There are now two months and 25 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. That’s twelve weeks from today for the next scheduled game.
I don’t know about you, but for me it always feels like a big step closer to baseball season once we get into the same year where it’s happening. While it was December, the idea of the coming season was still more abstract. We had to get into 2023. Now, that’s the year you’d write on your checks, if you ever needed to write checks any more. The 2023 Orioles are coming - and if the start of spring training excites you, that’s probably less than a month and a half away.
Every reason that you could have come up with to be excited for this year’s team back in October when the last season ended is still there. This is the refrain I’ve been repeating and will keep repeating until spring training rolls in. There’s not a shortage of exciting storylines. Full seasons of Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson. Grayson Rodriguez in the rotation out of the gate (we hope).
Look in on the farm and there’s hype building for last year’s #1 pick Jackson Holliday possibly following in Rutschman’s and Henderson’s footsteps as the #1 prospect in all of baseball. Colton Cowser is coming into the outfield mix. The Heston Kjerstad Finally Arrived Tour might keep on ascending after a solid Arizona Fall League effort. And in between Holliday and the majors are a group of infield prospects: Coby Mayo, Connor Norby, Joey Ortiz, Jordan Westburg. It’s a bevy of prospect riches.
What hasn’t happened is a big improvement to the starting rotation. Kyle Gibson replacing Jordan Lyles may not even be an improvement, depending on whether a Walltimore-fueled luck reversal occurs. Maybe Kyle Bradish will be able to be part of that improvement, or maybe he’ll be more like when the 2016 Orioles had Mike Wright and then Tyler Wilson in the rotation, harming their chances of winning the division.
I don’t know. I guess we’ll see. A trade remains a possibility, though we should not take it as a sure thing either. For now, well, this week’s news was sending cash considerations to a guy who last year’s 65-win KC team didn’t want around any more, Ryan O’Hearn. Again, the excitement is not increasing when this is the last piece of news out there.
Around the blogO’sphere
Will Mateo be rare returning shortstop for Orioles in 2023? (School of Roch)
Roch notes that you have to go back to J.J. Hardy in 2016 and 2017 to find the same Oriole making consecutive Opening Day starts at shortstop. Jorge Mateo has a good chance to break that streak.
The next move for every MLB front office (The Athletic)
Jim Bowden, former GM, thinks veteran starting pitching is still the next move for the Orioles, although he’s not sure any big move will come until the offseason after this one.
McCann wants to be a veteran leader for young Orioles (Baltimore Baseball)
And we’re all hoping that this year’s group of veteran leaders are better at playing baseball than last year’s were.
Top Orioles fantasy baseball prospects (Pitcher List)
I don’t care about fantasy baseball, but maybe you do? It seems like we are heading towards an era where there are a number of potentially good fantasy Orioles.
The O’s hurler who featured one of the most dominant pitches in the majors (Steve Melewski)
Steve digs in on Félix Bautista’s split-finger fastball, which had a whiff rate above 50% last year. Hey, that’s pretty good.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 2006, the Orioles brought Jeff Conine back for a second stint with the team, signing him to a one-year contract worth $1.7 million. The veteran didn’t hit very well and was traded in August to the Phillies for Angel Chavez, who never played in a game for the Orioles.
There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2020 shortstop José Iglesias, 1998-2000 infielder Ryan Minor, and 1990 first baseman Ron Kittle. Owing to a grudge dating to 1989, I do not wish Kittle a happy birthday.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Maryland-born early American naval figure Stephen Decatur (1779), animator Hayao Miyazaki (1941), music man Marilyn Manson (1969), and actress January Jones (1978).
On this day in history...
In 1925, Nellie Tayloe Ross was sworn in as governor of Wyoming, in the process becoming the first female governor of a state in the history of the USA. Today, there are ten women governors among the 50 states.
In 1953, Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot premiered in Paris.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 5. Have a safe Thursday.