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Thursday Bird Droppings: An Orioles coaching staff shuffle and a waiver claim

Even heading towards the World Series, there’s movement on the coaching staff and fringes of the roster

MLB: AUG 30 White Sox at Orioles
Chris Holt is not coming back as pitching coach next season, but will remain as the organization’s Director of Pitching.
Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 154 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day 2024. At most, seven of these days will have actual MLB games happening. With the World Series not getting under way until tomorrow, today is not one of those days. For the true sickos among you, the O’s prospects who are on the Mesa Solar Sox will be playing at 9:30 at night Eastern time, and then there are three Dominican Winter League games in the 7:15-7:30 range.

The Orioles did hit us with some news last night, as MASN’s Roch Kubatko reported on a little shuffle in the coaching staff. According to Kubatko, this year’s pitching coach Chris Holt will retain the Director of Pitching title to continue work throughout the organization but will not be returning as the pitching coach. This is reportedly meant to allow Holt more time to develop pitching in the minors. Kubatko also said that assistant pitching coach Darren Holmes will not return. The rest of the coaching staff is expected to return in their current roles.

There was also a little bit of Orioles news yesterday morning. The team made a waiver claim of Tucker Davidson, a 27-year-old lefty who has a 5.98 ERA in 55 games across four different seasons up to this point. He was most recently with the Royals and also pitched for the Angels in 2023. Davidson was converted to relief for 2023 and things did not get any better for him; he finished the season with a 5.96 ERA in 51.1 innings between the Angels and the Royals.

The flow of waiver claims has slowed for the Orioles throughout this year since they’re awarded in reverse standings priority. Instead of getting the first crack at claims as they were two years ago, now, every team other than the Braves and Dodgers must have passed for Davidson to make it to the Orioles. Guys who rebuilding teams think they can polish up don’t make it here, and hopefully won’t any time soon.

It’s not the first time this has happened in recent months. Reliever Jacob Webb arrived by waiver claim over the course of the season. That one worked out okay for a little while and worked out less well as time went on, not working out at all by the time the team was into the postseason. Webb at least had some quality 2023 results, so much so that it was weird that the Angels waived him.

Davidson, well, he didn’t have quality 2023 results. What he does have is some sort of decent peripheral stats, if you squint. He was 81st percentile in limiting hard contact over the course of this season, and in the 69th percentile at getting ground balls. His walk rate is acceptable. Those are generally going to be markers of success for a pitcher. They have not been for Davidson, up to this point.

We might never have occasion to think about Davidson again after today. Mike Elias claims guys on the fringes of the roster and sometimes they don’t even make it to spring training. It wouldn’t be the first time. With the Orioles already knowing that Davidson went unclaimed by 27 teams, they could quickly slip him back onto waivers. But if he does stick around, then maybe we’ll be thinking about whether the Orioles have the ability to fix him up. They have been more successful at this up to this point than I believed they would be, though of course it’s not a guaranteed fix every time.

Around the blogO’sphere

Mike Elias thinks about the talent logjam ‘every day.’ Outfield is the toughest to crack. (The Baltimore Banner)
The Banner’s Andy Kostka ponders the recent past and near future for the Orioles outfield.

For Ryan Mountcastle, it was a tale of two seasons in 2023 (Steve Melewski)
It’s really more like four different seasons, of which two were pretty bad and two were pretty good, and they averaged out to “fine as long as you don’t compare him to other first basemen.”

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Nothing of note has occurred on this day in Orioles history, and it probably won’t until they eventually make the World Series in the 21st century, when the championship is played so late in October.

There is one current Oriole with a birthday today. Happy 34th birthday to reliever Danny Coulombe, who figures to be back for next year too. There are also some a couple of Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2019-20 outfielder Dwight Smith Jr., and 1973-76 pitcher Wayne Garland.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: cereal magnate C. W. Post (1854), actor Bob Hoskins (1942), game show host Pat Sajak (1946), actress Rita Wilson (1956), and wrestler CM Punk (1978).

On this day in history...

In 1881, the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral took place in Tombstone, Arizona.

In 1944, during World War II, the four-day Battle of Leyte Gulf culminated in an American naval victory over the Japanese. The battle, which featured the first organized kamikaze suicide attacks by Japanese planes, saw the Americans sink 28 Japanese ships in a chaotic battle that had both sides make tactical blunders against which the other side could not take advantage.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on October 26. Have a safe Thursday.