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Fangraphs has released their 2020 Steamer projections. What do they predict for the Baltimore Orioles?
Immediate Disclaimer: We’re not gathering any major takeaways from the recently released 2020 Steamer projections on Fangraphs, but that doesn’t mean we can’t utilize them for what they’re best for, giving us something to talk about during a long, likely pretty quiet offseason for the Baltimore Orioles.

Here are some of the more interesting projections, including a few that would be welcomed numbers from Orioles players and a few that have us scratching our heads a bit.

Per Steamer, only four Orioles hitters are projected to finish with an fWAR higher than 1.0, with Trey Mancini leading the way at 1.9. Jonathan Villar (1.8), Hanser Alberto (1.4), and Austin Hays (1.2) are the other three. Mancini’s 30 doubles, 29 home runs, and 113 wRC+ are all projected to be team-highs.

There isn’t much that sticks out when it comes to the offense. A .246 average with 27 home runs for Renato Nunez seems on par, as does a 22 home run season with a .261/.305/.453 slash for a full year of Anthony Santander. A -0.5 fWAR season across 56 games for Chris Davis (.196 AVG, 11 HR, 91 K in 57 games) and a projected negative -0.1 fWAR from Stevie Wilkerson are also likely.

If Austin Hays can produce close to his projected 107 games played, 41 extra-base hits (19 home runs), .257/.298/.454 slash, 93 wRC+ it will be a successful season. He may have been electric in September, but can make it through an entire season while staying healthy?

I have questions about the catching projections. Steamer has Chance Sisco playing in 77 games and putting up a .238 average, .324 OBP, and 10 home runs, with Pedro Severino seeing action in 68 games with 21 extra-base hits, a .243 average, and a wRC+ of 83. There are still major questions surrounding Sisco’s future, so I’m not opposed to seeing him get the majority of the time behind the plate.

However, his projected 5.7 Defensive Rating is mind-boggling. According to Fangraphs, he recorded a -7.5 Defensive Rating in 2019. I’m not going to pretend to know the math that goes into creating these projections, but I put more faith into Chris Davis hitting .250 with 30 home runs next season than Sisco becoming valuable behind the plate. Only two catchers in all of baseball were rated worse than Sisco defensively this past season.

Baltimore Orioles 2020 Steamer Pitching Projections.
Here’s where things get even more interesting to look at. Steamer has Dylan Bundy leading not just Orioles pitching, but the entire Orioles roster with a 2.0 fWAR. His nine projected wins are tied with John Means for the team lead while his 8.54 K/9 IP and 5.12 ERA projections lead all starting pitchers.

Steamer doesn’t see a great season from John Means. Limited time in the major leagues plays a role here, but they have him going 9-13 with a 5.41 ERA, 1.4 fWAR, and a team-leading 41 home runs allowed. He recorded a 3.60 ERA in 2019, but owned a 4.41 FIP and 5.48 xFIP and a 30.9% groundball rate. Caleb Smith of the Miami Marlins was the only pitcher with at least 150 IP to record a lower GB rate last season. These numbers don’t help his 2020 projections.

As far as rookies are concerned, Steamer believes Dean Kremer will log the fourth-most innings, throwing 129 across 23 starts. He’s projected at 6-10 with a 5.62 ERA and 111 strikeouts. Keegan Akin is listed at 4-6 with a 5.82 ERA in 15 starts with an 8.09 K/9 IP rate (second-highest among starters) and a 4.93 BB/9 IP rate.

Akin’s command struggles are well noted and will be something to watch closely in spring training/early Triple-A starts next season. I wouldn’t be mad at all if Kremer posts something similar to these projections. That’s a fairly decent major league debut on a team likely to hit 100 losses again.

You can view the full Steamer projections here on Fangraphs. Check them out and let us know what you think? Think anyone will greatly outperform their projection? Is Steamer a little too high on anyone? Let us know!

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Good morning, Camden Chatters.

