picture, along with a link to a chat the writer did on Friday afternoon. Beware, however, that there is a mention of re-signing Jesús Aguilar...for some unclear reason.
Check out five O’s prospects on the rise | MLB.com
It’s always fun to read up on some of the less-heralded youngsters. Darell Hernaiz, in particular, seemed to turn heads. Playing at three levels in a single season shows that the Orioles have him on the fast track. Unless he is traded, he will be back at Bowie to start 2023 as a 21-year-old. The infield picture is getting full near Baltimore.
Is Urías a regular in 2023? | Roch Kubatko
It is a difficult conversation. Ramón Urías has a great glove at third base, but his bat might not be good enough for the position, whereas he would be a solid offensive threat for second base, but his defense is lacking there. Where does that leave him? I suppose that depends on what the Orioles want from their bench. Personally, I like him as utility option that gets in the starting lineup three times a week at various positions on the infield.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- Darren O’Day turns 40 today. The submarine pitcher spent seven seasons with the Orioles as a key member of the team’s bullpen from 2012 through 2018. Over 391 total appearances, O’Day had a 2.40 ERA. He spent 2022 in the Braves bullpen.
- Eli Whiteside is 43 years old. Drafted in the sixth round in 2001, the catcher would only play in nine games with the 2005 O’s before having a good run with the Giants, serving mostly as Buster Posey’s backup from 2009 through 2012.
- Héctor Carrasco celebrates his 53rd. He is best remembered in Orioles history as the Twins pitcher that gave up Cal Ripken Jr.’s 3,000th hit. But he also played for the O’s in 2003, appearing in 40 games out of the ‘pen.
- Keith Osik is 54. His Orioles career spanned 11 games behind the plate in 2004.
- Jamie Quirk turns 68. The 18-year MLB veteran played for three teams in 1989, including a 25-game stint with the Birds.
This day in O’s history
According to Baseball Reference, this has been a light day in Orioles history, so here some things that happened outside of Birdland:
1746 - The College of New Jersey receives its charter. In 1896 it was renamed Princeton University.
1797 - The first parachute jump is recorded. André-Jacques Garnerin jumps from 3,300 feet above Paris, France.
1879 - Thomas Edison tests the first practical incandescent light bulb, which stays lit for 13.5 hours.