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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Pitchers and catchers report today

Baseball season is here, the young guys are ready, and PECOTA isn’t buying it.

Syndication: Sarasota Herald-Tribune Mike Lang / USA TODAY NETWORK

Good morning, Birdland!

Today is the day. We’ve waited through an admittedly mild winter here in the Baltimore area to have baseball back, and it is finally here. Or at least, some semblance of baseball is here.

Portions of the roster have already been in Sarasota for a while now, and there won’t be any on-field action for us to see just yet. In fact, this is most likely a day full of paperwork and logistics for the folks just rolling in. “Here are your hotel arrangements. The workout schedule is in your folder. Let’s get you weighed in.”

Even still, this is an important marker in the year. Pitchers and catchers report today with their first workout coming tomorrow. The first full-squad workout will come on the 21st.

Those words fill the heart of every baseball fan with joy, even more so for the 2023 Orioles. It’s a team poised to improve on a surprisingly good 2022. For them, Opening Day cannot arrive soon enough.

Of course, it’s important to remain humble, and the release of the 2023 PECOTA projections came just in time to provide that service to the Birds.

The Baseball Prospectus system projects the Orioles to go 74-88, finish fifth in the AL East, and have just a 3% chance of making it to the postseason. It’s not great!

But before we take on the “Orioles vs. The World” mentality remember that it’s just a projection. It can change. And it’s also based on data, not just human opinion.

A quick glance at other teams tells me that fans of the Mariners, Cardinals, Guardians, and Giants will also not be thrilled with this output. But that’s why they play the games!


Orioles announce Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band coming to Camden Yards | WBAL
Sportswriters of a certain age rejoice! Bruce Springsteen will now perform twice in Baltimore this year. First in April at First Mariner Royal Farms CFG Bank Arena, and now in September at Oriole Park. While I won’t be first in line for tickets this is no doubt a big get for the town and the venue.

Orioles position preview: Outfield remains intact, but consistency a question entering 2023 | The Baltimore Sun
Anthony Santander inches ever closer to becoming a full-time DH. The 34 games he spent in that spot last year were the most of his career, and I could see them doubling in 2023. The Orioles need his thump in the middle of their lineup, but they could do without his glove. A starting tandem of Austin Hays and Kyle Stowers in the corners could be preferable for the time being before the eventual promotion of Colton Cowser.

With rebuild in rearview mirror, the young Orioles are ‘excited to see what we’ve got’ with eye on playoffs | The Baltimore Sun
This Orioles team is not overwhelmingly young, but many of their key contributors are. Sometimes that can be an asset. You don’t know what you don’t know.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Brian Williams turns 54. He pitched in 13 games for the 1997 Birds.
  • The late Luis Mercedes (b. 1968, d. 2019) was born on this day. His Orioles’ career spanned three seasons from 1991-93 as a reserve outfielder.
  • Chuck Estrada is 85 years old. The righty had six seasons in Baltimore from 1960 through ‘64 but never eclipsed the heights of his rookie season, when he made the all-star team and earned votes for Rookie of the Year and MVP.

This day in history

2012 - MLB voids the contract between the Orioles and Korean teenager Seong-Min Kim. The move had been protested by the Korea Baseball Association on grounds that the Orioles signed Kim without obtaining clearance from the proper authorities.

2018 - The O’s add veteran pitcher Andrew Cashner on a two-year, $16-million deal.