For much of the Orioles’ 2019 campaign, I couldn’t stop thinking about how ready I was for the season to end. That tends to happen when you’re watching a 108-loss ballclub. A nice, long offseason seemed like a refreshing change of pace from watching the Orioles’ nightly calamities.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Once winter arrives, though, it doesn’t take long for me to start jonesing for baseball again. I’d forgotten just how sloooooow and booooooooring the MLB offseason really is, especially for a team like the Orioles that isn’t expected to make any major splashes.

After the brief excitement of the O’s adding four prospects to the 40-man roster on Wednesday, we’re now in a lull on the offseason schedule. The next important date, the non-tender deadline, doesn’t arrive until Dec. 2. That’s when we’ll find out if the Orioles offer a 2020 contract to Jonathan Villar and other arbitration-eligible players. Until then, though, don’t expect a lot of action.

Perhaps the O’s will swing a trade involving Villar, or someone else, before that date. I wouldn’t bank on it, though. The hot stove may be awfully quiet for a while.

Links
O’s progressing toward deal with Sanders as first base coach – School of Roch
The O’s are close to hiring a new first base coach. And here I thought there was nothing exciting going on!

Looking deeper at which prospects the Orioles added to their 40-man roster — and four that they didn’t protect – The Athletic
Dan Connolly profiles the four O’s who were added to the 40-man, and looks at four who were left out. Somehow I’ll manage to soldier on if the O’s lose Zack Muckenhirn.

Four to the 40-man: Hearing from the O’s added to the roster – Steve Melewski
The aforementioned four new roster additions talk about what it means to them to join the 40-man. Keegan Akin didn’t know the deadline was coming until his uncle texted him, so I guess he wasn’t stressing over it too much.

After Career Year, Is Trey Mancini A Building Block Or Trade Chip For Orioles? – PressBoxOnline.com
Matt Kremnitzer estimates that a Mancini extension could be something like $10 million a year for five or six years. That doesn’t sound unreasonable to me for a productive player and the Birds’ most recognizable face, although I get why not everyone would be on board.

Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your two O’s birthday buddies are 2007-08 outfielder Jay Payton (47), whom I only remember for getting chirpy with Melvin Mora one time during the dark ages, and 2016-17 lefty Jayson Aquino (27), whom I don’t remember but whose name I want to sing in the same rhythm as “Jason Derulo.”

On this day in 1965, O’s outfielder Curt Blefary was named AL Rookie of the Year, the second of six players in Orioles history to win the award. The 21-year-old hit .260 with an .851 OPS, 22 homers, and 70 RBIs. Blefary started his career with three decent years for the Birds, but his production fell off a cliff after the O’s traded him to Houston for Orioles Hall of Famer Mike Cuellar. Blefary’s MLB career was finished by age 28.

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Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It happened at last. The big night finally arrived. Let it be forever etched in the record books: on Aug. 22, 2019, the Baltimore Orioles became the most homered-upon team in the history of baseball.

We all knew it was coming, of course. The O’s have been on this collision course with destiny for months now, when it became apparent that their pitchers had a unprecedented talent for coughing up dingers. It was only a matter of when, not if, the 2016 Reds’ previous record of 258 was going to fall.

The O’s cleared that bar with plenty to spare, giving up fateful homer No. 259 in their 128th game, with five weeks remaining on the schedule. Mark Brown broke down all the stats behind the season-long home run barrage.

The historic feat was not without some drama. Asher Wojciechowski and the Orioles gave up the record-breaking dinger in the second inning (and another blast in the fifth), but the game was interrupted by rain in the bottom of the fifth inning, before it became official. Had the clubs been unable to resume play, the game and its stats would’ve been wiped out, and the Orioles would’ve had to wait at least one more night to officially (re)set the record.

Ultimately, though, the teams waited out a two-hour, 16-minute delay to assure they could at least finish the fifth inning and make things official. And with that, the record belonged to the Orioles, once and for all.

Hooray?

Links
Hyde says that Chris Davis’ playing time could be limited for rest of season – BaltimoreBaseball.com
It’s a move that has needed to happen for some time, but it’s sad to see a once-great Oriole reduced to a benchwarmer and lineup-card-bringer-outer.

