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Put a bird on it!

Updated: 2017-01-21T08:30:02-05:00


Saturday Bird Droppings


Mark Trumbo empowers Orioles to keep contending as window starts to close - The Washington Post Trumbo keeps the Orioles’ competitive window firmly open for the two years the team still has control over Zach Britton and Manny Machado, according to this analysis. Weekend negotiations led to Trumbo deal - MASN Just as the O’s were publicly saying they were ready to move on, they were actually moving in on a deal for Mark Trumbo. Sneaky! A look at Mark Trumbo’s impact on the lineup, payroll and more - MASN Next year’s known payroll commitment is $153.6 million for 20 players. Zach Britton interested in long-term deal with Baltimore Orioles - Outside Pitch Sports Network It’s based off a Roch Kubatko tweet, but since MASN has long since decided making their content easy to find is not a corporate goal, here’s the easiest way to the info. Baltimore Orioles’ Adam Jones to work as minor-league hockey official - FoxSports “The All-Star will live out a lifelong dream on Friday when he serves as an off-ice official when the San Jose Barracuda meet the San Diego Gulls.” Orioles Count Down Most Memorable Games In OPACY History - WJZ The countdown began Friday on, where games 25 through 11 will be revealed each day for on demand viewing. The top 10 games will be revealed and televised in their entirety every Sunday evening at 7 p.m starting January 29th. Birthdays and History Happy Birthday to former Orioles Keith Shepherd, Bob Reynolds, beloved manager (and former player) Johnny Oates, and Sam Mele. They share today’s birthday with famous people including Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson 1824; fasion designer Christian Dior 1905; actor Telly Savalas 1924; comedian Benny Hill 1925; radio DJ Wolfman Jack 1939; golf champion Jack Nicklaus 1940; singer Richie Havens 1941; opera singer Placido Domingo 1941; country music singer/songwriter Mac Davis 1942; singer Billy Ocean 1950; actress and archer Geena Davis 1957; NBA Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon 1963; and rap pioneer Jam Master Jay (Jason William Mizell) 1965. On this date in Baltimore baseball history... nothing much happened. On this date in world history... 1793 - During the French Revolution, King Louis XVI was executed on the guillotine. He had been condemned for treason. 1915 - The first Kiwanis club was formed in Detroit, MI. 1924 - Soviet leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin died. Joseph Stalin began a purge of his rivals for the leadership of the Soviet Union. 1970 - ABC-TV presented "The Johnny Cash Show" in prime time. 1976 - The French Concorde SST aircraft began regular commercial service for Air France and British Airways. 1977 - U.S. President Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders. 2003 - It was announced by the U.S. Census Bureau that estimates showed that the Hispanic population had passed the black population for the first time. Consider this your discussion space for the East-West Shrine Game. [...]

