Good morning, Birdland!
The World Series is underway with a bang. An 11-inning thriller on Friday night saw the Rangers win 6-5 in dramatic, walk-off fashion to take the opener and put Adolis García in pole position to win World Series MVP.
There is unlikely to be much Orioles-specific news until the Fall Classic concludes, and even then we might be waiting a month or two for anything truly tantalizing. So for now we will have to settle for some front office rumblings from elsewhere in the AL East.
Earlier this week the Boston Red Sox hired Craig Breslow as their Chief Baseball Officer. He will take over for Chaim Bloom, who was fired last month from the same role. From an outsider’s perspective, it seems like a fine choice. In many ways, it feels similar to what the Rangers did in hiring Chris Young back in 2020. Both are Ivy League products that spent more than 10 years in the league as players, and then moved into brief executive roles prior to being handed a GM job. It’s gone quite well for Young, but speaking as a biased Orioles fan I hope it goes less swimmingly for Breslow.
The interesting part—and that one that Orioles fans may care about—is that Breslow was far from the only name on the Red Sox list of potential candidates. In fact, Boston was rebuffed by several of those on their wishlist, and apparently didn’t even get an answer from at least one of them.
The Red Sox reportedly requested permission to speak with Sig Mejdal, the Orioles current assistant GM, for their top job. That permission never came. The O’s were described as “dragging their feet,” and ultimately the Red Sox moved on to other candidates.
Now that is some juicy, juicy stuff! But of course, it could also be absolutely nothing. As this MLB Trade Rumors post explains, it’s unclear if Mejdal even wants to be a team’s top baseball executive. If he is interested in that sort of role, it’s possible that he doesn’t view the Red Sox as the right fit for him. He wouldn’t be alone as some others rejected the offer to interview outright this cycle. The Orioles “dragging their feet” could have just as easily been Mike Elias intentionally looking like the bad guy to protect his friend’s interest. But perhaps that is overly kind to Elias and the Orioles.
If Mejdal was interested in the job, and the Orioles simply didn’t want him to go, then that feels rather icky. A person should be able to interview for other opportunities, especially one that would come with an elevated position. Sure, it would stink to see him go to a division rival Boston and build a winner, but you would also hope that the Orioles are confident in the organization they have built out these last five years and have the ability to absorb the loss of an Elias lieutenant.
Several GM jobs remain open. That includes Boston as the job Breslow took actually sits above the GM in their organization. Bloom had been operating without a GM. The Mets have a similar set up. Whomever takes the GM job there would report to David Sterns, their president of baseball operations. And then there are the Marlins, a perennially dysfunctional franchise that just saw Kim Ng leave the GM role when she learned the organization intended to hire someone above her. None of those seem like landing spots for Mejdal.
So the Orioles are likely headed into 2024 with the trio of Elias, Mejdal, and manager Brandon Hyde all still in place since joining up together in November of 2018. That feels pretty good coming off of a 101-win season, a farm system brimming with talent, and the future looking bright.
Offseason Outlook: Baltimore Orioles | MLB Trade Rumors
It’s nice to see everything laid out like this. I’m steeling myself to any chance of the Orioles spending big in free agency. It hasn’t been something this organization has done much since the Miguel Tejada/Javy López/Rafael Palmeiro offseason prior to 2004. But they should absolutely be involved in notable trades for pitching. Going into 2024 with a largely unchanged staff would be malpractice.
‘Essentially gifting the land’: Economists pan land deal with Orioles; state says it will ‘reinvigorate’ Camden Yards | The Baltimore Sun
Stadium deals involving public money never work out for the localities financially. It just does not happen. Study after study reveals that cities and states lose on these contracts. You can be sure that whatever contract does eventually come out of these prolonged talks between the Orioles and the State of Maryland will be the same.
This, that and the other | Roch Kubatko
This Diamondbacks roster is chock full of former Orioles, although not all of them were particularly memorable in the orange and black. Miguel Castro was, and unfortunately he is the one that gave up the walk-off homer last night.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- Corban Joseph turns 35 now. He played 14 games as a utility option for the 2018 Orioles, on the same roster as his older brother Caleb.
- Nate McLouth is 42 today. The outfielder spent a season and a half with the O’s from 2012 through 2013, becoming an important table-setter for the wild card squad in 2012.
- Juan Guzmán is 57 years old. He pitched in 32 games for the O’s between 1998 and ‘99.
- Bob Melvin turns 62. From 1989 through ‘91 he served as the Orioles backup catcher, behind Mickey Tettleton and then Chris Hoiles. Since retiring from his playing career Melvin has become a well-regarded manager. Just this past week he was named manager of the San Francisco Giants.
- The late Sammy Stewart (b. 1954, d. 2018) was born on this day. He served in something of a swingman role for the O’s from 1978 through 1985, appearing in 307 total games, 25 of which were starts.
This day in O’s history
It’s been a slow day in Orioles history, according to Baseball Reference. So, here are some things that have happened outside of Birdland.
1886 - The Statue of Liberty is dedicated by U.S. president Grover Cleveland.
1919 - U.S. Congress overrides President Woodrow Wilson’s veto to pass the Volstead Act and pave the way for Prohibition to begin in January.
1942 - The Alaska Highway is connected to the North American railway network at Dawson Creek in Canada.
1948 - Paul Hermann Müller wins the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of insecticidal properties of DDT, a compound that has now seen its use greatly restricted worldwide due to harm caused to both humans and the environment