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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Gunnar Henderson and D.L. Hall to join Orioles taxi squad

It is time!

2022 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

The Orioles desperately need a shot in the arm. After losing two straight contests, with an off day sandwiched in-between, the Birds find themselves three games back of the Blue Jays for the AL’s final wild card spot. Considering there are 10 games against the Blue Jays still remaining on the team’s schedule there is plenty of time to make up the gap, but they won’t want it to get any bigger.

Whether that situation was the impetus or not, the Orioles front office has determined that it is officially time for Gunnar Henderson to make his way to the big leagues.

OK, so Henderson will not technically be a big leaguer yet. Taxi squad members don’t even need to be on the 40-man roster. But it is inevitable that he will be elevated to the active roster once they expand to 28 on Thursday.

The Orioles offense could use any help possible. They were able to pull out a series win in Houston over the weekend despite not scoring more than three runs in any game. That won’t fly most days, as was evidenced in their 5-1 loss to the Guardians last night.

It will be interesting to see where Henderson plugs into the lineup once he is activated. Long term he will find himself on the left side of the infield, but for now the Orioles need help on the right side. Second baseman Rougned Odor provides immaculate vibes, but that comes with a 74 OPS+. Ryan Mountcastle, the team’s everyday first baseman, should have a solid future in the big leagues. But the 25-year-old slugged .299 in July and has followed that up with a .358 slugging in August. That won’t work from that position on the diamond.

Joining Henderson is D.L. Hall, which could be just as impactful. The Orioles bullpen has seemed an arm short in recent weeks as Félix Bautista is often asked to get extended saves with other late-inning options often struggling. Hall may not be thrust into high leverage situations right away, but it’s not like Brandon Hyde has a ton of great options otherwise. This team is trying to nab a playoff spot, and Hall might be the ultimate weapon in a close game.

With only a month left in the season, Henderson and Hall alone will not give the Orioles a three-game boost in the standings. But they certainly should help, and their experience in September feels like another momentous step for this organization to set them up for success in 2023.


As Orioles infield struggles, promoting Gunnar Henderson is the obvious move | The Baltimore Sun
It’s a move where the need on the big league roster closely coincides with the development of the player. There isn’t much more for Henderson to prove in Triple-A. That doesn’t mean he is without flaws, but those flaws could be worked on in Baltimore just as easily and perhaps with more rigor.

‘Camden is pretty close’: Healthy G-Rod still eyeing ‘22 debut |
More exciting prospect news! Grayson Rodriguez should have been on the Orioles team for several months by this point, but injuries happen. Instead he is making a rehab appearance in Aberdeen on Thursday with an eye towards a big league debut this year. Giving him a five-inning spot start in the final week of the season feels realistic.

Baltimore finds reasons to believe in Orioles’ surprising season | Washington Post
Baltimore is not a baseball city or a football city. It’s a sports city, and it’s one that has just two big-time franchises. They love them both. It just so happens that the Ravens have been rather good for the last three decades and the Orioles often have not been. That explains the enthusiasm gap. If the O’s were competitive year-to-year then we would soon have folks walking around in tacky orange and black camo pants. Imagine that!

O’s falter in first big WC test vs. Guardians |
One hit? That’s all be got?

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Steve Johnson turns 35. The right-handed pitcher spent parts of three seasons with his hometown Orioles (2012-13, 2015). Over 27 total appearances Johnson had a 4.25 ERA and 100 ERA+.
  • Armando Gabino is 39. He tossed 4.2 innings for the 2010 Birds.
  • Ramón Ramírez celebrates his 41st. His O’s career lasted one game in 2014.
  • Tim Raines Jr. is 43 today. The outfielder appeared in three seasons for the O’s (2001, 2003-04), compiling a 45 OPS+ and 0.2 bWAR over 75 total games.
  • Mike Hartley turns 61. The righty pitched in three games for the 1995 Orioles.
  • Tom Dukes is 80 today. He spent the 1971 season in the Orioles bullpen, posting a 3.52 ERA over 38.1 innings.
  • And finally, we remember the late Frank Robinson (d. 2019), who was born on this day in 1935. Robinson was a Hall of Fame outfielder, the only player to win MVP in both the NL and AL. He came to Baltimore via a 1965 trade and went on to lead the Orioles to two World Series titles, including the 1966 season when he also won the Triple Crown. His number 20 is retired by both the Orioles and Reds franchises.

This day in O’s history

1955 - Orioles pitcher Bill Wight gives up five runs in the first inning, but then tosses eight no-hit frames against Cleveland. The Orioles lose 5-1.

1992 - In a swap with the Padres, pitcher Craig Lefferts lands in Baltimore, and the O’s send Erik Shullstrom plus a player to be named later to San Diego.

2007 - Steve Trachsel is sent from the O’s to the Cubs in exchange for Scott Moore and Rocky Cherry.