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Wednesday Bird Droppings: The offseason could start today

Orioles winter priorities, staying power of the Rule 5, and minor league changes.

Syndication: Arizona Republic Rob Schumacher/Arizona Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Good morning, Birdland!

Despite a valiant comeback attempt late, the Diamondbacks ultimately fell to the Rangers 11-7 on Tuesday night. That puts Texas on the doorstep of a World Series title as they now lead 3-1 in the best-of-seven set. That means Game 5 tonight could be the end of the baseball season.

Although the Orioles off-season basically started a few weeks ago, the league’s off-season gets going once the World Series concludes. We should see qualifying offers extended at that point. Five days after the World Series is when free agents can start signing, and the non-tender deadline for arbitration-eligible players comes just a few days later. After that, teams and players are free to move about their business.

Of course, it rarely happens that expeditiously. Not much happens before Thanksgiving, and only a few more intriguing deals occur before the end of the calendar year. But the point is that it’s possible!

The Orioles should be right in the mix this winter. We’ve said this before, but this year there is absolutely no excuse to be conservative. The team just won 101 games, has oodles of prospects in the pipeline, and payroll room to add significant salary (regardless of what John Angelos says).

Adding a marquee name to the pitching staff should be the top priority. That probably applies to both the rotation and bullpen.

However they get that done can inform how other business is handled. They need to make room in the outfield for some of their top prospects. And they probably need to add some power to the lineup. Perhaps those goals are connected.

If you prefer to keep your expectations rather low in hopes of not being disappointed by the inevitable, I get it. But this really should be a landmark off-season in Baltimore.


Will Orioles continue to take part in Rule 5 draft? | Baltimore Baseball
If the right name is there then sure. The team doesn’t have many obvious players to protect from the Rule 5 themselves, so they might have some extra room on the 40-man to get an intriguing talent into the spring.

Thoughts and quotes on Orioles minor league development and positive environment | Roch Kubatko
The Orioles have made some changes down on the farm already. They have earned the benefit of the doubt with this stuff. If they make a decision in regards to developing young players it was probably the right one.

6 right-handed starting pitchers the Orioles could target in free agency | Baltimore Banner
Based on the way Mike Elias has spoken about free agent pitchers, it’s unlikely to see the Orioles investing much going down that avenue. But there is reason to think the team would do a short-term deal with a veteran to put at the back of the rotation now that the younger in-house arms can lead the unit.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Eric Hanhold turns 30. He pitched 10 games in relief for the 2021 Orioles.
  • Steven Tolleson is 40 today. Back in 2012 he has a 29-game stint with the O’s as a utility bench option.
  • Fernando Valenzuela celebrates his 63rd birthday. Long after Fernandomania had subsided in Los Angeles, the southpaw pitched in 32 games for the Orioles in 1993.
  • The late Jim Pyburn (b. 1932, d. 2011) was born on this day. From 1955 through ‘57 he was a backup third baseman and outfielder in Baltimore.

This day in O’s history

1960 - O’s shortstop Ron Hansen is named AL Rookie of the Year, garnering 22 of 24 votes. Two other Orioles receive the remaining two votes: Chuck Estrada and Jim Gentile.

1979 - The Orioles are sold for $12.3 million to Edward Bennett Williams, an attorney that had represented Frank Sinata, Jimmy Hoffa, and U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy among others.