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Tuesday Bird Droppings: The Orioles are no closer to signing a lease

The O’s didn’t make any moves on the first day of the Winter Meetings, and they’ve been similarly stagnant in lease negotiations with the state.

SPORTS-BBA-RUIZ-COLUMN-BZ Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The first full day of MLB’s Winter Meetings in Nashville yesterday didn’t exactly spark a frenzy of player movement. In fact, it was a literal snoozefest:

The Orioles joined almost every other MLB club in making no additions to their team on Monday, though Mike Elias says they’ve been active in free agent and trade discussions, which you can read more about in the links below. Perhaps the Orioles will make a move today or tomorrow before the meetings disperse. If not the Orioles, please, somebody do something to liven up the party. Give that snoring sportswriter a reason to wake up.

In the meantime, the O’s have been similarly stagnant in their never-ending ballpark lease negotiations with the state of Maryland. The deadline is Dec. 31 and the Orioles still seem to be miles away from reaching an agreement. According to The Baltimore Banner’s Andy Kostka, the hold-up is related to developmental rights at the Camden Yards complex, which John Angelos and the Orioles insist on including as part of the new lease agreement while the state wants to negotiate that issue separately. The impasse has further delayed an already drawn-out process, and further inflamed the contingent of conspiracy-theorist O’s fans who constantly worry that the franchise is going to be moved to Nashville or wherever.

Let’s be clear: a lease will get done at some point. The Orioles aren’t leaving Baltimore. Relax. Still, it’d be nice to have an agreement sooner rather than later, which would open up $600 million in state funds to upgrade Oriole Park. There are plenty of elements of the still-beautiful ballpark that could use some modernizing (a new sound system, anyone?), and the longer it takes the O’s to agree to a lease, the longer it’ll take to implement said upgrades. Plus, no matter how remote the chances of the O’s ever relocating, there’s something to be said for the peace of mind that comes with a binding lease, which would officially eliminate the possibility for good.

So can we just make this official, please, and not have to worry about this stuff again for another 30 years?

Links

Orioles ‘active’ in market for pitching, source says - The Baltimore Banner
The Orioles have reportedly been in trade discussions for White Sox ace Dylan Cease, and I wouldn’t hate that at all.

MLBPipeline analyst talks O’s prospect depth for possible trades (plus Hyde on Holliday) - Steve Melewski
Jonathan Mayo, for what it’s worth, thinks now is the time for the O’s to make a Cease-like acquisition. I feel like they kind of have to. They have too many good players for too few spots that it makes sense to package some of them for a big arm.

Elias on urgency, attempts to find pitching, bargaining with top prospects, and more - School of Roch
If you were expecting Elias to whet your appetite for Orioles moves, instead he might slow your roll. It doesn’t sound as if the O’s are on the verge of doing anything particularly significant.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 69th birthday to Gary Roenicke, the right-handed half of an effective outfield platoon with John Lowenstein that got both of them inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame. Other former Orioles born on Dec. 5 include right-handed pitchers Gene Harris (59), Bill Swaggerty (67), and John Papa (83).

On this date in 1998, the Orioles signed veteran first baseman Will Clark to a two-year deal. He essentially switched places with Rafael Palmeiro, who had spent five years with the Orioles before signing with the Rangers, where Clark had spent five years (as a replacement for Palmeiro after he left the Rangers the first time in 1993). Got all that? Anyway, “Will the Thrill” hit well for the Orioles when he was on the field but spent a lot of time battling injuries, limited to 156 games over two years before the O’s traded him to St. Louis in 2000.