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Saturday Bird Droppings: The rumor mill has slowed

Takeaways from San Diego, the O’s hope to buck a turnaround trend, and more!

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

Perhaps Mike Elias is right that the Winter Meetings are “an information gathering event, first and foremost,” but player movement sure has settled down a whole lot since the frenzy earlier this week. Signings are harder to come by, and even the rumor mill has slowed to a crawl. The Orioles haven’t even been connected to a minor league signing in several days. Kinda lame.

The fact is that a whole lot of offseason still remains. Carlos Correa, Carlos Rodón, and Dansby Swanson (among others) are still looking for a team. Of that group, the one that makes the most sense for the Orioles is Rodón as he would be the bonafide ace the team’s rotation desperately needs.

Reports from Friday indicate that Rodón wants a seven-year deal, part of a pattern so far this winter that has seen players prioritize years and total contract value over short-term, high AAV deals.

That’s something the Orioles could certainly do. They have the payroll room and the long-term flexibility. Plus, the roster is young and increasingly talented. The addition of Rodón could go a long way toward making the 2023 O’s into the best version of themself.

But seven years doesn’t seem like something Elias is going to do, particularly in light of some of the comments that Elias made on MLB Network Radio this week where he said that “the first year of [a long-term contract with a pitcher] is likely to be the best year in the contract, so we’ve gotta think about that.”

This could all be posturing, but it sure seems like Elias either doesn’t want to or cannot commit huge dollars to players until he is absolutely sure that the team is ready to make a run at the pennant. That’s sort of a ridiculous way to think simply because adding more, better players is a way to improve your team. It is valid to think that Rodón is a bit risky given his injury concerns, but it’s also fair to say that adding him to your pitching staff immediately improves your team by a few wins. Pair that with expected improvement from Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, and others, and then you have a playoff team on your hands. From there, anything can happen.

Alas, this may all be wasted air. The Orioles still have the same holes that they had when the winter began. That should eventually change to some degree. They will add another pitcher to the rotation situation. They will get a veteran catcher. And they should look at tweaking the outfield is some way. It just doesn’t seem likely to happen at the level that many of us had hoped.


Politi: “It was a great team to be picked by” | Roch Kubatko
Rule 5 picks aren’t the most interesting move a team can make, but it is essentially a no-risk way to add an intriguing talent to your organization. The Orioles have shown an ability to build out a talented bullpen with relative unknowns. Perhaps Andrew Politi can add to that recent run.

Five things we learned from the Orioles’ trip to the winter meetings | The Baltimore Sun
We largely learned what we already feared. The Orioles are not going all in this winter. That is a bummer, and it is fair to criticize.

Biggest single-season win gains in divisional era |
As this article lays out, it is common for teams that experience massive, single-season rebounds to the face a hangover that results in a slight dip in winning percentage the following year. However, no other team on this list (that I’m aware of) also got a schedule change that should benefit them, like fewer games against AL East opponents.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Nestor Cortes turns 28. An all-star and Cy Young candidate with the Yankees this past season, Cortes made his MLB debut in 2018 with the Orioles after the team picked him in the Rule 5 draft. The lefty pitched in four games before he was returned.
  • Austin Wynns is 32 years old. A 10th-round draft pick in 2013, Wynns was a backup catcher for the Orioles in three seasons from 2018-2021. He is currently on the Giants’ 40-man roster.
  • Pedro Florimón is 36 today. The utility infielder played in four games for the 2011 O’s before bouncing around the league for several years thereafter.
  • Luis Polonia turns 59. His career as a big league outfielder spanned 12 seasons and six different clubs, but his Orioles tenure was just 58 games in 1996.

This day in O’s history

1999 - The O’s trade pitcher Jesse Orosco to the Mets for hurler Chuck McElroy.

2009 - Pitcher Ben Snyder goes to the Rangers as the “player to be named later” in order to complete yesterday’s trade that sent starter Kevin Millwood to Baltimore.