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Saturday Bird Droppings: One more starting option is off the board

Lucas Giolito joins the Red Sox, looking back on 2023, and who will break out in 2024.

Cleveland Guardians v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

Good Morning, Birdland!

There was an actual, real, semi-significant move in baseball yesterday. It wasn’t the Orioles that made it. Don’t be ridiculous. No, it was the Red Sox. They signed right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito to a two-year, $38.5 million deal that allows for an opt out after the first season. That sounds like the outcome for a guy that was largely receiving one-year “prove it” types of offers but held out for the one team that was willing to give him a little extra.

Giolito pitched well for the league’s other foot garment-themed squad, accumulating a 3.79 ERA over 121 innings for the White Sox in 2023. But he fell off hard after being dealt, first to the Angels and then the Guardians. Between those two stops he had a 6.96 ERA/6.87 FIP and served up a .918 OPS. It’s not what you want ahead of your first foray into free agency.

The Orioles seemed like a potential fit for Giolito back when he was on the trade market. Instead, they ended up with Jack Flaherty, who was comparably awful so who’s to say if they made out better or not.

It’s possible the O’s talked to Giolito again this offseason, although there were never rumors to suggest as much. The team remains in search of rotation reinforcements, and at times in his career Giolito has performed like a front-half starter. But he’s far from a sure thing, and offering him $38.5 million to find out whether he’s still got it or not doesn’t fit with Elias’ idea of building out a roster. In this instance, you can understand them looking elsewhere.

Perhaps this is an indication that the big move we have all been waiting for is getting closer to fruition though. Teams and players have slightly woken up from their Christmas-induced slumbers. This week we have seen Mitch Garver join the Mariners, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Kevin Kiermaier sign on with the Blue Jays, Chris Flexen head to the White Sox, and now Giolito to Boston.

None of these are blockbusters, but they do indicate that the market has settled to the point that players, agents, and teams are comfortable with the offers that have been made. The problem for the Orioles is that the overwhelming majority of their roster is set. They don’t really need to shop in the mid-tier for much beyond maybe another bullpen arm. Their big need remains a difference-making starter. Despite the Yoshinobu Yamamoto signing being settled more than a week ago, that market has continued to be slow to move. And so, our wait continues.

Links

Is Baltimore a baseball or football city? Stellar 2023 for Orioles and Ravens reignites longtime debate. | The Baltimore Sun
I will absolutely sit the fence here and proclaim Baltimore a “sports city,” for what that’s worth. People love the Ravens, and they have earned that with their perennial success. But they love the Orioles too, indicated by often stellar local TV ratings, even when they stink. Folks around here just love sports.

Looking back on 2023 season filled with Orioles surprises & achievements | Roch Kubatko
It was a special year to be an Orioles fan. It also feels like it’s just the beginning. But that shouldn’t stop us from savoring this moment in time the best we can.

O’s set up well to fortify talent base in the 2024 MLB Draft | Steve Melewski
Great! Now let’s trade some of the existing young talent to make a run at a World Series? What do you say?

Reflecting on the Orioles’ 2023 | MLB.com
Hey, MLB Network talked about us!

Each team’s most likely breakout star for ‘24 | MLB.com
I suppose it depends on how we are defining “breakout” star here. Grayson Rodriguez has already been a very good major league pitcher. His second half performance was insane. It would be neat to see him put together an entire dominant campaign.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Jim Hoey turns 41. He pitched in parts of two seasons for the Orioles form 2006-07 before he was part of the trade package that landed J.J. Hardy from the Twins in 2010.
  • Archie Corbin is 56. He pitched in 18 games as a reliever for the 1996 O’s.
  • Jose Morales celebrates his 79th. The first baseman played in three games for the 1982 squad.

This day in O’s history

The Orioles haven’t done much of anything on this date in history, according to Baseball Reference. So here are some events from beyond Birdland:

1896 - The first hat-trick in Stanley Cup play is scored by Ernie McLea of the Montreal Victorias.

1927 - The first subway line in Asia opens in Tokyo, Japan. It is call the Ginza Line.

1936 - The Flint sit-down strike hits General Motors.