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Wednesday Bird Droppings: The offseason on-deck circle

Waiting on the pitching market to move, Kimbrel’s fit with the O’s, and Hyde speaks.

Washington Nationals v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Brandon Sloter/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

We were under the impression that the Shohei Ohtani signing would really get things moving around baseball. Once the biggest domino fell, it would have a natural impact on those behind. Well, it’s been four days since the first report that Ohtani had agreed to a deal with the Dodgers, and that hasn’t exactly been the case.

Perhaps that started to change late on Tuesday. The Giants agreed to a six-year, $113-million deal with Jung Hoo Lee, a 25-year-old outfielder that’s coming over from the KBO this year. Finally, the Giants were able to hand someone (anyone!) a big check after they were rebuffed by Aaron Judge a year ago and Ohtani just this week.

That doesn’t change much for the Orioles and their interests, though. This team is supposed to be chasing a starting pitcher, preferably a very good one. That market hasn’t moved much recently, and indications are that even the four-year, $80 million contract that Eduardo Rodriguez landed with the Diamondbacks would be too rich for Mike Elias’ blood. So that likely writes off adding a Jordan Montgomery or Blake Snell as well.

If you stick in free agency, that pushes the Orioles into a tier that’s looking at Marcus Stroman, Lucas Giolito (depending on how much you weigh his post-trade implosion), Shota Imanaga (if the O’s are OK paying a posting fee), and maybe Michael Wacha.

We know the Orioles like Wacha. They talked to him about a contract last offseason before he signed with the Padres and had a nice season. But he is not a workhorse type to lead a rotation. The 134.1 innings is the most he’s thrown in a season since 2017. Maybe he would make sense on a one-year pact, but you can understand from his perspective if he thinks he could find better elsewhere.

Once again, all eyes turn to the trade market. Dylan Cease, Shane Bieber, and Corbin Burnes all remain in the same place they started the winter. And there have been no murmurs of movement. The hold up could be the plethora of free agent options still available. Why would a team give up prospects if they still have some sort of shot to add a free agent. After all, it’s only money.

The holiday season has occasionally served as a deadline for some free agents. If they are a big enough name, they have the power to tell teams (and their agent) “I want to know where I’m playing by Christmas.” But trade candidates have no such power. So, if the Orioles aren’t seriously involved with any of the free agent arms, we might have a long wait ahead of us.

Links

Is this pitcher a bit overlooked in the Baltimore rotation? | Steve Melewski
The pitcher referenced is Dean Kremer, and to the proposed question I say...no? It feels like most people appropriately rate Kremer. He’s no bum. Quite the contrary. He’s capable of delivering league average performance over 150+ innings. That is inherently valuable, and it’s why he is rather locked into a rotation spot for the O’s. But he feels a lot better in the five spot rather than the four. I’m not particularly interested in him starting another postseason game. Are you?

González on Kimbrel: “He’s a great acquisition for us and I think he’s going to fit in perfectly in the clubhouse.” | Roch Kubatko
It’s always interesting to hear the coaches talk about clubhouse fit. That has seemed to be a focus under the Elias regime, and it should be. These players spend a lot of time together. They don’t have to be best friends, necessarily, but they should enjoy one another’s company enough.

Hyde on O’s playoff failure, his managerial experience, Westburg | Baltimore Baseball
These comments are a little old at this point. They came from Brandon Hyde’s time at the Winter Meetings last week. But there is shockingly little to talk about with the O’s right now, so here we are.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Carson Fulmer turns 30. The righty appeared in three games out of the bullpen for the 2020 O’s.
  • The late Billy Loes (b. 1929, d. 2010) was born on this day. He spent four seasons with the Orioles from 1956 through ‘59 as a swingman arm. That included an all-star season in 1957.
  • A posthumous birthday for Hank Majeski (b. 1916, d. 1991). The infielder played in 16 games with the Orioles in 1955, his final big league season.

This day in O’s history

1994 - The O’s lose closer Lee Smith, the major league leader in saves the previous season, via free agency. He signs a two-year deal with the Angels.

2001 - The Orioles acquire pitcher Chris Brock from the Phillies en exchange for pitcher John Wasdin.

2018 - With the top pick in the Rule 5 Draft, the Orioles select shortstop Richie Martin from the Oakland Athletics.