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Monday Bird Droppings: The week of Opening Day arrives with bullpen holes to fill

Opening Day is later this week! Who might pitch the first save situation is a mystery.

Minnesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles
Soon.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

We’ve made it to the week of Opening Day! Just four days from now, the Orioles will get the 2022 season started against the Rays, the team they infamously went 1-18 against last year. The return of baseball to Camden Yards is a week from today, which will see the first home opener against the Brewers since 1988. I gotta say, there could be better omens.

This week begins with something of a surprise Orioles roster shakeup. The bullpen picture was jumbled on Sunday night with news that the Orioles traded both Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser to the Marlins in a trade that brought back two prospects, a player to be named later, and the #67 pick in this year’s draft. I don’t mind that the O’s tried to sell high on Sulser and I don’t mind that they made Scott’s control somebody else’s problem.

The two currently-named players coming into the Orioles organization are 25-year-old lefty Antonio Velez, who was undrafted in 2020’s short five-round draft, and 17-year-old outfielder Kevin Guerrero, part of Miami’s international signing class last year. Guerrero fetched a $600,000 bonus. Velez had a sub-1.00 WHIP in action mostly at the High-A level last year. There are worse building blocks.

Having taken a little bit to sit and think about the trade, my ongoing reaction is the same as my immediate reaction: Who is going to pitch late inning high-leverage situations for the Orioles? Between Scott and Sulser being traded and Tyler Wells starting out in the rotation, that leaves... Paul Fry? Dillon Tate? Is that really what we’re going to do here? I mean, what the heck, why not? It’s not like I was going to feel good with Scott in the bullpen anyway.

Perhaps Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde have some faith in guys deeper in the 40-man roster pile, or guys who aren’t on the 40-man roster at all. Bryan Baker, Mike Baumann, Félix Bautista, Logan Gillaspie, Joey Krehbiel, Cionel Pérez, it seems like it’s about to be your time to shine. Maybe sometimes the starting rotation and offense will even combine to give one of these guys a lead or tie to protect. So maybe it’s more that whether any of these guys is any good doesn’t matter.

Three spring training games remain. Today, the Orioles are set to play the Pirates at 1:05. Although it’s a home game for the O’s, it won’t be on O’s TV or radio. There will be a Pirates radio broadcast of the game. This is the last game of spring to have any broadcast at all. Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s road games will not be broadcast in any capacity by either team. Though Opening Day is Friday for the O’s, the roster must be set on Thursday.

Around the blogO’sphere

Kremer stays confident as as camp nears close (School of Roch)
“Pitcher gives delusional-sounding quotes after a bad outing” is not my favorite genre of story. That’s where Dean Kremer was after yesterday. Whether the outing impacts his roster chance is something we’ll find out within a few days.

Updates on Hays, Rutschman, Tate, Stewart (Baltimore Baseball)
Adley Rutschman has advanced to hitting off a tee and light throwing. Not only is he not going to make the Orioles Opening Day roster, he’s not going to make the Norfolk Tides one either. As for Austin Hays, if you noticed he hasn’t played in a few days, that’s because his wife had a baby on Friday. Hayden Hays is a strong name. Congratulations!

As Oriole Park at Camden Yards turns 30, a look at how it all began: ‘It’s like seeing one of your children grow up’ (The Baltimore Sun)
One easy prediction to make is that there are going to be a LOT of Camden Yards retrospectives over the course of this season and especially over the next week.

With Jordan Lyles, O’s hope they added innings-eater and more (Steve Melewski)
I feel like the people who are counting on Lyles for innings-eating may not have noticed that he’s only thrown 150+ innings once in his career. Granted, that was last year. Even if his innings eating were not in doubt, the 5.15 ERA would not make it exciting anyway.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 2001, the Orioles were no-hit by Hideo Nomo of the Red Sox in a 3-0 loss. This set a new record for earliest calendar date for a no-hitter that will stand until at least next year. Nomo became just the fourth pitcher to have a no-hitter in both the AL and the NL.

In 2005, the O’s played their Opening Day game and made another kind of history, as Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro became the first pair of 500 home run club members to play as teammates. The only home run hit in a 4-0 win over the Athletics was by Luis Matos.

There are a number of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2021 reliever Conner Greene, 2018-20 slugger Renato Nuñez, 2016 reliever Odrisamer Despaigne, 1995 six-game pitcher Jim Dedrick, 1990 reserve outfielder Brad Komminsk, 1966-67 reserve first baseman Mike Epstein, 1967 two-game pitcher Tom Fisher, and 1966-73 pitcher Eddie Watt.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: baseball Hall of Famer Tris Speaker (1888), early blues man Muddy Waters (1913), baseball Hall of Famer Gil Hodges (1924), poet Maya Angelou (1928), actor Robert Downey Jr. (1965), actor Heath Ledger (1979), and comedian Eric Andre (1983).

On this day in history...

In 1818, Congress adopted the form for the American flag that remains today, with 13 stripes signifying the original colonies and one star for every state. At the time, that was 20 states. Prior to this 1818 act, the flag had 15 stripes and 15 stars for the 15 states in existence in 1794 and had not been updated since then.

In 1841, President William Henry Harrison died of pneumonia. He was the first president in history to die in office, and consequently set a still-standing record for shortest American presidential administration. The vice president, John Tyler - who, by the way, still has a living grandson - became president.

In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 4. Have a safe Monday. Go O’s!