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Friday Bird Droppings: Wondering when the Orioles will make a move

The O’s haven’t made a major league addition to their roster since Craig Kimbrel on Dec. 6. Will they do anything else before spring training?

World Series - Arizona Diamondbacks v. Texas Rangers - Game Two
Pictured: A guy the Orioles won’t be signing.
Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

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.


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Orioles birthdays and history

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