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Sunday Bird Droppings: Another international signing day arrives for the Orioles

The Orioles are expected to hand out their first $2 million bonus to an international amateur

Detroit Tigers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now two months and 15 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. It’s now exactly one month until pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota to mark the start of spring training.

Today has some immediate significance for the Orioles because it marks the start of this year’s signing period for international amateur players. As we all remember, this was an area the team almost completely ignored in the years prior to Mike Elias’s arrival as general manager. Even once Elias arrived, they had to play catch-up due to the reality that deals are usually informally struck as much as two years before the players are actually eligible to sign.

This time a year ago, the Orioles announced an international signing class of 24 players, including a new-record for the O’s bonus of $1.7 million given to Dominican outfielder Braylin Tavera. Tavera joined the previous year’s signees, Dominican shortstop Maikol Hernandez and Dominican catcher Samuel Basallo, in receiving seven-figure bonuses from the O’s.

The 2023 international amateur class is expected to see the Orioles hand out another team-record bonus to one of these players. Dominican shortstop Luis Almeyda, who was born in the United States, is reported to be receiving a $2+ million bonus from the team. Almeyda is ranked 20th on MLB Pipeline’s top 50 international prospects list.

The team will be announcing a bevy of signings today that have been quietly agreed to ahead of the start of this period, as is standard for every team. I’ll be writing more about this year’s class of players once the signings are announced.

Around the blogO’sphere

Looking further into projection systems for the Orioles (Steve Melewski)
In a solid demonstration of homerism in action, Melewski observes that the Orioles have four players with ZiPS projections at an OPS+ of 115 or higher and the Yankees only have three.

Arbitration roundup: Austin Voth (
The lone Oriole with an unresolved case is Voth. The team filed for a $1.7 million salary, while Voth’s side requested $2 million. Seems like a silly thing to go to a hearing over $150,000 rather than settle at the midpoint, but what do I know? It’s not the smallest gap: Tampa Bay’s Colin Poche and the team are only $125,000 apart.

Orioles send De La Cruz to Mets to complete James McCann trade (School of Roch)
If you missed this small news from Friday, the player to be named later from the James McCann trade has been named. Luis De La Cruz is a 20-year-old first baseman who’s yet to get higher than the Dominican Summer League. As predicted, no one needed to lose any sleep over the idea of this PTBNL.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

A pair of former Orioles have birthdays today. They are: 1999-2001 infielder/outfielder Delino DeShields, and 1970-76 infielder/should-be-Hall of Famer Bobby Grich. Today is Grich’s 74th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: playwright Moliére (1622), drummer Gene Krupa (1909), the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929), actress Regina King (1971), and rapper Pitbull (1981).

On this day in history...

In 1892, the rules of basketball written down by James Naismith were first published.

In 1967, Los Angeles played host to the first ever Super Bowl. In that year’s game, the Packers beat the Chiefs, 35-10. This year’s installment will be Super Bowl LVII. I don’t like the Ravens chances of making it.

In 2001, Wikipedia launched. It is the source for my famous person birthdays and notable historical events in these regular articles.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 15. Have a safe Sunday.