Good morning, Birdland!
Baseball season is coming, and it feels so good! The Orioles have been dropping all sorts of pre-spring training tidbits all week. There was the hype video of the Oriole Bird packing up the trucks for Sarasota, the team started up the Birdland Caravan fan events, and of course the non-roster invite list.
Mixed in there was the failure of ownership to agree to a long-term lease deal with the Maryland Stadium Authority, yet another bungle in an impressively poor offseason for the Angelos family. However, there is no reason for Orioles fans to panic as any real evidence of the franchise moving simply doesn’t exist. It would have been a rather easy PR win for the team to pull something off, just as the nearby Ravens did, but “easy” isn’t this club’s cup of tea.
Back to the good vibes!
Pitchers and catchers will report to Ed Smith stadium on February 16th with the full squad to follow on the 21st. And while O’s GM Mike Elias is still saying that there could be more additions to the team before then, the odds of that being a move of significance appear long.
A welcome change of pace this week has been the Caravan events, where Elias and others have taken questions from both fans and the media. Not that anything particularly interesting is expected from those moments, but it is fun to hear straight from the source when it comes to roster makeup.
Some of the highlights were that Elias is hoping Grayson Rodriguez breaks camp with the O’s, Kyle Gibson and Cole Irvin are the only two truly locked into rotation spots, DL Hall will be treated like a starter in the spring, and John Means could potentially be back by July.
There is no news here, but talking about baseball is fun, especially when your team should be rather good!
Something else that is fun, although a bit played out at this point, is conversations around how the Orioles’ player development has changed since Elias came in. Rodriguez is the latest one to point this out, and he did so on the Baseball Bar-B-Cast, a podcast hosted by the guys at Céspedes Family BBQ.
"Everything has changed about the organization... except the name."— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) February 2, 2023
Orioles pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez came on today's episode of Baseball Bar-B-Cast and explained how different the O's development system is now compared to 2018.
Full Ep: https://t.co/6sEVAu7jLg pic.twitter.com/p1H22z3AbO
Rodriguez is a great point of reference as he was the final top draft pick of the Dan Duquette era, and can seemingly attest to the archaic ways of 2018 compared to the forward-thinking methods in 2023.
It’s also neat to just hear from Rodriguez, not to mention the other prospects and young players. They just don’t get in front of a microphone or camera as often as their major league counterparts, and so their personalities are a bit of a black box. For me, interviews like this make me even more excited for the righty to debut this season.
Orioles Grayson Rodriguez Joins the Show, & Top 100 Prospects Talk | Baseball Bar-B-Cast
In case you skipped right past the opening soliloquy, here’s the conversation with Rodriguez. A good listen for one of the last pre-baseball weekends for quite a long time.
Baltimore Orioles Top 38 Prospects | FanGraphs
Yet another prospect list! Once again, the O’s get high marks, although FG are lower on Colton Cowser and higher on Coby Mayo than most other outlets.
Revisiting roll call of Orioles’ non-roster invites to spring training | Roch Kubatko
There are oodles of young players on here. Who knows how many games they will get into, but at least we should get slightly more looks at them than we would without the invite.
Sorting Through The Orioles’ Rotation Options | MLB Trade Rumors
I get why Gibson and Irvin are considered the only “locks” due to seniority, but Dean Kremer is better than both of them, and the tea leaves are pointing towards Rodriguez being in the set up as well, although his innings may be limited. Injuries could pop up, but aside from that I think there is only one rotation spot up for grabs, and I would give Kyle Bradish the easy inside track there.
Mets Sign DJ Stewart To Minor League Contract | MLB Trade Rumors
Buck Showalter was the O’s manager when they picked DJ Stewart in 2015, and he was then his first big league manager in 2018. It’s tough to see him making their roster out of the spring, but the guy can handle himself at the plate well enough to be organizational depth.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday! No current or former Orioles were born on this day, according to Baseball Reference. But plenty of other folks beyond Birdland do share your day.
Here’s just a sample: musician Alive Cooper (b. 1948), football player Lawrence Taylor (d. 1959), actor Rob Corddry (b. 1971), and musician Gavin DeGraw (b. 1977).
This day in O’s history
2011 - Free agent Vladimir Guerrero signs a one-year deal with the Orioles. It will prove to be the final season of his Hall-of-Fame career.