Good morning, Birdland!
One of the biggest moves of the year took place yesterday. After shocking the baseball world by trading for Matt Olson earlier in the week rather than re-signing Freddie Freeman, the Atlanta Braves handed Olson a massive contract on Tuesday. It’s an eight-year deal worth $168 million. It buys out his final two years of arbitration and then six additional campaigns through 2029.
In Olson the Braves now have a first baseman that has not been as consistent as the one they lost in Freeman, but he is four years younger and coming off of a career-best season in which he blasted 39 home runs and posted a .911 OPS over 156 games. That is tremendous value for $21 million AAV. On top of that, he is a local guy, born and raised around Atlanta. If they weren’t going to keep Freeman, Olson is an ideal second option.
This trade gets my head spinning about if and when the Orioles could pull something like this off. The focus for the time being in Baltimore remains on building up the minor leagues, and that makes sense. After all, the core of a good team is always going to come from within. But eventually you have to think bigger than that, and package some potential for a known entity.
Eventually, the mindset of both the team and the fanbase will need to switch from always looking towards the future. Pretty soon the future is going to be here, and I’m not terribly interested in seeing Adley Rutschman play on a bunch of 70 or 80 win teams while we have “potential” in Double-A.
This isn’t to say that Olson in particular should have been a target of the Orioles or anything. I get that the Braves are coming off a World Series win, wanted to stay in the thick of things, and they gave up a decent prospect haul in the process. That’s fine.
But what the Braves just did to get a player of Olson’s caliber and then lock him up long term took some creativity, and the team is now better because of it. That is fun, and it is the type of move I want my team to make.
Where does Odor fit into Orioles’ plans in 2022? | MLB.com
There is no guarantee that Rougned Odor makes the Orioles Opening Day roster. He has been brutal at the plate for several years now, and it’s not like the rest of the team’s current lineup is a juggernaut. But he does grade out favorably on defense, and certainly has some leadership qualities that the O’s may value over his statistical production.
Orioles’ Trey Mancini feels ‘worlds better than I did a year ago’ as he embarks on potential final season in Baltimore | The Baltimore Sun
It is impossible to not love Trey Mancini. It would be great to see the Orioles sign him to a modest extension at some point, but it feels inevitable that he will de traded sometime this summer, especially with the DH now being universal.
Orioles Sign Chris Owings To Minor League Deal | MLB Trade Rumors
This is the type of move that probably has very little impact on the season ahead, but Chris Owings has a good shot to play in Baltimore at some point in the year ahead. While the Orioles seem to have a ton of potential infielders, there is also a high likelihood that many of them struggle or get injured.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- Hobie Landrith turns 92. The former catcher played parts of two seasons in Baltimore from 1962 through ‘63.
- The late Clint Courtney (d. 1975) was born on this day in 1927. The backstop was a member of the original Orioles team in 1954, and then he returned to the club to finish up his career in 1961.
This weekend in O’s history
1953 - A bid by St. Louis Browns owner BIll Veeck to move his team to Baltimore is turned down by American League owners. It is seen as a move to force Veeck to sell his majority interest in the club.
1954 - The O’s buy the contract of first baseman Eddie Waitkus from the Philadelphia Phillies.