Good Morning, Birdland!
The reverberations of the Corbin Burnes trade continue to be felt around baseball. It’s easy to understand why. The Orioles won 101 games last year and had one clear hole on their roster. They have now filled that hole with one of the game’s 10 best pitchers. Even haters have to admit that this team is now a legitimate World Series contender.
Even though I have just typed those words, it still doesn’t feel real from the perspective of an Orioles fan. How could OUR team be in the World Series discussion? You mean the team that I grew up knowing would lose 90 games a season, or the one that just recently was the laughing stock of the league in the depths of a massive rebuild? The whiplash created by these last few seasons has been jarring. But coming out on the other end like THIS makes it feel worth it.
Now, the games still need to be played, and while the Orioles do feel like a top tier roster, I don’t think most people are going to vault them ahead of the Braves, Dodgers, or even World Series champion Rangers just yet. And that’s before we even think about the AL East, where the Yankees are primed to bounce back. There’s a long road ahead. Thankfully, this crew feels well prepared to tough out the voyage.
As Sarasota comes calling, the potential weakness on the roster now seems to be the bullpen. DL Hall was in line to be an important arm in late innings this season. Now he’s gone. Obviously, the loss of Félix Bautista is massive as well. The team has addressed this with the signing of Craig Kimbrel, and the expected return of Dillon Tate will help. But you can never have enough relief options.
Mike Elias recently admitted that he feels the same way. However, he clarified that he doesn’t believe the Orioles are “on a mission anymore.” Read that as the team isn’t going to spend resources on relievers...at least not right now.
The Orioles probably won’t be able to rummage through the off-season leftovers to find an arm with the sort of stuff that Hall provided, particularly from the left side. However, the organization has proven itself to be adept at crafting relief arms out of thin air. So they should be able to cobble things together for a little while.
At the same time, it is far easier to add worthwhile relievers in-season than it is to add starters. There seems to be 10 or more available at the trade deadline every year. So if the O’s aren’t happy with their bullpen by July, they could go that route. But it’s also possible that a full season of Tyler Wells in the bullpen will go a long way towards stabilizing things.
Something else to keep an eye on could be how the O’s leverage their more advanced pitching prospects throughout the year. Chayce McDermott was very good in Triple-A last year, Cade Povich has alluring stuff, and Justin Armbruester always seems to put up solid numbers. It doesn’t feel like there will be many starting opportunities for them in 2024, and each of them is Rule 5 eligible in December. If the big league team needs relief help, one of them could be an under-the-radar option.
New Oriole Corbin Burnes on trade, his new team and possible contract extension talks | Steve Melewski
Extension, you say? Burnes gives a boiler plate answer, which is exactly what he should give. Right now there is no evidence that the Orioles have asked about an extension, and it’s unclear if Burnes would be interested. The guy just got traded from the only professional organization he’s ever known. If you had to bet, he is going to hit the open market, and likely get PAID after doing so. Maybe that lands him back in Baltimore. Whatever! He’s an Oriole right now, and that’s pretty neat.
Elias: Landing Burnes has ‘tremendous impact’ on O’s WS hopes | Orioles.com
Heck yes, it does! He’s a perennial Cy Young candidate joining a squad that was lacking someone with that combination of experience and talent. He is the ideal additional.
Mets To Sign Shintaro Fujinami | MLB Trade Rumors
Those of you hoping for a reunion with Fuji are out of luck. He is yet another former Oriole joining the Mets. Hopefully he has a bit better luck and starts to see his real numbers match the peripherals.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- Brooks Kriske turns 30. He pitched in four games for the 2021 Orioles.
- Rougned Odor is also 30. The 2022 season that he spent with the Orioles was quite magical despite looking pedestrian on the stat sheet.
- Scott Klingenbeck is 53 years old. The righty pitched in seven games for the O’s between the 1994 and 1995 seasons.
- Don Welchel celebrates his 67th. His MLB career spanned 13 total games, all of which came for the Orioles between 1982 and ‘83.
- Fred Lynn is 72.From 1985 through ‘88 he was an everyday outfielder for the Orioles, posting a 122 OPS+ in that time.
- The late Harry Byrd (b. 1925, d. 1985) was born on this day. He spent part of the 1955 season as a pitcher for the O’s.
- Another posthumous birthday for Jim Dyck (b. 1922, d. 1999). In 1955 he played in 61 games for the Orioles.
This day in O’s history
Not much has happened on this date, according to Baseball Reference. So here are few occurrences from beyond Birdland:
1966 - The Soviet Union’s Luna 9 becomes the first spacecraft to make a soft landing on the Moon, and the first spacecraft to take pictures from the surface of the Moon.
1995 - Astronaut Eileen Collins becomes the first woman to pilot the Space Shuttle as mission STS-63 gets underway from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.