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Thursday Bird Droppings: Dreaming of the possibilities for this year’s Orioles rotation

Local beat writers are still predicting that an Orioles trade for a starting pitcher could come together

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 84 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. In uniform number terms, that’s Yusniel Díaz days to go, as that was the number assigned to the one-time Machado trade centerpiece for the one and only game he played with the team two Augusts ago. Díaz signed a minor league deal with the Giants earlier this offseason. Thank goodness Dean Kremer turned into something.

Is today the day that an Orioles move happens? Probably not, but you never know! We are now in the midst of the second offseason where it feels like the Orioles have to do something substantial about the starting rotation.

That’s what I thought about last year and they signed Kyle Gibson and traded for Cole Irvin. The big swing move never happened. Even the midseason trade for Jack Flaherty, which shipped out three prospects, wasn’t a big one for one of the big or big-ish prospects. It was hard to be disappointed with the results of the 101-win Orioles of last year. Yet I can’t help but feel that counting on everything from last year to be the same is not maximizing the chances of repeating anything close to that success.

It’s been hard for me to visualize the Orioles actually doing anything big in this way, because they’ve never done it. They’ve never signed a top-end free agent pitcher - Ubaldo Jiménez and Alex Cobb certainly don’t count - and their trades over the last 15 years haven’t brought in MLB-experienced top-of-the-rotation pitchers either.

Getting my hopes up for something big is just asking for disappointment. I learned last year when I started talking myself into why the Orioles should sign Justin Verlander. And it all worked out for 2023, so that makes it a lot easier to trust in Mike Elias’s plan. If he doesn’t make something happen, then okay, that’s the decision and they’ll have to figure out the rest later.

There is one day this month that we can fixate on where we know something will happen. On the 15th, this year’s international amateur signing period will open up. The Orioles have one of the biggest pools this year, at $7,114,800. The deals are already worked out. They’ll just be announced in eleven days. It’ll be fun to imagine one or more of them turning into noteworthy prospects, like catching prospect Samuel Basallo has done.

Around the blogO’sphere

In non-breaking news, Orioles still seek starting pitching (School of Roch)
Roch offers what he calls a “non-update update,” that the Orioles are probably going to trade for a starter rather than sign one, if they get one at all. He adds that they’re still talking to the White Sox on possible Dylan Cease trades, and that trading with the Marlins or Mariners is also a possibility.

The Orioles want a starting pitcher. Who’s left on the market? (The Baltimore Banner)
The Banner’s Andy Kostka surveys the remaining market. If we assume a signing is not happening, other possibilities include Seattle’s Logan Gilbert and Miami’s Edward Cabrera. I’m a lot more excited by the idea of Gilbert than Cabrera. Or Cease, for that matter.

24 predictions for the 2024 Orioles (
The Five Things industrial complex is strong, but so it seems is the “24 things for 2024” complex. And it’ll only be worse in 2025. Number one on Jake Rill’s list is that the Orioles will make a trade this month for a noteworthy starter. Guess I’d better stay alert.

Orioles’ non-roster invitees could play big role in 2024 (Baltimore Baseball)
In contrast to a few years ago when questions about non-roster invitees finding roles was about guys like Spenser Watkins, part of the question here involves the spring training opportunity for Jackson Holliday and Connor Norby. That’s way more exciting!

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

There is one lone former Oriole with a birthday today. Happy 62nd to Jay Tibbs, who pitched to a 4.92 ERA (79 ERA+) over 50 games with the team from 1988 through 1990. It’s not all bad, as Tibbs was 5-0 with a 2.82 ERA in ten games for the 1989 Orioles.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Braille inventor Louis Braille (1809). R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe (1960), actress D’Arcy Carden (1980), and actress Dafne Keen (2005).

On this day in history...

In 1649, during the English Civil War, the remaining portion of Parliament known as the Rump Parliament voted to put King Charles I on trial. By the end of the month the monarch was tried, convicted, and executed for treason, though the war continued for more than another year and a half afterwards.

In 1896, Utah became the 45th of the United States. It’s the 30th-most populous state today, having grown by over 500,000 residents between the 2010 and 2020 census.

In 1918, the Finnish Declaration of Independence, issued the previous month, was recognized by other countries for the first time, effectively formalizing Finland’s independence since Russia, from which it became independent, was one of these countries.

In 2010, the reigning world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa of Dubai, officially opened. An in-progress skyscraper in Saudi Arabia, the Jeddah Tower, also designed by the Burj Khalifa’s architect Adrian Smith, is projected to surpass this building upon completion. Little work has been done on the Jeddah in the last five years and there’s no estimated finishing date.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 4. Have a safe Thursday.