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Monday Bird Droppings: Happy birthday, Adley Rutschman

The sky is the limit for the new face of the franchise, who turns 25 today.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Spring training will be here before you know it. This is the final week without any kind of baseball activity. Next week, Orioles pitchers and catchers will report to Sarasota for spring training, and one by one we’ll begin to check off various milestones for the 2023 MLB season — the first pitchers and catchers workout on Feb. 16; the first full squad workout on Feb. 21; the first exhibition game on Feb. 25. This year we’ll have the added bonus of the World Baseball Classic taking place in March, with the tournament running from the 8th through the 21st. And we’re 52 days away from Orioles Opening Day in Boston.

There’s a level of excitement and anticipation for this O’s season that fans haven’t felt in a half-decade or more. No longer is the team entering the year already written off as a lost cause, fielding a non-competitive roster of retreads because winning is “not strategically relevant.” Now, the Orioles are coming off a surprisingly successful season that has raised expectations, with their elite pipeline of talent ready to contribute to a competitive, perhaps postseason-worthy club. As Mike Elias said this weekend, “the rebuild is behind us.”

And the player who sparked that turnaround — the former #1 overall pick, the franchise cornerstone who may already be the best catcher in baseball while also finding time to chug beers with fans — is celebrating his birthday today. Happy 25th, Adley Rutschman.

Of the many reasons to look forward to the 2023 Orioles, perhaps none is bigger than the opportunity to see what Rutschman can do in his first full season in the majors. His arrival with the Orioles last May essentially flipped a switch for the team’s fortunes. The O’s were 16-24 before he arrived and went 67-55 afterward, finishing three games out of a playoff spot, and one wonders if the 2022 Birds could have been postseason-bound had Adley not been injured to start the year. Everything from the club’s pitching performance to its general attitude changed for the better once he showed up. This time, he’ll be with the team from the get-go, and hopefully good things will follow.

Is it a coincidence that Rutschman shares his birthday with Babe Ruth? ...I mean, yes, it is. But if Adley’s career pans out as hoped, someday the Babe might not be known as the only Baltimore baseball legend born on this date.


Rutschman’s hoping his 2nd Oriole season will be even better than his 1st -
He’s set the bar pretty high already, but there’s no reason he can’t clear it.

Orioles’ Terrin Vavra hopeful to be first base option; Heston Kjerstad ‘for sure’ believes he can reach majors in 2023 - The Baltimore Sun
A Kjerstad arrival in the bigs this season is something I’d bet a lot of money against, but something will have gone wonderfully right if he does.

Playoff talk cranked loudest among Orioles - School of Roch
The Orioles have no shortage of confidence going into the season. It’s a welcome change of pace from recent O’s teams that knew they weren’t going to win and, well, didn’t.

Rutschman on fans, Rodriguez on chasing roster spot during O's Birdland Caravan event - Steve Melewski
The Birdland Caravan wrapped up this weekend. Let’s hear from you, Camden Chatters. Who attended one of the events? How was it?

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Before Adley came along, the only player in O’s history with a Feb. 6 birthday was Pedro Álvarez, a fellow highly touted draft pick (selected #2 overall in 2008) who spent six years with the Pirates and then three with the Birds from 2016-2018. Álvarez turns 36 today.

On this date in 2012, the Orioles swapped their top starting pitcher, Jeremy Guthrie, to the Rockies for righties Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom. It was a head-scratching deal at the time, but turned out to be a coup for recently hired GM Dan Duquette. Hammel emerged as the Birds’ most effective hurler when healthy, and Lindstrom was later swapped for 2012 postseason hero Joe Saunders. Guthrie, meanwhile, bombed out in Colorado, lasting less than a season there before salvaging his career with Kansas City.