The best lineups the 2017 Orioles can use now that Mark Trumbo is coming back


The ideal Orioles lineup looks a lot different than it did earlier this week now that Mark Trumbo is returning to the team. The projected Orioles lineup for the upcoming season looks different today than it did yesterday. Mark Trumbo will be back, pending physical. With the O’s plugging the slugger who hit 47 regular season home runs back into their lineup, it’s time to revisit the optimal lineup I wrote about earlier in the week. Lineup construction is generally agreed to not matter all that much, but there’s still an ideal way to do it. Even if it’s not a huge deal, it’d be better to see the Orioles put out their best possible lineups regularly rather than sub-optimal ones. For the purposes of this post, I’m working with the ideal lineup principles set forth by “The Book,” which you can see explained on SB Nation’s Beyond the Box Score. Manager Buck Showalter doesn’t do what The Book says, so this is not meant to represent the lineup they might actually use. Showalter knows a lot more about baseball than me and he seems to do OK, so there’s no reason to get worked up about things that are different. This is just for fun. The first two spots in the order are easy. The ideal leadoff hitter is the one with the best on-base percentage. On the 2016 Orioles, that was Hyun Soo Kim, with a .382 OBP. There is no close second. He is the best to lead off - against right-handed pitchers, at least. Second, you want to have your best overall hitter. There’s little doubt that this is Manny Machado, who hit 37 home runs last season while batting .294/.343/.533. The reason why Machado should bat second is so that he gets more chances to bat in a game. The more that Machado comes up, the better. The next-most important spot to fill is the cleanup hitter. The player with the most power should hit here - which lines up with traditional thinking, of course. And it brings us to our first choice: Cleanup hitter: Chris Davis vs. Mark Trumbo In a big way, it’s a good problem to have to be choosing between these players for the #4 spot in the order. Both have led MLB in homers. Davis has done it twice. Davis had a bit of a down year last year due to his mystery hand injury, and even then he had 38 bombs. If you think he’s rebounding this year, he’s a fine cleanup choice. However, I’m going with Trumbo, because 47 home runs is 47 home runs. Yeah, he strikes out a lot, but so does everybody else. No. 5 hitter: Davis vs. Seth Smith vs. Adam Jones The Book wants us to put the next-best of our remaining hitters here, “unless he lives and dies with the long ball.” This is because, statistically, the #5 batter tends to get more scoring chances than the #3 hitter does. Davis doesn’t entirely live and die with the long ball in his best seasons, and he’s walked often even in the years where he’s struggled, but he does strike out a lot. Jones also had some seemingly injury-related struggles last year, though he repeatedly denied the injuries. Smith brings less of a power bat, and he’s batted under .250 the past two seasons, but he is more likely to put the ball in play, or walk, than Jones. I think he’s the best choice here, with the understanding that I don’t expect Showalter to ever bat Smith fifth. No. 3 hitter: Davis vs. Jones Give me Davis here in the hopes that he might hit a dinger if Kim or Machado has gotten on in front of him. That makes Jones our #6 hitter, which, again, I don’t expect to ever happen. The last time Jones batted there was Game 162 of the 2011 season. Filling in the rest is a matter of taste. I think J.J. Hardy is the hitter with the least potential, so he’s hitting ninth for me. That leaves me choosing between Welington Castillo and Jonathan Schoop for seven and eight. I’ll put Schoop at #7 because of his power potential and leave Castillo or his backup to be the #8 hitter daily. Which gives us this lineup, at least against right-handed pitchers: Hyun Soo Kim - LF Manny Machado - 3B Chris Davis - 1B Mark Trumbo - DH Seth Smith - RF A[...]

Friday Bird Droppings: Trumbo time



Today's O's coverage is, unsurprisingly, rather Trumbocentric...

Once again, the Orioles have got their man and unlike last offseason, appear to have beaten market projections. Maybe Trumbo was always a sure thing or maybe the market really did move enough to change the Warehouse's calculations. One thing for sure is that dongs will continue to rain down on Eutaw Street.

Trumbo to Re-Join Orioles | FanGraphs Baseball
Daily baseball statistical analysis and commentary.

What Re-Signing Trumbo Means For The Orioles
"And so Mark Trumbo returns to the only place that could responsibly sign him." Gary? That you?

How does the Orioles' signing of Trumbo affect Mancini's future? - Depends?

Why Did MLB Home Run King Mark Trumbo Come so Cheap to Orioles? | Bleacher Report
Did a league-wide power surge eat into Trumbo's value?

On this day in 1977, the O's traded Paul Blair to the Yankees for a couple of stiffs.

Hey, hey, hey! It's Matt Albers' birthday! If it's your birthday, have a good one. You also share your special day with Ozzie Guillen, David Lough and Luis Exposito.

Orioles rumors: Mark Trumbo deal is done, pending physical



Mark Trumbo will be back in the Orioles lineup next year and beyond - pending physical, of course. It’s a three year deal worth a reported $37 million.

The Orioles have gotten their man after all, reaching an agreement on a three-year contract with Mark Trumbo. The deal is still pending a physical, which as we know can be a snag where the Orioles are concerned, but other than that, it’s done. He’s coming back.

According to’s Brittany Ghiroli, Trumbo is taking that physical tonight. That doesn’t mean the deal will be officially announced tonight - this is still the Orioles we’re talking about. It’s close enough for horseshoes, hand grenades, and blog posts, though.

The deal seems to have come together quickly, going from a note from MLB Network’s Jon Heyman that the two sides were “back in touch” to word of an agreement being reached within the span of about an hour.

One important question to wonder about the contract has been: How much will it cost? Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports brings the answer: three years and $37 million, with the addition that, due to some small deferred money, its present-day value is slightly lower.

Unless you’re in the Trey Mancini fan club, it’s hard to get worked up about the Orioles bringing back Trumbo at about $12 million per year. By comparison, Toronto paid 33-year-old Kendrys Morales three years and $33 million earlier in the offseason. I know who I’m taking between Trumbo’s deal and Morales.

A $12 million average annual value for only three years is not going to handcuff any other Orioles spending. That commitment doesn’t go far into the future and shouldn’t have any impact on their efforts to retain any of their key players, especially Manny Machado. And in the meantime, they get Trumbo’s power staying in the lineup for the remaining seasons Machado will be here. That’s a win.

