We are now only one week away from Orioles Opening Day! In a mere seven days, the Orioles will play the Red Sox in Boston and the 2023 season will be under way. This is all assuming that there’s not game-disrupting rain on the day, which is always at least a little possibility in any baseball city whose stadium does not have a roof.
Between now and then, there are still five more spring training games to get through. The Orioles are 13-12-2 through their Grapefruit League schedule. Yesterday, they were beaten by the Blue Jays, 2-1. A starting lineup consisting largely of players who are fighting for reserve spots on the team looked about like you’d expect that kind of lineup to look. Dean Kremer pitched decently, allowing two runs in a five-inning start. Bullpen contenders Andrew Politi, Bryan Baker, and Mike Baumann each threw a scoreless inning.
It’s an evening game set for tonight against the Tigers, with a 6:05 first pitch in Sarasota. Unfortunately, this evening weeknight does not merit any kind of TV or radio broadcast, so those of us back in Birdland home territory will just have to sit and wait for the real thing.
There was some small news out of Orioles camp after yesterday’s game. The team announced that outfield prospects Colton Cowser and Heston Kjerstad were each reassigned to minor league camp. They were both able to capitalize on the extra opportunities to make an impression with Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander away from the team at the World Baseball Classic. Spring training results have not historically carried a ton of weight for Mike Elias when making prospect decisions, but hopefully those guys can carry their success on into the minor league regular season and start forcing discussions about how to make some room for them on the big league team.
With those guys reassigned, there are 44 players still remaining in camp. The Opening Day roster, as you know, will be 26 players. That’s a lot of trimming still to be done, though perhaps not a lot of actually hard choices. It seems like it’s mostly just going to be cutting the players you’d expect to be cut, with the possible exception that one non-roster guy might sneak through out of the Franchy Cordero, Ryan O’Hearn, Nomar Mazara group.
As we’ll see in today’s links, there’s also a bit of bullpen health uncertainty that could lead to a different initial roster makeup than we’ve all been assuming for months. This competition, however, seems like it’s going to take place entirely among players who are already on the Orioles 40-man roster.
Around the blogO’sphere
Orioles at #1 on MLB Pipeline’s farm system, again (MLB.com)
The team has been in the top spot since the 2021 midseason ranking. That’s going to change after Gunnar Henderson and Grayson Rodriguez graduate to MLB, but for now it’s another nice rank and one that hopefully portends things getting even better in the near future in Birdland.
Givens unavailable due to knee soreness (School of Roch)
The assumed Orioles bullpen before anyone had reported to spring training could end up being a bit different from the actual season-opening bullpen. Injuries to Givens and Tate may be one part of it.
Adam Frazier on how a veteran fits into the Orioles and elsewhere (Baltimore Baseball)
I’ve got to be honest, Frazier is my #1 expected player to occupy the “This guy isn’t good, why was he even signed?” spot for fans this season. But I hope he can prove me wrong.
Captain Consistent: Infield prospect Jordan Westburg’s ‘morbid’ mentality pushing him towards majors (The Baltimore Sun)
That’s not an adjective put into headlines talking about baseball players very often.
Who is your odd man out for the Orioles rotation? (The Athletic)
Dan Connolly assumes these four are locked into the rotation: Gibson, Irvin, Kremer, Rodriguez. He thinks Tyler Wells is one to get squeezed out. Do you agree? (I do.)
Orioles replacing Dempsey’s with SuperBook Bar and Restaurant (The Baltimore Banner)
It’s very funny to me that it will be named after a sports book without actually being a sports book. The bar space will be, apparently, looking to get people to gamble through an app that is not yet live. Time’s running out, sports book.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 1975-80 first baseman Lee May, 1968 Maryland-born swingman Bruce Howard, and 1963-67 outfielder Sam Bowens.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: geologist William Smith (1769), psychologist Erich Fromm (1900), filmmaker Akira Kurosawa (1910), 4 minute mile pioneer Roger Bannister (1929), basketball Hall of Famer Jason Kidd (1973), and actress Keri Russell (1976).
On this day in history...
In 1775, Patrick Henry of Virginia delivered a speech including one of the now-famous phrases from the American struggle for independence: “Give me liberty or give me death!” A 2011 biography recorded Henry as having 67 enslaved people when he died, none of whom were freed upon his death.
In 1806, the Lewis and Clark expedition, which reached its Pacific Ocean destination the previous year, began a six-month journey home.
In 1933, Germany’s Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, which established Adolf Hitler as dictator of the country.
In 2001, the Russian space station Mir reached the planned end of its lifespan and was directed towards the surface. The station broke up during atmospheric re-entry and the pieces fell into the ocean near Fiji.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 23. Have a safe Thursday.