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Saturday Bird Droppings: Arbitration done, next up is spring training

The AL East, the rotation, and wrapping up the McCann trade.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

The big baseball news to wrap up the week was contract agreements with arbitration-eligible players. Yay! Paperwork!

There were no real surprises for the Orioles. Everyone that agreed to a deal came pretty close to what was projected. Austin Voth was the only one unable to come to an agreement, so it could still be a little while before we find out what will be paid in 2023.

Sometimes these arbitration discussions can precede extensions talks with the very same players. After all, you’re already figuring out what’s fair in the upcoming season, why not sort out an additional five on top of it? We saw it earlier this month in Boston, where the Red Sox and star third baseman Rafael Devers avoided arbitration on January 3rd and then had a lengthy extension in place on the 4th.

As far as we know, that has not happened in Baltimore. Granted, the Orioles did not have a Devers-esque player up for renewal. Although it is at least plausible that the team could want to lock up Anthony Santander or Cedric Mullins for additional years. Alas, they have not be able to do so just yet.

Until an extension does happen for players of that ilk, trade rumors involving them will persist. They are productive players that any team would like to have on their roster, something that hasn’t always been the case for the Orioles during their lengthy rebuild.

But if Mike Elias’s comments from earlier in the offseason are to be believed, the Orioles won’t be making significant subtractions from their big league roster any time soon. Instead, they will look to compete with what they have, hope for internal reinforcements, and push any bigger contract discussions to another time.


How do Orioles stack up in AL East in 2023? |
The Orioles still feel better than the Red Sox, who lost Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Nathan Eovaldi, and could be without Trevor Story all summer. I think there is reason to think they could beat out the Rays too. But it’s tough to argue a case that our Birds can top the Yankees or Blue Jays. There is just too much of a talent disparity, particularly in the starting rotation.

Mets Acquire Luis De La Cruz From Orioles | MLB Trade Rumors
This wraps up the James McCann trade. The 20-year-old De La Cruz is yet to play above the Dominican Summer League, where he had a .745 OPS last year in his second go-around at the level.

Taking the Orioles rotation for another spin | Roch Kubatko
It’s a tad frustrating that 2023 is looking like another “prove it” year for the rotation. We can somewhat certain of what Kyle Gibson, but anything beyond him is still a learning experience. I’m hopeful that Dean Kremer has figured himself out, and that Grayson Rodriguez will make an impact as a rookie. That isn’t the most imposing trio, although there certainly is upside.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Danny Boone turns 69. The southpaw tossed 9.2 innings for the 1990 Orioles, his final dose of MLB action.
  • Wayne Gross celebrates his 71st. Sandwiched between stints with the Athletics, Gross spent two seasons in Baltimore from 1984-85. Mostly a corner infielder, he had a 120 OPS+ over 230 total games with the Birds.

This day in O’s history

1963 - The Orioles land shortstop Luis Aparicio and outfielder Al Smith from the White Sox in exchange for pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm, outfielder Dave Nicholson, third baseman Pete Ward, and shortstop Ron Hansen. Aparicio would lead the league in stolen bases in each of the next two seasons and win the 1966 World Series in Baltimore.

1993 - Harold Baines becomes an Oriole, coming over in a trade from the Athletics.

1994 - Free agent third baseman Chris Sabo signs with the Orioles after six seasons in Cincinnati.