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Sunday Bird Droppings: The Orioles in the Birdland Caravan are ready to get started

We’re getting “best shape of my life”-type declarations more than two weeks before spring training even starts

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SPORTS-BBA-ORIOLES-PRESSURE-BZ Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 60 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. In uniform number terms, that’s Mychal Givens days to go until real baseball is back. Spring training enjoyers have a shorter wait, with pitchers and catchers reporting only 17 days from today.

A small part of me wakes up every morning wondering if I’m going to look at my phone and find out that the Orioles traded for somebody overnight. If this happens to you, too, let me be the one to tell you: It didn’t happen last night! (Except I’m actually writing this on Saturday night, so wouldn’t I look stupid if it did happen? I’m taking my chances here.)

The Birdland Caravan continued on yesterday, which has provided us with about all that passes for news for a few days now. You’ll never believe this, but the players are excited to get into camp and start to prove last year wasn’t a fluke. Players who were hurt last year are reporting good health. Prospects who struggled in their big league action learned what they had to learn and they’re ready for more.

These are all variations on the classic “best shape of my life” cliche that rolls around every spring training. None of it means anything until the real games start and we see who’s really getting things done and who isn’t.

In former Orioles news, a 2023 Oriole found a new home yesterday as Adam Frazier agreed on a contract with the Royals that will guarantee him $4.5 million for the coming season. That’s a bit of a pay cut from the $8 million he got here last year. I’m thinking about how the Orioles had Jordan Lyles in 2022 and then he signed with the Royals for 2023 and stunk a lot. Frazier was better than Lyles - he had a 1.7 WAR season in Baltimore compared to Lyles’s 1.0 - but you’re probably not too thrilled as a free agent to land with a team that won 56 games last year.

Who will replace Frazier on the Orioles? That depends on a bunch of things, including whether Jackson Holliday makes the team and what the Orioles decide to do with veterans Jorge Mateo and Ramón Urías. Hopefully it goes better than when Kyle Gibson became the Lyles replacement.

Around the blogO’sphere

Age fraud on the rise in Dominican Republic, sowing chaos for MLB teams, young players (The Athletic)
The Orioles are not one of the teams that’s named as being swept up in a new wave of “players are older than they say,” which is better than the alternative, even if it doesn’t mean that they’ve avoided this challenge impacting them.

Tate “ready to go for camp” and return to Orioles bullpen (School of Roch)
Dillon Tate having a positive impact on the 2024 bullpen would probably make the Félix Bautista absence hurt just a tiny bit less.

John Means building up for first normal spring training since ‘22 (Orioles.com)
2022 wasn’t that long ago, headline writer.

Ortiz shows he is more than a glove-first prospect (Steve Melewski)
Joey Ortiz still has at least some believers in the prospect writing world, as he comes in at #63 on the recently-released MLB Pipeline top prospect ranking.

Brandon Hyde and Orioles players toast the Ravens’ success. Well, most of them. (The Baltimore Banner)
Today’s football matchup will not result in a unified Orioles front, as Means, the Kansas native, is sticking with his home region team. I don’t blame him, but also: Come on! Join the club!

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Of all the players to ever play for the Orioles, there is only a single one with a birthday today. Happy 39th to reliever Wesley Wright, who appeared in two games for the 2015 O’s, allowing an earned run in 1.2 innings across those two games.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: painter Jackson Pollack (1912), actor Alan Alda (1936), musician Sarah McLachlan (1968), NSYNC singer Joey Fatone (1977), Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter (1980), and actress Ariel Winter (1998).

On this day in history...

In 814, the first Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, died and was succeeded by his son, Louis the Pious. As Charlemagne had only the one surviving son, this was a simple succession, but the empire divided in another 20 years upon Louis’s death.

In 1521, a later Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V, convened the Diet of Worms on demand by the pope. The diet, which lasted four months, was assembled to summon Martin Luther for questioning, during which he refused to recant his views on what we now know as the Reformation.

In 1813, the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen was published for the first time.

In 1986, the space shuttle Challenger broke apart shortly after liftoff, killing all seven of its astronauts.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 28. Have a safe Sunday.