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Thursday Bird Droppings: Still thinking about the shape of next year’s Orioles rotation

Recurring offseason thought: If the Orioles are going to do better next year, they need better starting pitching.

Championship Series - New York Yankees v Houston Astros - Game One
Jameson Taillon, mentioned as a possible Orioles free agent match, could be getting more money than had been expected.
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are 119 days remaining - or exactly 17 weeks - until Orioles Opening Day 2023.

The calendar has turned to December today. If you’ve been impatiently waiting for the Orioles to do something that will improve the expected outlook on the 2022 team, you’ve surely been disappointed. November came and went and nothing happened. No one was signed. No one was acquired.

The good news is that no one who you might want the Orioles to sign or trade for has been signed or acquired elsewhere. The top-end pitchers and shortstops who you can dream about are still out there. The mid-range pitchers are still waiting to be signed. Neither the Brewers nor the Marlins have traded from their staffs. The only guy who I could say might have fit with the O’s who’s signed elsewhere is Jose Abreu, and even he didn’t fit the left-handed balance we keep hearing they want to get.

Perhaps by a week from now, the picture will look much different. MLB’s winter meetings begin on Sunday. It’s always possible there will be big news there - for some team, if not for the Orioles. We could very easily be sitting here in a week with the O’s having gotten no one and some players off the board elsewhere. Well, I shouldn’t say no one... they’ll probably make a Rule 5 pick, because that’s what they do. It’s just not exciting.

We’ll also find out the first round draft order for next year, with the lottery being held on Tuesday. There is nearly a 95% chance that the Orioles will end up with the same #17 pick that their record would have earned them under the old system. It would sure be fun if the longshot chance of a top 6 pick came in. Don’t hold your breath, though.

Here is one relatively fresh, non-team-specific rumor about a pitcher who some experts think the Orioles might sign:

Four years and $56 million was what the folks at MLB Trade Rumors predicted for Taillon; at FanGraphs they only thought he’d get three years and $42 million. If even a second-tier guy like Taillon is going to blow past the predictions, then I’ve likely gone and gotten my hopes up about something interesting for nothing. But maybe the front office and ownership will surprise me.

Around the blogO’sphere

As Orioles seek starting pitching, Kyle Bradish and D.L. Hall believe they can compete for rotation spots (The Baltimore Sun)
The Orioles almost certainly must upgrade their rotation from the outside. They also need to figure out which of their internal options can make it as MLB starters.

Will one of these pitchers wind up on O’s free agent radar? (Steve Melewski)
Melewski has been writing about a lot of starting pitchers lately. The focus in this one is on Andrew Heaney and Noah Syndergaard. I won’t be terribly excited if the Orioles sign either one - although if he’s the second-best guy signed, that might be OK.

Looking at Orioles’ possible strategy for winter meetings (Baltimore Baseball)
You know it’s not going to be exciting when the lead item is about the Orioles Rule 5 history, but there’s some talk about maybe signing a starting pitcher. It would be nice if they can find a good one.

The 10 best Rule 5 picks of the last decade (
Anthony Santander makes the list, with Tyler Wells and T.J. McFarland as honorable mentions. Not bad at all, although when the top of the list is Ryan Pressly, you know. Even the big hits only matter so much.

Timing of trade “a little weird” for Seth Johnson (School of Roch)
Turns out that as fate would have it, Orioles pitching prospect Seth Johnson was already planning to attend the Orioles-Rangers game on the day that he was traded to the team.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1954, the Orioles and Yankees put the finishing touches on what is the largest trade in major league history, a 17-player swap that took two weeks of official back and forth to be finalized. Among the players the Yankees received from the O’s was future World Series perfect game thrower Don Larsen; the O’s return included future Herc favorite Gus Triandos.

There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2019 pitcher Dan Straily, and 1991-94 catcher Jeff Tackett.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: wax sculptor Marie Tussaud (1761), Soviet WW2 general Georgy Zhukov (1896), comedian Richard Pryor (1940), singer-songwriter/actress Bette Midler (1945), bassist Jaco Pastorius (1951), baseball Hall of Famer Larry Walker (1966), and singer/rapper/actress Janelle Monáe (1985).

On this day in history...

In 1640, a union of the crowns of Spain and Portugal was ended when the Portuguese throne was taken up by John, the Duke of Braganza, who reigned as João IV - though it took a war and 28 years for Spain to recognize Portuguese independence.

In 1865, the first historically black university in the United States, Shaw University, was founded in Raleigh, North Carolina.

In 1919, the United Kingdom had a woman seated in Parliament for the first time as Lady Nancy Astor - an American-born woman - became an MP following an election on November 28. The person who held her seat before the election was her husband, Viscount Waldorf Astor (also American-born), who vacated his seat in the House of Commons when his father died and he inherited the title and a seat in the House of Lords.

In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man, leading to her arrest and a boycott of buses in Montgomery, Alabama.

In 1969, the US held its first draft lottery since World War II due to escalating conflict in Vietnam. Men born 1944-1950 were eligible. Those born September 14 had the unlucky lottery number of 1, though many others were unlucky as well as the Selective Service eventually called up to number 195.

In 1991, a referendum on the independence of Ukraine from the Soviet Union passed in Ukraine with 92.3% of voters approving of Ukrainian independence.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on December 1. Have a safe Thursday.