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Saturday Bird Droppings: Orioles expected to be players in free agency

Rule changes, Bannon DFA’d, the offseason so far, and where the Orioles fit.

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

Free agency is underway, but the only deals to materialize so far are fairly low key. Clayton Kershaw is headed back to the Dodgers. The Braves signed reliever Nick Anderson. And the Padres are reuniting with bullpen arm Robert Suarez. So far, the Orioles (along with most other teams) have yet to pull the trigger on a big league deal.

The expectation is for that to change sometime this winter, and for the first time in quite a while the Orioles could be players close to the top of the market.

MLB Trade Rumors published their annual list of predictions for the landing spots of the top 50 free agents earlier this week. The O’s are mentioned as part of the conversation for the likes of Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, and Carlos Rodon, although they are predicted to fall short for each. Even still, it represents quite a shift in ambition from a year ago, when that very same list didn’t connect the O’s to a single Top 50 name.

While predictions like these are just that, they do give an idea of where in the market the Orioles may be expected to make the most noise. MLBTR clearly expects them to sign a mid-tier pitcher with various writers connecting them to Jameson Taillon, Taijuan Walker, and Sean Manaea. That makes sense. The Orioles will need to had a veteran mid-rotation piece that represents a replacement and a step up from Jordan Lyles, but the fanbase will be hoping they do even more.

It’s important to remember that free agency is just a supplement to the internal talent and any trades the team may make. As much as I want to the Orioles to sign a big name like Correa or Trea Turner, I remain somewhat confident that their biggest splash(es) will come via trade.

And while we should not count on all of the team’s compelling prospects to turn into worthwhile big leaguers, it feels quite possible that solutions at second base and corner outfield could be solved by youngsters like Joey Ortiz and Colton Cowser even better than any potential influx of external options.


How will ‘23 rule changes affect the Orioles? |
Some nice quick quotes from Mike Elias on the handful of rule changes coming in 2023. In general, he seems optimistic, particularly when it comes to the schedule changes. Fewer games against the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Rays in the short term will be helpful!

Braves Designate Rylan Bannon For Assignment | MLB Trade Rumors
Bannon has been out of the Orioles organization since August, when he was claimed by the Dodgers. Only about a week later, the Braves claimed him. And now, it seems he was the odd man out again in a roster crunch. It has not been a good week for a few of the players that the O’s landed in exchange for Manny Machado back in 2018.

As MLB free agency begins, wondering where the Orioles will fit in? | Steve Melewski
Related to the discussion above. The O’s probably won’t be at the very top of spenders this winter. But they will be involved, and perhaps in conversations with plenty of big names. That would be much more fun than the last few winters!

Recapping recent events in Orioles’ offseason | Roch Kubatko
While the O’s have not yet made a splash, they have been making moves. Roch puts together a nice recap!

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Sammy Sosa turns 54. The longtime Chicago Cub made his way to Baltimore in 2005 as part of a trade that sent Jerry Hairston Jr. and Mike Fontenot to the Windy City. He would post a 78 OPS+ in his lone season with the O’s.
  • The late Don Johnson (d. 2015) was born on this day in 1926. His only season with the Orioles came in 1955, when he had a 5.82 ERA over 68 total innings.

This day in O’s history

1980 - Orioles’ pitcher Steve Stone wins the AL Cy Young after leading the junior circuit with 25 wins.

1998 - The Orioles and free agent reliever Mike Timlin agree to a four-year contract.