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Friday Bird Droppings: The Orioles made a significant trade

Mike Elias pulled off his first prospect-for-veteran trade as Orioles GM, bolstering the rotation with the addition of Cole Irvin.

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MLB: Atlanta Braves at Oakland Athletics Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Just when you were starting to wonder whether the Orioles would make any more moves before spring training, Mike Elias emerged from the shadows with one of his biggest trades yet, acquiring left-hander Cole Irvin from the Athletics to add another veteran to the O’s rotation. The deal, which netted the Birds minor league righty Kyle Virbitzky along with Irvin, sent infielder Darell Hernaiz, the Orioles’ fifth-round pick in 2019, to the A’s.

As Mark Brown noted, Irvin isn’t the most exciting hurler, and has gotten a lot of help from pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum (now apparently called RingCentral Coliseum?) the past two seasons. Still, Irvin — who turns 29 in four days — is about a league-average pitcher, he eats innings, and he’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2026 season. His new home ballpark, with The Wall swallowing up potential homers from right-handed hitters, should help the southpaw as well. With John Means still recovering from last year’s Tommy John surgery, Irvin will likely be the only lefty in the O’s rotation, assuming DL Hall isn’t quite good enough to make the cut.

This is the first time in Elias’s more than four-year tenure as Orioles GM that he’s actually traded from his prospect stock to acquire a veteran player. Normally it’s been exactly the opposite. It’s a whole new world in Birdland, folks! And I’d say he fared quite well. To acquire a durable lefty starter who’s under team control for four more years, without giving up any of the Orioles’ highest-rated, big-league ready prospects, has to be considered a win. That the O’s received another young player in the deal is a bonus. Good luck to Hernaiz, an intriguing prospect with plenty of potential, who nonetheless has a ways to go before becoming a big league contributor.

The Orioles have no shortage of rotation options at the moment, even if none of them is exactly a guy you’d feel comfortable starting a postseason series with. Irvin and fellow offseason acquisition Kyle Gibson figure to be locks, as does Dean Kremer after his breakout 2022. Grayson Rodriguez all but deserves a spot, and Kyle Bradish looked excellent after returning from the injured list last year. I could see a rotation of those five, with Austin Voth, Tyler Wells, and Hall serving as long relievers/spot starters.

Of course, every one of those guys will likely end up starting at some point in 2023. Last year, 14 different O’s pitchers started a game, including seven who started 13 or more. Pitchers get injured and pitchers struggle, so it’s good to have depth. After this trade, the Orioles have a little bit more of that depth.


A few notes on new O’s lefty Cole Irvin (updated with new top 100 list) - Steve Melewski
Melewski drops some knowledge about the newest Oriole, including the tidbit that he was likely going to be the Athletics’ Opening Day starter. I suppose there’s a chance he’ll do the same with the Orioles, though my guess is it’ll be Kremer.

Orioles avoid arbitration with Voth (updated) - School of Roch
The O’s settled with all of their arbitration-eligible players, meaning they won’t have to go in front of a panel and talk about how their players aren’t worth the money they’re asking for. That’s probably a good thing to avoid.

Putting Down Roots: The DL Hall Story | Baltimore Orioles - YouTube
Forget what I said earlier about Hall not being good enough. After watching this video, I'm convinced he's going to be the greatest baseball player of all time.

Opening the Orioles’ books? Much could be learned if John Angelos kept his promise - The Athletic
Dan Connolly is utterly unsurprised that John Angelos hasn’t followed through on his promise to show reporters the Orioles’ financials. Here, Connolly offers the questions he’d want answered if the O’s ever opened the books.

Baltimore Orioles: How Scott Rolen was Almost an Oriole - Birds Watcher
I’d long since forgotten this, but the O’s nearly traded for now-Hall of Famer Scott Rolen to replace the retired Cal Ripken Jr. in 2002 before Peter Angelos nixed it. It’s probably for the best that the deal didn’t happen, since Rolen might’ve left after one season, but just think what could have been.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! It’s the 76th birthday of former O’s outfielder and broadcaster John Lowenstein (76), half of the memorable left field platoon with Gary Roenicke during the early 1980s that got each of them inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame. Enjoy your day, Brother Lo. Other former Birds born on Jan. 27 are infielder Tim Beckham (33) and catcher Ken Huckaby (52).

On this day in 2015, the Orioles acquired Travis Snider from the Pirates, envisioning the former first-round draft pick as a replacement for longtime right fielder Nick Markakis, who had left in free agency. Boy, did that not work out. Snider posted just a .659 OPS and three homers in 69 games before the O’s cut him loose in August.