Good morning, Birdland!
It’s an important week for Orioles boss Mike Elias. Yesterday he was named MLB’s Executive of the Year, a worthy honor coming off the team’s 101-win season that defied pre-season expectations and included their first AL East crown since 2014. But that was just beginning.
This week is the GM Meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona, which sorta feels like the official kick off to the offseason. Free agency is underway. Qualifying offers have been handed out. Trades can proceed. Rarely are flashy moves made at this conference, but conversations can be had that set up blockbusters of the future. Considering where the Orioles currently sit in baseball’s pecking order, they should be fairly active in the months ahead.
Elias wasn’t about to tell anyone about his specific goals for this winter, but he did give out some encouraging quotes to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.
He explained that he wants the Orioles to “remain competitive forever...you’re not going to win 100 games every year, but we don’t ever want to get back to losing 100 games. I don’t think there should be any reason for that.”
We may need to get additional clarification on what “competitive” means. After all, there is quite a bit of room between 100 wins and 100 losses. That space is not entirely occupied by competitive teams. But at face value it does say that Elias himself does not envision cyclical tear downs and rebuilds. It was a one-time tear down.
Elias also got into player contract extensions a bit, saying he was “really hopeful that [continued success] involves retaining some of these guys beyond their initial years of contract status with the Orioles.” Of course, Elias does not entirely hold the pursestrings for the organization, but he certainly has a lot of influence. So he may need to look in the mirror when saying this stuff.
Separate from that article, Elias told Feinsand that the Orioles do have some clear goals for the offseason. Specifically, they want to add pitching. He didn’t name any players but did say he hopes to add “one in the rotation and on in the back end of the bullpen.” Going one tiny step forward he clarified that he would like for the rotation piece to fit in the “front half” of the team’s current set-up.
It’s not exactly a revelation. If the Orioles are going to improve their World Series chances then their rotation needs to advance. Executives are always going to use tempered language, so hopefully when Elias says “front half” he truly means a veteran ace type. Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez were brilliant this past season. Let’s give them an elite teammate to help them build on it!
At least we are talking about the Orioles being proactive and rather than reserved. Now it actually needs to happen. The team cannot afford to sit on its hands this winter.
Baltimore becoming attractive destination for discerning free agents | MLB.com
Funny how winning games and telling agents you are ready to spend a little bit of money makes players more interested in playing for you. We should look into this.
2023-24 MLB offseason: Bowden’s 24 predictions for signings, trades, hirings and more | The Athletic
We can all stop worrying about extensions for Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden just predicted that both will sign long-term deals this offseason, so now we KNOW it won’t happen.
Bigger winter priority: Starting rotation or bullpen? | Steve Melewski
It’s the rotation for me. If you add to the rotation then it likely frees up someone like Tyler Wells or cements a DL Hall in the bullpen. That naturally improves things. You still need to add a veteran arm, but that feels doable in many different ways. Finding a true rotation upgrade is far more difficult.
Orioles questions about Henderson, versatility, pitching and Elias | Roch Kubatko
Roch touches on the Orioles tendency to move players around the diamond in 2023. It doesn’t look like something they change moving forward. They simply have too many young talented players coming up through the system. In order to get them all in the lineup a few times a week they will have to keep on shuffling.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- Carlos Casimiro turns 47. He appeared in two games as a DH or pinch hitter for the 2000 Orioles. He went 1-for-8 with a double and three RBI.
- The late Dwight Smith (b. 1963, d. 2022) was born on this day. He played outfield for the Orioles in 1994. His son, Dwight Jr., appeared in two seasons with the O’s between 2019 and 2020.
- A posthumous birthday for Wally Westlake (b. 1920, d. 2019). He played a little outfield for the Orioles in 1955.
This day in O’s history
1966 - Frank Robinson is deservedly named AL MVP after winning the Triple Crown.
1991 - Cal Ripken Jr. beats out Tigers slugger Cecil Fielder to win AL MVP. Ripken hit .323 with 34 home runs.
2012 - Former Orioles general manager Lee MacPhail dies at age 95. MacPhail had a Hall of Fame career that included a stint in Baltimore from 1959-65 that laid the groundwork for the Golden Era of the organization.