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Saturday Bird Droppings: The final weekend without a baseball game

All of the position players will soon be in Sarasota, Basallo is popular, Wells lost weight, and no one is telling us about front office contracts.

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

Good morning, Birdland!

I need all of the position players in Sarasota immediately. We got hit with punch after punch on the pitching front this week. Mark explained it all on Thursday, but it’s worth repeating: Dillon Tate, Félix Bautista, and DL Hall are all dealing with injuries to some degree. None of them sound particularly serious, but there is a chance that Tate and Bautista both open the season on the IL. Not great!

The bullpen was one of the reasons the Orioles returned to relevance a season ago. But there is an expectation of negative regression in 2023 simply because that’s what relievers do! It gets harder to prevent that if two of the more important members of the unit begin the year on the shelf. Hopefully offseason additions Mychal Givens and Andrew Politi can fill in if needed.

Thankfully, there has been less news coming from the starters. All of the likely contenders for a spot in the rotation (apart from Hall, if you count him there) are in camp and healthy. We even got a glimpse of Grayson Rodriguez pitching to battery mate Adley Rutschman on Friday. That is what the spring is all about!

But I am now officially over the pitchers and catchers. Sorry, there’s only so much footage of bullpens I can bare. We’re moving on. Give me videos of guys in the cage or turning two on the infield. I need to talk myself back in Adam Frazier as the Opening Day second baseman.

There is some of this, of course. For example, Coby Mayo is taking big league hacks, and a few of the outfielders have been seen...walking around the outfield. But it’s a trickle.

That will ramp up on Monday and Tuesday as all of the hitters show up and start on-field workouts. And then, the big one: an actual, real life game! Saturday, the 25th, against the Twins. It won’t be on TV because we cannot have nice things. But it will be on radio, so that’s something.


Contract details unknown, GM Mike Elias, manager Brandon Hyde ‘committed’ to Orioles’ future | The Baltimore Sun
The Orioles are not the only team that keeps the details of front office contracts somewhat confidential. But the lack of transparency on Brandon Hyde’s situation is rather odd. It’s also noteworthy that this is not how the organization has always done things. When the elder Angelos was in full control the team put out a press release with exactly how long Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter were under contract, and the expiration of their deals in 2018 was a massive story.

Keith Law picks one player who’s ‘next’ for every team | The Athletic
Samuel Basallo is the name that keeps popping up for the Orioles when analysts talk about sleepers within the organization. It feels similar to how Gunnar Henderson was regarded in 2021, and then Coby Mayo entering 2022. Basallo won’t turn 19 until August, and he plays a demanding position behind the plate, so his growth could be slower, but finding himself on lists like this is a nice early indication of the sort of talent he possesses.

Lighter Wells looking to haul heavier load for Orioles | Roch Kubatko
What the Orioles do with Tyler Wells is one of the more intriguing storylines this spring. He became a more complete pitcher as a starter, turning his secondary pitches into more polished offerings that can put hitters away. But with the emergence of Dean Kremer and Kyle Bradish down the stretch, the signing of Kyle Gibson, the trade for Cole Irvin, and the expected ascendence of Grayson Rodriguez you could argue Wells is the odd man out. Plus, with the revelation that half the bullpen is ailing, Wells may provide the most value to the team in relief.

Gov. Moore names new stadium authority chair amid O’s lease negotiations | The Baltimore Banner
This should be an important first step towards the Orioles and the state of Maryland sorting out a long-term lease at Camden Yards.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Ryan Mountcastle turns 26 today. Drafted as a shortstop out of a Florida high school back in 2015, Mountcastle is now the everyday first baseman for the O’s. The altered left field dimensions at Camden Yards wrecked his power numbers a season ago, but much of his swing data was still promising, so a bounce-back of some significance feels possible.
  • The late Walter Young (b. 1980, d. 2015) was born on this day. His 14-game MLB career was all spent with the 2005 Orioles.
  • Chad Moeller is 48. He was a reserve backstop for the Orioles in 2009, playing in 30 games and providing 0.2 bWAR.
  • A posthumous celebration of Jeff McKnight (b. 1963, d. 2015). He was a backup infielder with the Orioles for two seasons from 1990-91.

This day in O’s history

1954 - The Orioles acquire outfielder Gil Coan from the Washington Senators in exchange for Roy Sievers

2011 - Vladimir Guerrero is officially added to the Orioles roster when the team moves pitcher Alfredo Simon to the restricted list. Simon remains in custody in the Dominican Republic as he is connected to a fatal shooting.