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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Spitballing some Orioles trade possibilities

The O’s have the prospect depth to swing a trade for a starting pitcher, but are any prominent ones available?

Miami Marlins v New York Mets
Carlos Carrasco, anyone?
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Remember when the Orioles were said to be looking for two veteran starting pitchers this offseason? It’s been nearly two months since they signed Kyle Gibson, who at the time was thought to be the precursor to another, much better starting pitcher addition. Yet we’re now quickly approaching the start of spring training and no other starting pitcher has landed in Baltimore at all, let alone a top-of-the-rotation difference maker.

Camden Chat’s Tyler Young recapped the current state of the rotation yesterday, as did Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors, who offered a few trade possibilities now that the O’s have struck out on nearly every free agent. One with ties to GM Mike Elias is righty Adrian Houser of the Brewers, who was in the Houston Astros’ minor league system when Elias joined that club. The Astros traded Houser before he reached the majors — in a deal that also involved former O’s prospect Josh Hader and future Oriole Brett Phillips going to Milwaukee — and he’s coming off a bad season, posting a well below-average 83 ERA+ while coughing up a hit per inning in 102.2 frames. His strikeout rate has dropped in each of the last three years while his walk rate has increased. On paper, he doesn’t seem like an upgrade over the Orioles’ in-house candidates, so unless Elias thinks he can make some useful tweaks based on his previous experience with Houser, that’s probably a no-go.

Another name Adams mentions is veteran righty Carlos Carrasco, who once had some stellar seasons with Cleveland — finishing fourth in the AL Cy Young voting in 2017 — and is one of baseball’s most inspirational stories after winning a battle with leukemia in 2019. As far as clubhouse presences go, he’d be a winning addition. On the mound, though, Carrasco is coming off a mediocre two-year stint with the Mets, and doesn’t fit the mold of the frontline starter the O’s need.

Then again, nobody does — or at least nobody who figures to be available on the trade market. How, or if, Elias is able to upgrade the rotation before Opening Day is one of the most intriguing storylines in the countdown to spring.


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Two former O’s relief pitchers were born on this day: 2016 left-hander Ashur Tolliver (35) and 1978-83 righty Tim Stoddard (70).

On this day in 1961, the Orioles pulled off a seven-player trade with the Kansas City Athletics, sending five players for outfielders Whitey Herzog and Russ Snyder. Herzog, a future Hall of Fame manager, played just two years with the Birds, but Snyder was a useful acquisition, spending parts of seven seasons in Baltimore and serving a valuable bench role for the world champion 1966 Orioles.