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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Another starting pitcher is off the board

Chris Bassitt signed a very reasonably priced contract and still the Orioles weren’t involved, letting him go to the division rival Blue Jays.

Wild Card Series - San Diego Padres v New York Mets - Game Three
Chris Bassitt is strolling his way to Toronto, not Baltimore.
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Soooo...the Orioles just, like, aren’t going to sign another starting pitcher this offseason, are they?

I know, I know, the 2023 regular season doesn’t start for more than three months. There’s still plenty of offseason left. But there are distressingly few capable starters still available on the free agent market, and another prominent one — who would have made a lot of sense for the Orioles — dropped off the board yesterday when Chris Bassitt signed with the division rival Blue Jays.

Bassitt’s contract was hardly a budget-buster. He agreed to a three-year, $63 million deal, a reasonable $21 million annual value for a pitcher who’s been a top-10 Cy Young finisher in two of the last three years and is coming off a strong season with the Mets. He’s not an ace, but he would’ve been the closest thing the Orioles had to one. Tyler Young wrote last month about why Bassitt would’ve been a fit for the Birds.

With Bassitt gone, we’re down to slim pickings in the pitcher market. The most prominent, Carlos Rodón, is reportedly asking for a seven-year deal. If the Orioles wouldn’t even sign Chris Bassitt for three, I think we know where they stand on Rodón’s demands. The next best available is probably Nathan Eovaldi. Then you’re looking at the Noah Syndergaards of the world, guys who aren’t even a clear upgrade to the Orioles’ in-house options.

Orioles fans are noticeably frustrated at how this offseason has played out so far. Nobody’s expecting the team to spend like the Mets, but the club has some obvious holes on the roster that could be filled by spending a competitive amount of money. Instead, we’re seeing plenty of other teams open their wallets to upgrade their rosters while the Orioles have nothing but Kyle Gibson’s one-year deal to show for their offseason work. The fact that Mike Elias seems to be walking back his previous statements about the O’s being active in free agency isn’t exactly cause for optimism, and it makes fans wonder whether ownership is tying his hands more than he anticipated.

It’s nothing new for the Orioles to have a quiet offseason. But unlike those previous winters, these Orioles are coming off a contending, feel-good season that built plenty of excitement in Birdland. You would think it’s time to strike while the iron is hot and add the missing pieces to supplement the talented young core. For years, fans have wondered whether the low-payroll Orioles would be willing to spend once the team was finally in a position to win, and — for the moment, at least — the answer to that question isn’t what anyone was hoping for.

Now, if the Orioles, say, announce the signing of Carlos Rodón to a seven-year deal today, I’ll happily retract everything I just typed. Your move, guys!


2023 Prospects: Baltimore Orioles Top Prospects - Baseball Prospectus
It’s never a bad time to be reminded that the Orioles have a pretty awesome group of prospects. Here’s BP’s list, with a couple of surprising names (Hudson Haskin at #10 is the highest I’ve seen him ranked) intermixed among the usual, well-hyped studs.

As O’s may be searching for more bats, where does Kyle Stowers fit in? - Steve Melewski
I wouldn’t hate seeing Stowers get more playing time next year. The O's for some reason treated him as a platoon player, even though he scorched left-handed pitching in the minors.

Orioles deciding how to handle second base in 2023 - School of Roch
Elias sounds as if he’s prepared to go with internal options for second base next year instead of signing a free agent. Good, then he can use that saved money to sign Carlos Rodón. Make it happen, Mike!

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Former Orioles born on this day include 2020 three-game right-hander Carson Fulmer (29) and a couple of Birds from the 1950s, the late Hank Majeski (b. 1916, d. 1991) and Billy Loes (b. 1929, d. 2010). Loes was an All-Star for the 1957 Orioles.

Dec. 13 has typically been a slow news day for the Orioles. On this date in 2012, they re-signed outfielder Nate McLouth, who’d been a late-season spark plug, to a one-year deal. On this day in 2018, they selected Richie Martin from Oakland with the first pick of the Rule 5 draft, with hopes that he could hold down the starting shortstop job at least in the short term if not the long term. (He did neither, and is currently a free agent.)

Maybe Mike Elias will pull off an earth-shattering move today to liven up this date in Orioles history. Have I mentioned Carlos Rodón?