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Saturday Bird Droppings: Winter Meetings Eve

Pitching roles to be determined, more on the Camden Yards lease, and a big conference in Nashville.

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Good Morning, Birdland!

One of the biggest weeks of the offseason calendar is nearly here. The 2023 Winter Meetings get underway in Nashville on Sunday, and it’s likely that many of the big players are already settling into their hotel arrangements.

While the Orioles and their methodical approach are far from the center of attention in baseball right now, it’s also impossible to ignore the team that won 101 games, boasts a robust minor league system, and features a couple of obvious roster holes. At least on the trade market, if the Orioles want a player they have the means to make it happen.

Free agency is a different story. Indications that the Orioles had touched base with a big name like Aaron Nola (before he re-signed with the Phillies) would seem to show that they are ready to spend. But until they actually do it, it’s tough to believe that anything is more than noise.

O’s GM Mike Elias has been clear about his plans. He wants to add a starting pitcher to the front half of the rotation, and he wants someone with a track record to replace a portion of what they will miss with Félix Bautista recovering from Tommy John surgery. So far, he’s done nothing.

That may change this week as executives, agents, and players are all in the same place for several days. The Winter Meetings are often a time where big moves get made or at least built towards. But it’s not a guarantee, and if we know the Orioles they aren’t always the quickest to get something done.

Links

Delving into HOF Contemporary Era candidates | MLB.com
Davey Johnson and Hank Peters are both on the ballot for the Hall of Fame. Johnson obviously had himself a notable playing career, but this nomination is in reference to his contributions as a manager. His work with the Orioles there was brief but solid before he had a falling out with ownership. Peters was the O’s GM that built the 1983 World Series team.

Orioles’ roles for Wells, Hall still unclear as Winter Meetings near | Baltimore Baseball
My expectation is that both Tyler Wells and DL Hall will head to Sarasota “in the starting conversation.” But if things go to plan it seems far more advantageous to use them both in the bullpen. The Orioles need late-inning relief help, and both of them fit the bill, even if they also add a high-profile veteran to the mix.

More thoughts on Winter Meetings as Orioles prepare arrival in Nashville | Roch Kubatko
A lot of groundwork is being laid here to suggest that the Orioles may not make any big, splashy moves during the Winter Meetings themselves. But conversations will be had. Rumors may swirl. I’m still going to get my hopes up, though!

Five things to know about Maryland’s investment in the Orioles and Ravens | The Baltimore Sun
The Orioles lease at Camden Yards expires at the end of this month. At this point it is clear that both the team and the governor lied to the fanbase that a new deal was done back in September. But what still seems likely is that some sort of agreement will come together that keeps the two sides together through 2024 at least while they sort out the development deal that the Angelos family is so hungry for.

Previewing the Orioles Offseason Plans | Ep. 117 | The Warehouse Podcast
If you need 90 minutes of Orioles-related background noise on this fine Saturday then look no further!

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Bryan Baker turns 29 today. The hard-throwing righty has spent the last two seasons in the Orioles bullpen and figures to vie for a role in 2024 as well.

This day in O’s history

1958 - Baltimore and Cleveland make a swap. The O’s add second baseman Bobby Avila in exchange for pitcher Russ Heman and cash.

1971 - Frank Robinson’s time with the Orioles comes to an end. He is traded to the Dodgers along with pitcher Pete Richert. The Orioles get pitcher Doyle Alexander, pitcher Bob O’Brien, catcher Sergio Robles, and outfielder Royle Stillman in the deal.

2013 - The Orioles trade closer Jim Johnson to the Athletics in exchange for infielder Jemile Weeks.