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Thursday Bird Droppings: The Orioles offseason is under way, without Jordan Lyles

The path is open for the Orioles to improve the starting rotation. Will they spend on the right guys to do it?

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Detroit Tigers v Baltimore Orioles
Mike Elias, thinking about the $10 million he just freed up to sign a better starting pitcher (we hope).
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

Four months and 20 days remain until Orioles Opening Day 2023.

The offseason officially got under way for the Orioles yesterday with their decision to decline the 2023 contract option for Jordan Lyles. That was the first question for the team to answer and now we can all move forward from there. Mike Elias and company did not think Lyles was worth bringing back at $11 million, so they paid him a $1 million buyout to make him a free agent.

Having answered that question, another one pops up. What’s next for the starting rotation instead of Lyles? I think the biggest thing in favor of the O’s not picking up the option is that they can take that $10 million they aren’t now on the hook to pay Lyles, put even more money on top of that, and get a better pitcher.

How much better depends on how high they want to aim. Would the Orioles dare to venture into the waters of players who are about to receive a qualifying offer? Today at 2pm is the deadline for teams to offer those, which, if accepted by November 20, set a player up for a $19.6 million salary for next year. If declined, the player becomes a free agent but his signing team gives up a draft pick and the team that loses him gains a pick.

Under the current rules, signing a QO player would lead the O’s to lose their third-highest draft pick, which for 2023 would be the Competitive Balance Round B pick, probably in the range of #70 or so. That’s not something to be cast aside lightly, but it’s not something to be preciously held either. There’s even less reason to clutch the pick since the Orioles are in line for a compensation pick at #82 for failing to sign third rounder Nolan McLean this year.

While the big decisions are being made, routine business proceeds as well. Across the league, teams are trimming their 40-man rosters ahead of Tuesday’s deadline to protect eligible minor leaguers from the Rule 5 draft. That means a flood of players on waivers to potentially claim. They nabbed one yesterday: Outfielder Daz Cameron, claimed from the Tigers.

Cameron, the son of former MLBer Mike, received an overslot bonus of $4 million in 2015, one pick after the O’s drafted Ryan Mountcastle. The Orioles also have the next pick after Cameron, Tyler Nevin, kicking around, for now.

Who was running Houston’s draft operation in 2015? Mike Elias! He does like giving one last chance to some of his guys. We’ve seen this with Rio Ruiz and Thomas Eshelman, among others. The 25-year-old has a .597 OPS across parts of three seasons and is out of minor league options.

I think that last bit means he won’t be long for the 40-man roster. Cameron makes the second outfielder, along with Jake Cave, who has been claimed by the O’s since the end of the regular season. There are those who have talked themselves into thinking the acquisition of outfielders is in case of a trade of Austin Hays or Anthony Santander. I just don’t see it, though I’ve been wrong before.

Around the blogO’sphere

Connolly: Orioles, after Jordan Lyles buyout, must add two quality starting pitchers (The Athletic)
Hours after writing that the Orioles should pick up the Lyles option, Connolly pivoted to saying they need to add two quality starting pitchers. He’s not wrong about this second one.

Elias’s free agent strategy is unknown for Orioles (Baltimore Baseball)
Rich Dubroff makes a point that I think is worth keeping in mind as we go through the offseason: We don’t know what Mike Elias will do when he wants to actually sign good players because we haven’t seen him do it yet.

Jim Callis: “I will be absolutely shocked if Jackson Holliday is not a superstar” (Steve Melewski)
Hell yeah, man. Callis predicts that Holliday could potentially even be MLB ready in 2024 - in line with Holliday’s own post-draft goal of when he could make it to MLB.

Hearing postponed in Angelos case, but arguments continue amid changes in its large cast of lawyers (The Baltimore Sun)
Just what we need: Another seemingly-endless Orioles-connected lawsuit whose outcome could have a serious negative impact on the future of the team!

And here’s a tweet-length minor tidbit of 2023 Orioles-related news:

I’m in favor of more games that end before 10pm.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Out of all of the players to ever play for the Orioles, not a single one was born on November 10.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther (1483), aircraft designer Andrei Tupolev (1888), lyricist Tim Rice (1944), rapper Warren G (1970), actress Brittany Murphy (1977), and country artist Miranda Lambert (1983).

On this day in history...

In 1775, an act of the Continental Congress established the Continental Marines, a force from which today’s United States Marine Corps traces its lineage. The USMC recognizes today as its birthday, though the force’s continuous existence dates to 1793.

In 1898, white supremacists overthrew the elected government of Wilmington, North Carolina in an insurrection that killed at least 60 and as many as 300 Black people. This is US history’s only instance of a municipal government toppled by a coup.

In 1969, the first episode of Sesame Street was broadcast on American television by the network we know today as PBS.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on November 10. Have a safe Thursday.