By signing Trumbo, the Orioles give up on the chance to get a compensation draft pick at #28 overall if he had gone elsewhere. I wrote earlier today about the state of their farm system. It’s not good. They could have used the pick. But they could use the best offense they can muster for the next two years as well. Whoever they might have drafted this June at #28 would not have done anything soon.

The Orioles lineup with Trumbo is better than their lineup without Trumbo. That’s all there is to it. He’s not a perfect player. He probably won’t hit 47 home runs again. He won’t have a good OBP. He will strike out a lot. He definitely shouldn’t be stuck out in the outfield any more.

We can worry about all of that later. For now: Dingers! Woo!

Orioles rumors: Mark Trumbo and team are “getting close to a deal”


For much of the offseason, a reunion between Mark Trumbo and the Orioles has felt inevitable, no matter what they’ve said at certain times. It may be happening soon. For a lot of the offseason, a reunion between Mark Trumbo and the Orioles has just felt like an inevitability, regardless of what story may drip out at a given moment about the team and player breaking off contact. According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, things are back on and the two sides are “getting close to a deal.” It’s not a coincidence that mid-January is when the Orioles got serious about re-signing Chris Davis last year and now here we are on January 19 and things are possibly coming back together between the O’s and Trumbo. There are no qualifying offer-attached free agents remaining other than Trumbo. No team has leapt out to sign him. Heyman adds that Trumbo and the Orioles were always one another’s first choice, though why the O’s would view him that way is a mystery that is currently unexplained. Do the Orioles particularly need Trumbo at this point? Sure, in the sense that you can never have too many home runs, but their #1 need is some kind of right-handed hitting outfield-capable player. Anyone who watched Trumbo in 2016 knows that’s not him, and even if he was outfield-capable, his .608 OPS against lefties suggests he can’t add value as a guy who might play right field against lefties and DH against righties. If the money is right, why the heck not? I mean, they can’t possibly be dumb enough to have him play in the outfield again, can they? That grim reality can be confronted if it ever arrives. Let’s think of him for now as a designated hitter and sometimes first baseman who will hit a lot of dingers. That’s really only bad news for the Trey Mancini fan club. At this point, the most important question to ask is whether the Orioles are better with Trumbo over the next two years than they are without him, based on who they could sign or acquire with what remains in the offseason. They’re absolutely better off with the slugger who blossomed in Camden Yards - again, as long as they don’t let him out in the outfield. Signing Trumbo isn’t getting an exciting new face onto the team. It’s not even really keeping around a long-time beloved Oriole on the team. O’s fans have seen Trumbo for one year in which he hit a lot of glorious dingers, but he hasn’t been one of “our guys” for years. We will all have different ideas about what the right money is. Presumably, Trumbo will have to take less than he has been seeking by virtue of no one signing him. The last report is that he (well, probably not him personally) asked the Orioles for a $50 million deal over three years. The Orioles reportedly offered four years and $50-52 million back at the start of the offseason. Based on how the slugger market has developed, even that seems like it may have been an overly generous offer. Their offer from November may have just been for three years and $40 million with an option for a fourth year. MASN’s Roch Kubatko said that “the price came down” and now a deal could get done. The question is still, how much did the price come down? Something like a $13 million average annual value is not all that much, whether it’s for three or four years. Less than that would be even better, if they can manage to get it. With the O’s and Trumbo apparently always wanting to come back to one another, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before they reach an agreement and we find out about the money. Stay tuned! [...]

