Only eight days remain until pitchers and catchers are supposed to report for the start of Orioles spring training. This is pretty much certain not to happen with the current circumstance of the league’s owners not doing much, if anything, to negotiate a resolution to the lockout of players that they unilaterally imposed about two months ago. It could end any time the owners wish.
Last week, a number of high profile players set out to explain on Twitter what the priorities are for the players in the negotiation. They want to ensure that there is more money that flows to players in the 0-3 years of service time category. These are players who typically don’t make much more than the minimum allowed salary, so one goal is to increase the minimum salary. Many careers never go any farther than that, so it’s meaningful for those players to get a little bit more money than they got under the old system.
Another goal for the players is to make sure that teams are incentivized, either by means of carrot, stick, or both, to put their best players on the major league team. Players have proposed ending the practice of service time manipulation and making adjustments to the draft order to either reward teams that try to win or penalize teams that are not trying to win.
None of this stuff is abstract for Orioles fans. If there had been anti-tanking measures in place in the previous CBA, the last few years would have been very different around here. We all know what we’ve seen at the MLB level under Mike Elias. I think it would have been more fun if the Orioles needed to keep themselves above a .400 winning percentage while building up the talent pipeline on the farm. The pitching has just been so brutal to watch. A team like the Orioles could have spent a little more money on it without blocking any prospects or prospect-ish players.
Reports over the weekend are that owners will be spending time this week deciding what to do next, with probably nothing presented back to players until next week. The only Opening Day we can safely count down towards now is that of the Norfolk Tides on April 5. We’re under two months from that, at least.
Around the blogO’sphere
Trade candidate: Anthony Santander (MLBTR)
MLBTR sees some possible trade partners for the Orioles about Santander as the Giants, Guardians, and Rockies. If anybody offers the right prospects, ship him out, I say.
Sending out more Orioles spring training storylines (School of Roch)
Not even last week’s developments have deterred Roch from plowing on with spring training storyline posts. There will probably be an abbreviated spring training eventually, so storylines will play out, even if not on time.
Oriole of the Day: Jordan Lyles brings durability to pitching staff in desperate need of it (The Baltimore Sun)
Jordan Lyles won’t even officially be an Oriole until after the lockout is over, but he’s an Oriole enough for Nathan Ruiz’s daily series.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 2012, Orioles scouts were banned from scouting amateur baseball events in South Korea as a penalty for not following procedure in the attempted signing earlier in the offseason of teenage pitcher Seong-Min Kim. I hope someone tells an oral history of this whole peculiar saga some day.
A number of former Orioles were born on this day. They are: 2013 pitcher Scott Feldman, 2007 pitcher Jon Leicester, 2012 outfielder Endy Chavez, 2004 pitcher Dave Borkowski, 1979-84 outfielder Benny Ayala, and 1963 outfielder Al Smith.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your other birthday buddies for today include: farm equipment magnate John Deere (1804), novelist Charles Dickens (1812), novelist Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867), musician Garth Brooks (1962), comedian Chris Rock (1965), and basketball Hall of Famer Steve Nash (1974).
On this day in history...
In 1904, the Great Baltimore Fire broke out, leading to the destruction of 1,500 buildings over about 30 hours. One aftermath of the fire was national standards for fire equipment, as engines arriving from Philadelphia and Washington, DC could not hook up to Baltimore fire hydrants.
In 1943, during World War II, the Japanese Navy concluded Operation Ke, in which it had been evacuating Japanese Army forces from Guadalcanal for several weeks. This marked an effective end to a six month battle that secured American control of the island.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on February 7. Have a safe Monday.