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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Pitchers and catchers repo— wait, no

Orioles pitchers and catchers were supposed to report to spring training today. Maybe someday it will actually happen.

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

“Pitchers and catchers report.” They’re four of the greatest words in the English language. That one simple phrase evokes cheerful thoughts of the arrival of spring, of the breathless anticipation of a new baseball season and the months of (hopeful) excitement they’ll provide.

Somehow, the phrase “Pitchers and catchers aren’t reporting because there’s a lockout that’s been going on for more than two months and seemingly will never end” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Yet that’s the dreary story of 2022, as the ongoing labor dispute between MLB and the MLBPA has spoiled what should have been a joyous occasion for baseball fans everywhere. Today would have been the day for Orioles pitchers and catchers to report to Sarasota to hold their first spring workout. Instead, the players remain at home, the season is in a holding pattern, and there’s no clarity on when we’ll actually have Major League Baseball back in our lives.

So right now there’s nothing to do but Sporcle quizzes. Today’s challenge: for each letter of the alphabet, can you name the Orioles’ career WAR leader whose last name begins with that letter? These answers really run the gamut — the O’s have had a ton of great R players in their history, for instance, but do you know their best Q? Or Z? Good luck!

Links

Raising the minimum salary would be a start toward ending baseball’s lockout - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff recaps the major points of disagreement between the owners and players, and doesn’t seem particularly optimistic that the regular season will start on time. He’s not alone in that regard.

Tip of the spear: How Buck Britton learned and grew as a manager through this Orioles rebuild - Maximizing Playoff Odds
Buck Britton sure seems like a major league manager in waiting. Jon Meoli interviews the now-Triple A manager about what makes him a promising presence in the dugout.

How will baseball’s delay determine what Orioles do with roster? - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko’s breakdown of the Orioles’ roster “battles” is a sad reminder of how much filler still remains. Somehow I’m not going to be agonizing over the decision whether to keep, say, Bryan Baker over Joey Krehbiel.

Does Rutschman have any deficiencies? - Steve Melewski
Allow me to bask in that headline for a while. I can’t believe the Orioles actually have a prospect you can ask that question about.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on this day, including right-hander Chuck Estrada, who turns 84. Estrada had a great rookie season in 1960, going 18-11 with a 3.58 ERA, tying as AL Rookie of the Year runner-up with his teammate Jim Gentile, behind another O’s teammate, Ron Hansen. Nice year for Orioles rookies. Also born on this day were 1997 righty Brian Williams (53) and the late outfielder Luis Mercedes (b. 1968, d. 2019).

On this day in 2012, MLB voided the Orioles’ signing of 17-year-old Korean lefty Seong-Min Kim, ending one of the most bizarre and foolhardy sagas of the Dan Duquette era. Duquette, who was only three months into his tenure as Orioles general manager, improperly signed Kim on Jan. 30 without first contacting MLB and the Korea Baseball Organization as per protocol. Kim was also forbidden to sign because he was only a junior in high school. As a result, the Orioles were banned from scouting games in Korea, and Kim was suspended from playing professionally in Korea for two years. What a mess.

Kim did eventually find his way to pro ball, with the now 27-year-old spending the past five seasons with the Kiwoom Heroes of the KBO.