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Sunday Bird Droppings: Free agency is open and the waiting game is on

After last year, we should all know better than to get our hopes up about the Orioles making serious signings

Division Series - Texas Rangers v Baltimore Orioles - Game Two Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 137 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day 2024. If it makes you feel any better, the start of spring training is only about three months away from now. That’s still a while, but it’s less of a while.

We are currently in the lull between the end of the World Series and when things start popping off. Anything could now happen at any time, but deals coming together in mid-November are certainly not the norm, especially high-profile ones.

This is going to be an important offseason for the Orioles if they’re going to achieve the goal of having a team with sustained success across several seasons. There are things that will need to be done to reinforce the roster for next year and for the next couple of years, and they need to do those things without making mistakes (signing or trading for the wrong players, or trading the wrong prospects away) that will hurt their chances of continuing to win.

One crucial question for Mike Elias and the brain trust to consider about each returning player is: How likely is he to do at least as well next year? Some players, and we won’t know who until next year, have just turned in seasons that are better than they will ever have again. Maybe you think this was the high water mark for Anthony Santander. Maybe you don’t believe in Dean Kremer repeating as an acceptable rotation option. Maybe you’re convinced reliever volatility is coming for Yennier Cano or Danny Coulombe.

Elias’s opinion on those matter is going to go a long way towards setting the path that he tries to pursue in the free agency and trade markets. He has already signaled looking for a back-end guy, possibly with closer experience. Whatever name he lands probably won’t be at the top end of whatever you just hoped for.

Around the blogO’sphere

What could extensions for Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson look like? (The Baltimore Banner)
Three recent contract extensions are mentioned here, the only one of which that seems actually relevant as a comparison is Corbin Carroll’s eight year, $111 million (with a ninth year team option to kick it to $134 million) to Gunnar Henderson. I think that would have been pretty close to comparable for Henderson before this year. But after this year, the price of the rock has gone up.

O’s Mike Elias on groundwork laid at GM meetings for what could be swift-moving market (Steve Melewski)
One thing Mike Elias has avoided doing so far this year is tossing off a quick phrase that people latch onto and spin into expectations far beyond what Elias meant, then get mad when he doesn’t meet their imagined expectations.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1980, Orioles pitcher Steve Stone was awarded the AL Cy Young after a season in which he rolled to a 3.23 ERA with 250.2 innings pitched. If we’re being honest, Oakland’s Mike Norris, the runner-up by a margin of just nine points, was more deserving with his 2.53 ERA in 284.1 innings, but the voters of the day weren’t that bright, so Stone’s 25 wins wowed them. This is the franchise’s most recent Cy win.

There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2005 outfielder Sammy Sosa, and 1955 pitcher Don Johnson.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: early American friend/admiral Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729), women’s rights activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815), actress Grace Kelly (1929), gold medal gymnast Nadia Comăneci (1961), and actor Ryan Gosling (1980).

On this day in history...

In 1892, a football player named Pudge Heffelfinger received payment for playing in a game for the Allegheny Athletic Association. History records this as the first professional football player in America.

In 1969, news broke of the My Lai Massacre by US military forces in Vietnam, which had taken place over a year and a half earlier before journalist Seymour Hersh reported on the story.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on November 12. Have a safe Sunday.