Good morning, Camden Chatters.
For no actual baseball being played, there’s a lot of MLB activity going on this week. Today is the deadline for teams to add minor leaguers to their 40-man roster to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. Mark Brown discussed some of the players the O’s might add, and there seem to be four slam dunks — Grayson Rodriguez chief among them — along with a few bubble guys. Last year I was surprised when the O’s added Félix Bautista, a 26-year-old minor league journeyman who’d had control problems throughout his career. As usual, the Orioles knew what they were doing, and I knew nothing. We’ll find out today whether another unheralded guy will get the Bautista treatment.
Meanwhile, the Baseball Writers Association of America is handing out its year-end awards this week, and yesterday Adley Rutschman finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, as expected. Rutschman enjoyed an absolutely stupendous first season in the majors, living up to every bit of hype Orioles fans had for him and completely turning around the franchise’s fortunes for the better. But Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez was every bit as awesome, and had the advantage of spending the entire season in the bigs while Rutschman didn’t debut until late May. Rodriguez is a worthy winner, for sure, but I’m fascinated to think how this race would’ve shaken out if Adley hadn’t suffered a spring injury that delayed his arrival.
With Rutschman coming up just short, the Orioles still haven’t won any of the four major BBWAA awards since 2014, when Buck Showalter was voted Manager of the Year. That eight-year drought is the longest of any AL team besides the Royals, along with the National League’s Pirates and Rockies.
But the drought could end with tonight’s announcement of the AL Manager of the Year, where the Orioles’ Brandon Hyde is a finalist along with the Guardians’ Terry Francona and the Mariners’ Scott Servais. You have to think Hyde has a legitimate shot at winning. The Manager of the Year award generally goes to the skipper whose club most outperformed expectations, and no team in baseball was a more surprising success than the O’s, who improved by a whopping 38 games and fell just short of the playoffs after a 110-loss season the year before. Hyde deserves major credit for the turnaround.
Will voters be willing to overlook the fact that Hyde didn’t get to the postseason? You would hope so, but it’s been 18 years since an AL skipper won Manager of the Year without making the playoffs. The last to do it was none other than Buck Showalter, who won in 2004 with a Texas Rangers club that went 89-73 and finished nine games out of the playoffs.
Here’s hoping Hyde gets his just rewards tonight. And it might not be the last time in his career he’ll be in the Manager of the Year discussion.
Adley Rutschman finishes second in 2022 AL Rookie of the Year voting - Orioles.com
To the voter who put Rutschman number one on his ballot, I applaud you, good sir. To the two voters who left Rutschman out of their top three entirely, I offer no comment.
Answers to your Orioles questions, Part 1 - BaltimoreBaseball.com
A number of Rich Dubroff’s readers apparently were unhappy that the Orioles declined Jordan Lyles’ $11 million option. Eh, Lyles did a perfectly fine job this year, but I’m not sure losing him is worth getting up in arms over.
Looking at a few O’s potential free agent pitching targets - Steve Melewski
Melewski takes a look at three FA starting pitchers who could fit in Baltimore. Sure, they’re good, and they wouldn’t break the bank. But give me someone great! Who will break the bank!
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three ex-Orioles right-handers were born on this day: Dylan Bundy (30), John Stephens (43), and Darwin Cubillán (50).
On this day in 1983, Cal Ripken Jr. was voted AL Most Valuable Player, narrowly beating his teammate, Eddie Murray, with Cal receiving 15 first place votes and Eddie 10. Cal led the AL in WAR (8.2), hits (211), and runs (121) while playing a stellar shortstop for the World Series champion Orioles. Ripken, who was named Rookie of the Year the previous season, became the first player in MLB history to win the two awards in back-to-back years.