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Sunday Bird Droppings: Heston Kjerstad is the Arizona Fall League MVP

While waiting to see if the Orioles sign any free agents, enjoy the news of a prospect’s triumph.

Arizona Fall League Home Run Derby
Heston Kjerstad in action in the AFL Home Run Derby.
Photo by Jill Weisleder/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are four months and 17 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day 2023.

Has your most sought-after free agent signed yet? Probably not! Coming off the board in the early days of free agency have been a handful of pitchers who ended up re-signing with their prior teams. It’s popular with relievers in particular, with Edwin Diaz back with the Mets, Rafael Montero back with the Astros, and Robert Suarez returning to the Padres. I have to admit I had never thought about Suarez before this news. We’ve also got Clayton Kershaw headed back to the Dodgers. Not much shock there.

These surely won’t be the last players who head back to their previous teams. We’re two days away from the deadline to see which of the 14 qualifying offer free agents remove themselves from the market by accepting the one-year, $19.6 million contract for next year. Those who decline it will hit free agency with a mild draft pick penalty attached: For the Orioles, they’d lose their third-highest pick (probably CB round B in the early 70s overall) to sign one of the players. Knowing who accepts the QO will clarify the overall market.

The Dan Duquette era of the Orioles didn’t have a lot of success in signing those players. That’s because they mostly signed guys who weren’t good: Ubaldo Jimenez, Yovani Gallardo, Alex Cobb. Nelson Cruz was the one exception. The draft pick penalty is less severe than it used to be. Hopefully Mike Elias is better at talent evaluation, especially when it comes to free agent starting pitchers when he’s trying to actually win games.

You probably don’t have to worry about missing any big news today. And hey, if you do, you can always check back later and I’ll have written about it.

One fun bit of news out of Arizona from yesterday:

Everyone should be happy about Kjerstad performed in his time in the AFL for the last several weeks. We can all be even happier if he carries some improvement into next year’s minor league action.

Around the blogO’sphere

Digging into the GM meetings and other business on Elias’s plate (School of Roch)
“We’re not going to go from zero miles an hour to 60 miles an hour in one offseason” is a quote that should throw some cold water on anyone who’s really gotten themselves frenzied about what “liftoff” will look like.

How will 2023 rule changes affect the Orioles? (
Mike Elias also had some thoughts about the coming rule changes, which he thinks will be good for base-stealers and good for lefty batters who’ve been hitting into the shift a bunch.

Yusniel Diaz’s departure shows why Orioles should be comfortable trading from prospect stockpile (The Baltimore Sun)
Even guys recognized as top 100 prospects can end up as total busts. The challenge for the Orioles will be figuring out who they’re safe to trade and who they should really keep.

New Orioles offensive strategist Asche: ‘I’m really just infatuated by hitting’ (Baltimore Baseball)
The dude is in the right line of work. There’s no denying that.

O’s hope these two pitchers keep taking steps forward in 2023 (Steve Melewski)
One’s confidence level in Dean Kremer and Kyle Bradish probably has a lot to do with what one thinks should be added to the Orioles rotation over this offseason.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

A few former Orioles were born on this day. They are: 2016-17 pitcher Wade Miley, 2010-11 infielder Josh Bell, 2001-03 pitcher Pat Hentgen, and 1975/77-79 outfielder Larry Harlow. Today is Harlow’s 71st birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Declaration of Independence non-signer John Dickinson (1732), novelist Robert Louis Stevenson (1850), baseball Hall of Famer Buck O’Neil (1911), and actress Whoopi Goldberg (1955).

On this day in history...

In 1942, the Japanese and American navies fought a battle off the coast of Guadalcanal, with the Japanese seeking to destroy an American-controlled airfield on the island to allow the Japanese army to more easily send reinforcements. Nine American ships were sunk in the battle, but they were successful in protecting the airfield and preventing significant Japanese landings.

In 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on November 13. Have a safe Sunday.