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Friday Bird Droppings: The Orioles’ offseason has begun

Mike Elias promised the front office’s offseason work will be about “keeping Baltimore baseball great and having an even better season next year.”

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles
Let’s see what Mike Elias has in store for the Orioles this winter.
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Nobody will blame Orioles fans if they need a few more days — or weeks, or months — to wallow in the sudden and painful end to the club’s otherwise magical 2023 season. But one guy who doesn’t have time to wallow is Mike Elias.

The Orioles’ general manager held his end-of-season press conference yesterday and, after ruminating on the Birds’ just-concluded campaign, he promised that the front office has already started preparing for the offseason to come. While Elias didn’t get into specifics about the Orioles’ plans or what new players the team could target, he noted that those discussions have already begun internally. “We will be talking about [possible acquisitions] and doing what we’ve got to do to have another great season and an even better season,” he said. “We’re getting our foot on the gas pedal for keeping Baltimore baseball great and having an even better season next year, and especially in the postseason, whatever degree we can control that.”

That certainly sounds promising. If last winter is any indication, though, O’s fans might want to temper their expectations on how much excitement this offseason will hold.

It was then, coming off their breakout 2022 season that brought winning baseball back to Baltimore, that many fans expected the O’s to be aggressive on the free agent market to supplement their young core. Visions of Justin Verlander, Carlos Correa, and other premium free agents danced in their heads. Even second-tier targets like Chris Bassitt and Nathan Eovaldi seemed like reasonable options for the Orioles. Instead, the club went bottom-dollar, signing Kyle Gibson, Adam Frazier, and Mychal Givens (remember him?) to one-year deals.

You can’t exactly call it a failure. The Orioles did win 101 games after that quiet offseason, after all, and Gibson and Frazier contributed to the Birds’ success in their own way. The front office was banking that the team could contend on the strength of its talented young core without needing to sign high-priced free agents. And they were right.

Still, O’s fans might be left disappointed if the club again eschews any prominent offseason additions. The Orioles, as good as they were this season, still have areas of the roster they can stand to improve, particularly in the starting rotation (as their quick ALDS exit rudely demonstrated). Another back-end bullpen piece, with Félix Bautista out for the entire 2024 season, wouldn’t hurt either.

It’ll be a few weeks before the Orioles can do anything, as MLB transactions are in a deep freeze until after the World Series ends. Once the offseason officially begins, though, it’ll be interesting to see what moves the O’s have in store.


Kyle Goon: Perception of being cheap looms over the Orioles’ offseason - The Baltimore Banner
Elias declined to answer whether the Orioles will raise their payroll for next season. Given John Angelos’s recent history, that could be reason for concern.

Hey, Birdland: Sometimes you just get beat - Steve Melewski
Melewski is tired of all the hot takes and finger-pointing about why the Orioles lost. And so am I. As Adam Jones once said, “Just sometimes you suck. It happens.”

Offseason questions for the Orioles -
I didn’t realize until Rich Dubroff mentioned it that the Orioles have 16 (!) players eligible for arbitration this winter. The non-tender deadline is going to be especially fascinating.

The Orioles’ 2023 season came crashing down, but ‘liftoff’ is underway - Baltimore Sun
If you're feeling blue about how the season ended, this story from Nathan Ruiz should lift your spirits. The future is bright in Birdland, folks.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Only two players with Oct. 13 birthdays have appeared in a game with the Birds: right-hander Hayden Penn (39) and the late lefty Ron Moeller (b. 1938, d. 2009). It’s also the 29th birthday of José Godoy, a catcher at Triple-A Norfolk this year. He never played for the Orioles but was lucky enough to be on the taxi squad and celebrate with the club when they clinched a playoff spot.

The O’s have played five postseason games on this date in history, winning three of them. In 1970, they took a commanding three games to none lead in the World Series, bashing the Reds, 9-3, in front of more than 51,000 fans at Memorial Stadium. After a pair of one-run victories in the first two games, this one was a laugher, capped by starting pitcher Dave McNally’s sixth-inning grand slam. He’s the only pitcher in MLB history to hit a grand slam in the World Series, a record that will likely never be matched (unless Shohei Ohtani does it someday, I suppose). Frank Robinson and Don Buford also homered, and McNally took care of business on the mound with a complete game victory.

In 1979, the O’s beat the Pirates in Game 4 of the World Series, 9-6, at Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium. Trailing 6-3 in the eighth, the Orioles ignited a six-run rally to turn the tables. Earl Weaver used his bench to perfection, with pinch-hitters John Lowenstein and Terry Crowley each delivering two-run doubles to give the O’s the lead. Pitcher Tim Stoddard’s RBI single and Al Bumbry’s run-scoring groundout completed the scoring. Stoddard earned the win with three scoreless innings of relief. The victory gave the Orioles a 3-1 series lead, and I’m not going to mention what happened after that.

And in 1997, the Orioles stayed alive in the ALCS by winning Game 5 in Cleveland, 4-2. Facing elimination with a loss, the O’s scored two in the third on Geronimo Berroa’s single, padded their lead on an Eric Davis two-run dinger in the ninth, and held off a two-run Cleveland rally in the bottom of the ninth. Scott Kamieniecki and Jimmy Key combined for eight shutout innings for the Orioles.