Good morning, Camden Chatters.
If you feel like this has been a dreadfully boring offseason for the Orioles, you’re not alone. It’s been well over a month since the O’s made their first (and only) addition to the major league roster by signing closer Craig Kimbrel to a one-year contract. Since then, it’s been silence, other than a few minor league signings and waiver claims. What seemed to be the Orioles’ top priority this winter, upgrading the starting rotation, remains unaddressed with less than a month before pitchers and catchers report to spring training Feb. 15.
The Birds’ inactivity is hard not to notice, and FanGraphs’ Ben Clemens sure did. As Clemens writes, it’s becoming increasingly perplexing why the Orioles don’t seem willing to spend some money to help push an already talented team over the top. The O’s, who FanGraphs projects to have the third-lowest payroll in baseball, theoretically should have the financial flexibility to add an impact pitcher without breaking the budget, especially considering that their best players — Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson — are on rookie contracts and aren’t arbitration eligible yet. If ever there were a time to open the wallet, Clemens argues, it’s when you’re a team loaded with inexpensive young talent that’s coming off a 101-win season. Strike while the iron is hot — and before your homegrown core starts getting pricey.
Clemens notes the precedent set by other clubs that went through lengthy rebuilds, particularly the Astros, who slashed their payroll while they were enduring their uncompetitive seasons but then invested heavily in free agents and contract extensions for their own players once the team was ready to win again. That Houston rebuild, of course, prominently featured Orioles general manager Mike Elias, who was then the Astros assistant GM. It appears his current team’s ownership won’t give him nearly the same amount of financial leeway as his previous employer. If that’s the case, the Orioles are hamstringing themselves for no particular reason. No matter how many great young players your team has — and for the Orioles, it’s a whole lot — just think how much stronger the club can be if you’re willing to invest in established, outside talent to fill holes on the roster. It’s just good business, and it’d be nice to see ownership do everything it can to keep the team as competitive as possible.
There’s still a few weeks of offseason left, of course. Perhaps the Orioles will pull off a surprise big signing or at least a trade to really energize the fans heading into the 2024 season. Right now, though, it’s starting to feel like the O’s are missing a golden opportunity to do something bold.
An Oriole three-peat: Three years, three different No. 1 ranked prospects - Steve Melewski
The Orioles have had Baseball America’s #1 prospect three years in a row. There are 21 teams who have never had three #1 prospects at all. This just in: the O’s farm system is loaded.
A visitor’s guide to Orioles spring training in Sarasota - BaltimoreBaseball.com
If you’re planning on going to spring training at Sarasota this year, Rich Dubroff has all the information you’ll need to make it a great trip. Even if it is Florida.
Anne Arundel County’s first 2024 baby named after Oriole - WBAL
Something tells me this isn’t the first and won’t be the last kid in the region to be named Adley. Expect to see a larger-than-usual number of Gunnars born in the next few years, too.
Jim Palmer accuses former friend of defrauding him of $1 million - The Baltimore Banner
This is such a sad story, made infuriating by the fact that the con artist took advantage of the Palmer family by pretending to befriend Jim’s autistic stepson. Throw this guy in jail for life.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on Jan. 19: left-hander Rick Krivda (54), third baseman and rec specs aficionado Chris Sabo (62), and the late outfielder Fred Valentine (b. 1935, d. 2022).
On this date in 2013, legendary Orioles manager Earl Weaver died while on an Orioles-themed cruise in the Caribbean. He left a legacy as one of the most successful skippers in baseball history, winning 1,480 regular season games with the Birds and taking them to four World Series, while his fiery temperament in the dugout made him one of the game’s biggest personalities. The Hall of Famer was honored with a bronze statue at Camden Yards as part of the club’s Legends Celebration, unveiled just months before his death.