There are now 95 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day 2016. It's still such a long way to go, but if there's good news, it's that there's still some stuff to happen throughout the offseason to keep us busy. Sure, none of it is really likely to happen this week. We'll get some news eventually, Orioles free agents signing elsewhere, maybe the Orioles actually signing a guy or something. For now, quiet.
Or at least, quiet in Birdland. The division continues to improve all around us, with yesterday's move by the Yankees to pick up closer Aroldis Chapman from the Reds for four minor leaguers. Two of them were prospects with some heat, if not top prospects. The other two were not. That's a hell of a back of the bullpen for them, with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances having Chapman added to their already formidable unit. That's not going to be a fun one to face.
A little light on direct O's news this week, you've probably noticed, but let's get on with the links.
Around the blogO'sphere
Orioles pitching coach Dave Wallace weighs in on his staff - Baltimore Sun
These quotes are all from FanFest. Everybody's scraping out the bottom of the barrel here this week. It's hard out there!
School of Roch: Christian Walker staying in shape and sizing up his chances with Orioles
If you are really interested in reading about some stuff that Christian Walker said back at FanFest, well, Roch has you covered.
Cuban Pitcher Yaisel Sierra Declared A Free Agent - MLB Trade Rumors
Dan Duquette has a certain fondness for signing Cuban defectors - but MLBTR thinks that Sierra could get a contract of at least $27 million, so I think we can probably rule out the Orioles for this one.
Justin Upton, other remaining FAs should start considering Plan B -MLB - Buster Olney Blog- ESPN
ESPN's Buster Olney is starting to sound the alarm for some unsigned free agents. Maybe it's time for players to pursue one-year deals and try again next year? I don't expect this to happen en masse, but probably one or two will meet this fate in the end.
And more on the Chapman trade from our counterparts over on the Yankees SB Nation blog, Pinstripe Alley:
Yankees trade rumors: New York acquires Aroldis Chapman from Reds - Pinstripe Alley
What would it even be like if the Orioles made a trade like this? I can't imagine it on several levels.
Birthdays and anniversaries
On this day in 2005, the funeral of longtime Orioles coach Elrod Hendricks took place. Melvin Mora, you may recall, was the only Oriole of that time to attend the funeral.
There are a few former Orioles with birthdays today, starting with Jaret Wright (three games in 2007), Jim Brower (12 games, 13.86 ERA in 2006), Dave Ford (51 games from 1978-81), and Ken Rudolph (11 games in 1977).
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Along with those former Orioles, your birthday buddies also include chemist/engineer Charles Goodyear (1800), who did not found the tire company that still bears his name; The Recognitions author William Gaddis (1922); actress Mary Tyler Moore (1936), actor Jon Voight (1938), The Offspring singer-songwriter/guitarist Dexter Holland (1965), Chicago Cubs GM-analogue Theo Epstein (1973), and actress Alison Brie (1982).
On this day in history...
In 1170, Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was assassinated inside of his cathedral by followers of King Henry II. You may recall that the characters of The Canterbury Tales were traveling to his shrine.
In 1845, the United States of America annexed the Republic of Texas, creating Texas as the 28th state. On their state birthday, I'll refrain from saying anything mean about them.
In 1860, Britain launched the HMS Warrior, the first iron-hulled warship in history, which is credited with instantly making obsolete all old wooden-hulled warships.
In 1916, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the first of the novels of James Joyce, was first published in book form. It had previously been serialized.
In 1937, the modern state of Ireland came into existence with the approval of a new constitution, replacing what was previously called the Irish Free State.
And that's the way it is in Birdland on December 29 - or at least, unless something happens later, which it probably won't. Have a safe Tuesday.