ESPN’s Keith Law ranks Orioles farm system 25th in MLB


When you only have one real prospect in your farm system, like the Orioles, you’re not going to rate very highly. The Orioles farm system is not very good, pretty much everyone who does not get paid by the Orioles agrees. There is little depth overall and the prospect of short-term help from the farm system is, other than catcher Chance SIsco, practically nonexistent. Not much of a shock that as the experts, like ESPN’s Keith Law, start putting out farm system rankings, the Orioles are in the bottom tier. Law ranked the O’s 25th out of 30 MLB teams. Whenever the topic of minor league rankings comes up over the last several months, a favorite response of O’s GM Dan Duquette has been: “The people who rate our farm system are the same people who pick us last in the division.” That response might as well be directly addressed to Law, although Duquette doesn’t name him. After all, when Law projected the AL East last season, he picked the O’s last, with a 74-88 record, and said: “The Orioles weren’t a good team in 2015 and I see no argument that they are any better now. ... This could all go pretty wrong.” As it turned out, things didn’t end up going pretty wrong until the Orioles were already in extra innings in the AL Wild Card Game. Law, not for the first time, completely whiffed on recognizing what would become a quality Orioles team. Which doesn’t mean he’s wrong about the farm system, either. The Orioles farm system is not good at this exact moment no matter what Law does or doesn’t say about it. Duquette practically admits as much when his defense of the farm system consists of something like this, which he first said last July and repeats to anyone who will listen: “We are state-of-the-art in several different areas, so trust me when I tell you the farm system is very good. The people that rate those, I want to ask them, is a good farm system the one that produces a lot of players, or produces great players? “We have great players that came through our system. We have Matt Wieters, Manny Machado, (Jonathan) Schoop, Zach Britton, the dominant closer in the league. That, to me, is the sign of a healthy farm system. Don’t believe everything you read. The Orioles are healthy, from top to bottom.” The fact that some players on the current Orioles have come through the farm system and enjoyed some success - or even stardom, in the case of players like Machado and Britton - has no bearing whatsoever on the state of the farm system right now. To pretend otherwise is disingenuous and insulting to the intelligence of fans. The next Machado is not in the system. The next Britton is not in the system. The next J.J. Hardy or Adam Jones or Chris Tillman is not in the system, or if they are, they haven’t started to reveal themselves yet. The next Ryan Flaherty isn’t even in the system, which is why they keep holding onto the one they already have. The Orioles are not healthy at the top. They have not been healthy at the top. If they were, then the sum total of positive contributions from their minor leagues over the past two seasons would be greater than Mychal Givens, Donnie Hart, 14 starts from Dylan Bundy, and five games of Trey Mancini. A team in the O’s financial situation particularly needs the farm system in order to bring up less expensive contributors as their existing core continues to cost more in arbitration. They haven’t gotten that help lately, and other than Sisco, don’t look to be getting it in the near future either. This is the crux of what drags down the O’s farm system in Law’s eyes. In ranking them 25th, he says a couple of things that almost sound positive about the outlook a couple of years down the road: The Orioles’ system has been down for a while now, hurt largely by the lack of progress and health issues affecting their best pitching prospects. But their 2016 draft class might finally give the organizati[...]

The O’s probably don’t have room for their Rule 5 picks


Joey Rickard can play center field and the Orioles’ Rule 5 picks can’t. There’s only so much roster space to go around. Throughout Dan Duqette’s tenure in Baltimore, he’s consistently gone out of his way to select players in the Rule 5 draft and retain them in Baltimore. The O’s have kept a Rule 5 player on their roster in every season of the Duquette era except 2014. That year, the O’s selected Michael Almanzar from the Red Sox. They simply didn’t have room for him on the 25-man roster once he returned from the DL, but ended up re-acquiring him anyway as part of the Kelly Johnson trade. Clearly, if Duquette likes a guy in the Rule 5 draft he’ll select him and find a way to keep him around. This year, he took a pair of corner outfielders in Aneury Tavarez and Anthony Santander. Factoring in the Orioles’ current need for a corner outfielder, it’s natural to think at least one of these two will stick around - our own Tyler Young speculated on the subject a few days ago. I’m going to offer up a different opinion here. Considering the way the roster is currently constructed, along with potential moves the team has yet to make, neither of them are all that likely to have a role on the 2017 Orioles. First of all, it would be almost impossible to keep both - let’s get that out of the way right now. The team may be able to delay the inevitable by DL-ing Santander for a while, but if both are healthy there’s just not enough room. Assuming the Orioles keep a full seven-man bullpen - something that’s probably smart considering the starting rotation threw 110 less innings than the league-leading Blue Jays last year - that leaves four bench spots. One will go to Caleb Joseph, and one will go to Ryan Flaherty. The other spots will presumably be outfielders, but which ones? Here’s the first problem - neither Santander nor Tavarez is a center fielder. If Adam Jones get hurt, somebody needs to play that position. Right now the only player in the mix for the 25-man roster who’s capable of doing that is Joey Rickard, and he’s not particularly great at it. Yes, Tavarez may be a decent fielder overall with decent speed, but scouting reports indicate he’s “strictly a corner outfielder” and he didn’t play a single inning at center in 2016. If Rickard starts the season in AAA and Jones gets hurt, the O’s would have a big problem. The second problem is that the Orioles have a pair of corner outfielders who are virtually useless against left-handed pitching. Hyun Soo Kim and Seth Smith combined to go 5 for 48 against lefties over the entire season in 2016. It’s a lock that at least one of them will sit against southpaws, and possibly both. If both of them hit the bench against lefties, who starts at the corners? Rickard and a Rule 5 pick? That’s a scary thought. Buck Showalter certainly likes his guys, but I don’t believe he even likes them that much. He and Duquette have to know that this can’t be Plan A. What’s more likely is that the O’s aren’t done their offseason yet. Mark Trumbo is still out there - while he struggled mightily against lefties last season (.173/.223/.385) he’s actually been slightly better against them over his career (.787 vs. .772 OPS). Last year’s splits might just be an anomaly. If Trumbo ends up elsewhere, Franklin Gutierrez would be a good fit. I wrote about this previously, and that was before the O’s went out and acquired his actual platoon partner from the Mariners in Seth Smith. If it made sense then, it makes even more sense now. Beyond Gutierrez, there’s Angel Pagan. If one of the Rule 5 players is going to make the team, this is probably how it would happen. Signing Pagan would give the team another potential center fielder, allowing them to stick Rickard in Norfolk and attempt to keep Santander or Tavarez. What’s more likely, though, is that neither of them will be in an[...]

