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Sunday Bird Droppings: Another Orioles starting pitcher rumor pops up on the radar

Does James Paxton interest you more than he interests me?

Los Angeles Dodgers v Boston Red Sox
They call him Big Maple, because he’s Canadian.
Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 74 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. In terms of uniform numbers, that is Félix Bautista days to go until baseball resumes. Let’s all take a moment to be a little sad about the fact that we won’t be seeing Bautista’s #74 in a game for the Orioles this year. Okay, no wallowing. We move on.

An Orioles free agent rumor popped up yesterday! How seriously you want to take it is up to you. Tucked into a Jon Heyman article at The New York Post is a note about the O’s, saying that they have “considered every starter from Marcus Stroman on down.” He adds particularly that the O’s have had an eye on free agent James Paxton.

The biggest thing to consider here is that Paxton is a Scott Boras client. That’s significant because Heyman is generally a guy who is directly plugged in on the Boras players - from the agent side. Maybe the Orioles are interested in Paxton and maybe they aren’t, but one thing that we can be sure of is that Heyman saying the O’s are interested is definitely more about trying to lure in other teams. Like, look, you’ll only have to out-bid the Orioles!

In 2023, the 6’4” lefty Paxton was in action for the Red Sox, tossing 96 innings over 19 starts. He has not thrown more than 100 innings since 2019, and his career high in innings is 160.1. He hasn’t been on the mound! He threw a combined 21.2 innings in the 2020-2022 seasons. And it’s not like he was great when he pitched last year - he had a 4.50 ERA and 4.68 FIP.

If the Orioles are interested here, that’s probably about price. Paxton got a $4 million salary in 2023 and he doesn’t seem like he got results that would make that number go much higher, if at all. It might also be a case of the Orioles thinking they can take a homer-prone guy - Paxton allowed 18 homers last year, a 1.7 HR/9 - and seeing if his problem would be better by pitching in front of Walltimore.

I’ve heard worse ideas. Some of the trade proposals floating around for Corbin Burnes or Dylan Cease, for instance. I’ve heard better ideas also. The Orioles might as well have tried to bring back Kyle Gibson if they were going to just sign this level of pitcher. They didn’t strike early, so that was ruled out early on. I’d roll with DL Hall or Tyler Wells sooner than Paxton too.

As ever, my rule of baseball rumors is this: Probably nothing will happen. If you hate the idea of Paxton on the Orioles, good news! You aren’t likely to worry about it. But it’s worth keeping an eye on, because it feels like the Orioles are going to have to do something with the rotation before the start of spring training. It’s not farfetched that an underwhelming signing of Paxton could end up being the thing.

Around the blogO’sphere

It can be frustrating waiting for a trade that may never come (Steve Melewski)
If you think the Orioles need to improve and you’re waiting for them to do it, it’s easy to be impatient about that. Maybe they don’t need to improve as much as I fear, or maybe they’ll pull off that improvement some time in the month between now and the start of spring training.

Here’s another rumor that doesn’t have to do with signing free agents:

I don’t go to The Washington Times for Orioles news - or at all - so we can all take this with a grain of salt. I’m skeptical because of that price. It seems too high, if the Yankees are getting $25 million per year. But maybe the jersey patch value has escalated. Or maybe this, much like last year’s story about the Orioles exploring the sale of Camden Yards naming rights, is something that is not as close as some reporting makes it sound.

If T. Rowe Price patches are on Orioles jerseys this year, then I guess we’ll know. And we’ll have another thing to be annoyed about when John Angelos doesn’t spend money on free agents. $15 million per year is not chump change.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1963, the Orioles and White Sox made a trade that sent future Hall of Famers in either direction. Among the several players swapped, the O’s sent knuckler Hoyt Wilhelm to Chicago and received shortstop Luis Aparicio.

In 1993, the Orioles acquired another future Hall of Famer, receiving Maryland-born and raised Harold Baines in a deal with the Athletics.

There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 1990 four-game pitcher Danny Boone, and 1984-85 infielder Wayne Gross. Today is Gross’s 72nd birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Roman leader Marc Antony (80 BC), early American traitor Benedict Arnold (1741 AD), novelist John Dos Passos (1896), writer/director Steven Soderbergh (1963), rapper LL Cool J (1968), and musician Dave Grohl (1969).

On this day in history...

In 1639, then-colony Connecticut put into effect the Fundamental Orders, recognized as the world’s first written constitution that was used to form a government.

In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill began a conference in Casablanca to determine the next course of the Allies in World War II. By the end of the ten days, the two issued a declaration proclaiming that the goal of the Allies would be the unconditional surrender of the Axis.

In 1973, Elvis Presley held a concert in Hawaii that was broadcast live by satellite to the world. It’s thought to be the most-watched broadcast by a solo entertainer in the history of television. The concert did not even air in the US until April.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 14. Have a safe Sunday.