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Saturday Bird Droppings: The Orioles tendered everyone

Theoretical trades, non-tenders from around the league, and another change to the pitch clock.

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

Good morning, Birdland!

One of the big offseason mile markers has come and gone: the non-tender deadline. In a somewhat surprising move, the Orioles either agreed to deals or tendered contracts to every single one of their eligible players.

In general, the list was made up of talented players that were in no danger of being non-tendered. But there was some speculation that the likes of Keegan Akin, Ryan McKenna, and even Jorge Mateo might have seen their time with the Orioles come to an end. Instead, they will stay put for now.

The Orioles were fortunate to already have plenty of wiggle room on the 40-man roster. Their class of Rule 5-eligible players wasn’t enticing enough for them to protect any of them. That made the non-tender decisions even easier.

One element of the non-tender deadline that I personally hate is the immediate (and often uninformed) outrage from a portion of the fan base on whatever decision the team makes, as if it is all that consequential. “wow, ryan mckenna. print the world series tickets now. lol”

Seriously, go look at the responses to the Orioles’ tweet announcing the decisions. Several people are confused why free agents like Kyle Gibson and Aaron Hicks aren’t listed. Someone has a problem that [insert literally any player] was given a contract. And then others still are concerned that pre-arbitration players, like Gunnar Henderson, aren’t mentioned at all.

In reality, the decision to keep the fringier guys is something of an insurance policy for the Orioles. It keeps their options open. Maybe they can swing a trade involving one or more of them. If not, it gives them some depth going into the spring. But just because they have been tendered a contract doesn’t guarantee they will be a member of the 2024 Orioles.

More importantly, these moves should in no way prevent the Orioles from accomplishing their goals this winter. They needed pitching before, they still need pitching now. There are several intriguing young hitters that could push their way to Baltimore, and that can still happen.

Links

Diving into an imaginary trade package for Burnes | Roch Kubatko
A deal for Corbin Burnes would make perfect sense for the Orioles in some ways. That is, if they they could also get a contract extension done. If not, then I would imagine Mike Elias looks elsewhere for a pitcher with years of control.

10 most interesting players added to baseball’s free-agent pool | The Athletic
Brandon Woodruff would be an interesting name for the Orioles to add, likely on a two-year deal that comes with the expectation of a lost 2024. Would be pretty cool to enter 2025 with both Woodruff and Félix Bautista beefing up the pitching staff.

Clock, Stock, and Two Smoking Seconds | FanGraphs
It seems likely that the pitch clock is going to have an additional two seconds trimmed off with the runners on base. The data presented here suggests that game times are unlikely to be impacted too much.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • The late Steve Bechler (b. 1979, d. 2003) was born on this day. The right-handed pitcher debuted with the Orioles in 2002, appearing in three games that season. During the following Spring Training he collapsed while participating in conditioning drills and tragically passed away.
  • Jamie Moyer turns 61 today. In a 25-season career, the southpaw played for eight different teams, including the Orioles. From 1993 through ‘95 Moyer tossed 416.2 innings, mostly as a starter, for the Birds.

This day in O’s history

1954 - The Orioles and Yankees complete a 17-player trade that lands outfielder Gene Woodling, shortstop Willy Miranda, pitchers Harry Byrd and Jim McDonald, and catchers Gus Triandos and Hal Smith in Baltimore.

1964 - Brooks Robinson is voted AL MVP, beating out Mickey Mantle for the award.