Thursday Bird Droppings: Oriole Park at Camden Yards is the best, again


Orioles fans already know that Oriole Park at Camden Yards is the best. It's been confirmed again. Also in today's links, a former Orioles short-timer gets into the Hall of Fame, a Chris Davis trade retrospective, and more. Hello, friends. There are now 74 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. This number has never been worn by an Orioles player in a game and as far as I can tell is not significant to Orioles history in any way whatsoever. Hall of Fame voting results have come and gone. There won't be any new Orioles players involved in the ceremony, unless you count the four games that Tim Raines played for the team in 2001, which you shouldn't. The good news for possibly two or three years down the road is that Mike Mussina is now up to 51.8% of the vote. The bad news is that he still has to win over half of the clueless dopes who haven't been voting for him. Meanwhile, here in 2017, the Orioles... well, they still need to get another outfielder, probably. Where is such a player going to come from? Maybe they will sign Angel Pagan or something. Although I've got to say that, until Mark Trumbo signs elsewhere, I'm still nervous that the Orioles will re-sign him and have him play right field sometimes again. It might not be the worst thing if they sign him and DH him. Still a lot of time for things to play out. Is any of it going to play out today? Probably not! But you never know. Let's hit the links. Around the blogO'sphere Tim Raines, Who Briefly Played With Orioles, | WBAL Radio 1090 AMThis is the right unintentionally-dismissive headline to describe yesterday's Hall of Fame voting results. Orioles FanFest Autograph Vouchers Now On Sale " CBS BaltimoreIf you care about FanFest autograph vouchers - the proceeds do support a good cause, at least - you might want to hurry and get them before they sell out. Leftovers for breakfast - School of RochI might be reading this first paragraph wrong, but I'm fairly sure that Roch Kubatko credits the Orioles rotation as being a strength that got them into the playoffs. I... what? After his 6.17 ERA, fan expectations are low for Wade Miley - Steve MelewskiThe natural response to this headline is one which is often met with the reply, "Keep digging, Watson." And yes, I know I've used that joke before. I'll use it again! Camden Yards rated top stadium experience in North America for third straight year - Baltimore SunUnlike The Sun's Jon Meoli, I don't have an editor to make me write a story promoting somebody's nonsense stadium rankings that have a result I like. But I'm not above linking to someone else's story in the Bird Droppings. Trade Retrospective: Rangers send Chris Davis to the Orioles in exchange for Koji Uehara - Beyond the Box ScoreThe Orioles really, really won this trade. Thanks, Andy MacPhail! 2017 Top 10 left-handed pitching prospects | Of course, there are no Orioles prospects that made it onto this list - Chance Sisco is maybe the only guy in the system who will make one of these top 10 lists - but the name at the top is sadly familiar for O's fans. Birthdays and anniversaries On this day in 1995, Orioles owner Peter Angelos made the announcement that the team would not use replacement players if baseball's strike did not get settled in time for Opening Day. There are three former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: 1995-97 starter Rick Krivda, Rec Specs ambassador and 1994 third baseman Chris Sabo, and 1959, 63, and 68 Oriole Fred Valentine. Mr. Valentine turns 82 years old today. Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Along with those former Orioles, your birthday buddies for today include: Confederate General Robert E. Lee (1807), Baltimore's favorite poet, Edgar Allan Poe (1809), musician Janis Joplin (1943), singer-songwriter Dolly Parton (1946), purportedly funny man Frank Caliendo (1974), Japanese singer Utada Hikaru (1983), and one-time Wiz[...]