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Friday Bird Droppings: The Orioles insist they’re still looking for starting pitching

Mike Elias says the O’s have been “as aggressive as any team out there” despite coming up empty so far.

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles
John Means is back for 2024, but let’s get another pitcher too, OK?
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It’s a busy weekend for Baltimore sports. The main event, of course, will come Sunday afternoon when the Ravens host the AFC Championship game for the first time in their history. It’s kind of a big deal. But we’ve got some Orioles sightings in the area, too, thanks to the three-day Birdland Caravan fan rally that kicked off yesterday.

Among the O’s personnel attending Thursday’s events was executive vice president Mike Elias, who spoke with the media about the Birds’ continued pursuit of starting pitching, a hunt that so far has come up empty. Elias insisted the Orioles are “turning over every rock,” particularly in the trade market, but cautioned that he and his staff must “measure the cost of anything we’re doing” in terms of dealing away top prospects. That’s certainly fair. And the O’s aren’t the only team that hasn’t pulled the trigger on a trade for a veteran starter. He noted that only two big-name starters — Tyler Glasnow and Chris Sale — have been dealt this offseason.

I think most Orioles fans would agree that the O’s shouldn’t make a desperation trade just to make one, especially if it involves giving up prospects who might come back to haunt them. Still, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the Birds won’t be acquiring a front-line starting pitcher. They (justifiably) won’t trade the prospects it would require to obtain one, and they (less justifiably) won’t even attempt to engage any of the high-profile free agents such as Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery, thanks to a refusal to raise payroll in any significant way. So the Orioles’ options are, well, limited.

I do believe Elias is trying, and I won’t put it past him to come up with some sort of solution. He’s more than earned the benefit of the doubt, even if ownership hasn’t. But when it comes to adding a quality starting pitcher, trying is one thing. Actually doing it is another.


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Don’t worry, the Orioles did sign a pitcher yesterday! It’s just that he’s an erstwhile first baseman who has made only three pitching appearances in his life. Hey, nobody’s perfect.

It will be something front and center throughout spring training - Steve Melewski
Reading the tea leaves, Steve Melewski thinks there’s a better than 50-50 chance that Jackson Holliday will make the Orioles’ roster out of spring training. I’m still in the camp that thinks he won’t, but man, that would be an amazing Opening Day.

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People ask the most random questions, including the guy who wants the Orioles to acquire both Jesús Luzardo and Cole Sulser. One of these things is not like the other.

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The O’s could make the argument that getting a full year from John Means is basically like acquiring a starting pitcher. But...they should probably get another one anyway, just in case.

Orioles text messages ‘going to be firing off’ during Ravens vs. Chiefs AFC championship game – Baltimore Sun
Speaking of John Means, the Kansas native is rooting for his hometown Chiefs to beat the Ravens this Sunday. Like I said, nobody’s perfect.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on Jan. 26: infielders Jemile Weeks (37) and Rick Schu (62) and the late outfielder Bob Nieman (b. 1927, d. 1985), one of the best hitters on the late 1950s Orioles.

On this date 20 years ago, the Orioles signed Sidney Ponson to a three-year, $22.5 million contract, returning the right-hander to Baltimore six months after the O’s had traded him to the Giants in the midst of a career year. Ponson’s reunion with the Orioles quickly proved disastrous, as he posted a 5.64 ERA in 56 starts and had numerous off-the-field incidents, including two DUIs and an arrest for punching a judge in his native Aruba. The Birds tried to void Ponson’s contract but ended up paying the remainder of his salary after the MLBPA filed a grievance.

And on this day last year, the Orioles acquired Cole Irvin and minor league pitcher Kyle Virbitsky from the Athletics for infield prospect Darell Hernaiz. Irvin was supposed to provide a veteran presence in the O’s rotation but ended up bouncing between the rotation and bullpen and the majors and minors all year. Maybe the Orioles will swing another trade this Jan. 26, and hopefully one with a bit more impact.