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Sunday Bird Droppings: The Orioles are linked to a free agent reliever

There aren’t many rumors that involve the Orioles, so every one is worth thinking about

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles have reportedly shown interest in Robert Stephenson, for whatever that is worth.
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 116 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day 2024.

This week, we will be preoccupied with baseball’s winter meetings. Will the Orioles do anything other than pick some dude in the Rule 5 draft? Will they lose anyone in that draft? Are they ever going to sign some free agent to a multi-year contract in the Mike Elias era? Will this be when they make an impactful trade for pitching by giving up some of their high-level prospect stock?

My guess for all of these things is probably not. One thing that I learned over the last year is that what I want Elias to do now that the Orioles have shown some quality is probably more aggressive than whatever he is going to do. So I’m not going to expect any move of consequence coming any day now. It could happen! I will be glad if they get a proven player who seems like they should help over the next two-plus years. But it won’t surprise me when it doesn’t happen.

For those who enjoy when the Orioles name at least comes up in the turning of the rumor mill, here’s one for you from yesterday afternoon:

Stephenson, who will turn 31 before Opening Day next year, has had some spots of big league success, including 2019 in Cincinnati and 2021 in Colorado, but really blossomed after joining the Rays in 2023. Right before you become a free agent is a good time to make a good impression, and Stephenson struck out 60 men in 38.1 innings with Tampa while issuing just eight walks.

What’s that going to be worth for him? One site, MLB Trade Rumors, projected a four year, $36 million contract for Stephenson, though at FanGraphs he’s only projected for $10 million for a single season. I will predict it won’t be the Orioles signing Stephenson if he gets a four-year contract or if he gets more than $10 million for one season.

This is a hypothetical signing that probably wouldn’t be that exciting due to his lack of a consistent track record, but there’s enough there where you could talk yourself into it without too much effort. And also you probably won’t need to, because “showing interest” doesn’t say very much.

There was also a little international prospect news yesterday, with the Orioles adding an 18-year-old Cuban outfielder in the waning days of the 2023 signing period:

It never hurts to have a little bonus money available near the end of the signing period. Good luck to Sánchez as his American professional career begins next year.

Around the blogO’sphere

Baseball America’s deep dive into minor league pitching data produced interesting O’s results (Steve Melewski)
As an organization, the Orioles came out pretty well in the BA analysis of minor league systems. Their lefties in particular, probably led by Cade Povich, were the best of all MLB organizations. Worth keeping in mind against Povich’s underwhelming results.

Orioles enter winter meetings in search of missing pieces (The Baltimore Banner)
Everyone seems to agree the Orioles need a starter and a reliever. Based on Elias’s public statements, this “everyone” is even inclusive of him. Which doesn’t mean he’ll get a starter or a reliever that excites anybody.

Finally, here is a little bit of a look at a Holliday family metal bat home run derby.

Ethan Holliday is in the high school class of 2025. The Orioles will probably not be bad enough next season to have a chance to draft Ethan.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 2014, Nick Markakis officially became a former Oriole as he signed his free agent contract with the Braves. Markakis got four years and $44 million for a deal where he provided 7.1 wins to Atlanta. It seemed to be the determination of Dan Duquette’s front office that the O’s could easily replace Markakis. They turned out to be wrong.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2021 pitcher Konner Wade, 1969-72 infielder Chico Salmon, and 1969-71 catcher Clay Dalrymple. Today is Dalrymple’s 87th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Pillsbury founder Charles Pillsbury (1842), novelist Joseph Conrad (1857), actress Julianne Moore (1960), figure skater Katarina Witt (1965), actress/comedian Tiffany Haddish (1979), and actress Amanda Seyfried (1985).

On this day in history...

In 1800, the Electoral College cast its votes for that year’s election, resulting in a tie on the initial ballot between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. On the other side of the ocean, the French defeated the Austrians in the Battle of Hohenlinden, leading to an Austrian exit from the War of the Second Coalition against Napoleon Bonaparte.

In 1929, President Herbert Hoover delivered a State of the Union address to Congress for the first time. Notably, he sent a written message rather than making a speech.

In 1992, the first text message was sent. It’s now estimated that 18-20 billion text messages are sent per day.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on December 3. Have a safe Sunday.