10 stats about the Orioles giving up home runs that highlight the absurdity of Baltimore’s record-setting season – CBS Sports
R.J. Anderson checks in with a few more factoids about the Orioles’ gopher ball record. The gist: O’s pitchers are unspeakably bad.

Mantle? Pujols? Alberto hangs with elite vs. LHP – Orioles.com
Hanser Alberto is being mentioned in the same breath as baseball legends. Just as we all predicted in March.

Another look at the Orioles’ improved Dominican program – Steve Melewski
When’s the last time the Orioles had any players in the Dominican Summer League worth talking about? Now they do, and Dominican academy director Felipe Alou Jr. is more than happy to talk about them.

Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have a smorgasbord of O’s birthday buddies, the most prominent being Orioles Hall of Famer Mike Boddicker (62), who spent the first nine of his 14 major league seasons in Baltimore. He was an All-Star and 20-game winner in 1984, and in 1988 the O’s traded him for Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling. Not a bad return. It’s also the birthday of the late Baseball Hall of Famer George Kell (b. 1922, d. 2009), who ended his career with a couple years on the Orioles.

Six other ex-Orioles have birthdays today, most of them of the blink-and-you-missed-them type. The list includes pitchers John Morris (78) and the late Ed Barnowski (b. 1943, d. 2017), who combined for 25 appearances with the O’s in the 1960s; and position players Raul Casanova (47), Casey Blake (46), and Alejandro Freire (45), who combined for 33 games in the early 2000s. Finally, it’s the 55th birthday of 1995 infielder Jeff Manto, who’s currently the Orioles’ minor league hitting coordinator.

On this day in 2002, the Orioles stormed back from a 6-0 deficit to beat the Blue Jays, 11-7, at Camden Yards, bringing their record to an even 63-63. That’s good! Then they proceeded to go 4-32 to finish the season. That’s not so good!

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This post is part of a series concerning the 2020 Modern Baseball Era Committee ballot, covering executives and long-retired players whose candidacies will be voted upon at the Winter Meetings in San Diego on December 8. For an introduction to JAWS, see here. Several profiles in this series are adapted from work previously published at SI.com, Baseball Prospectus, and Futility Infielder. All WAR figures refer to the Baseball-Reference version unless otherwise indicated.

He didn’t swing a bat, throw a pitch or write out a lineup card, but Marvin Miller had a greater impact on major league baseball than just about any man who ever lived. In 1992, former Dodgers announcer Red Barber numbered him among the three most important figures in the game’s history, along with Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson. As executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association from 1966 to ’82, Miller revolutionized the game, overseeing its biggest change since integration through the dismantling of the reserve clause and the dawn of free agency, thus shifting a century-old balance of power from the owners to the players. Miller helped the union secure a whole host of other important rights as well, from collective bargaining to salary arbitration to the use of agents in negotiations. During his tenure, the average salary of a major league player rose from $19,000 to over $240,000, and the MLBPA became the strongest labor union in the country. Yet both in his lifetime and since his death at the age of 95 in 2012, petty politics has prevented him from receiving proper recognition via enshrinement in the Hall of Fame — so much so that Miller, still feisty well into his 90s, took the unprecedented step of asking voters not to consider him.

Miller’s omission is particularly glaring in light of the extent to which the 21st century small-committee processes have honored nonplayers — executives, managers, and umpires — to a much greater degree than players. To some degree that’s understandable, given that the former group has have no other route into Cooperstown, unlike the post-1936 players under the purview of the BBWAA. Nonetheless, the contrast stands out; setting aside the 2006 Special Committee on the Negro Leagues, the count since 2001 is 15 execs, managers, and umps to seven players (four in the past two years). None of those people, from commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Bud Selig and owner Walter O’Malley on down, put their stamp on baseball to a greater degree than Miller. Somewhere within this mess is the galling reality that even the Hall of Fame players who benefited from the changes he wrought, who make up the largest portion of the committee process — and particularly who formed the vast majority of the electorate via the enlarged Veterans Committees from 2003-09 — have utterly failed in their capacity to honor him. Reggie Jackson, one of the earliest beneficiaries of free agency, never struck out in more embarrassing fashion than when he told reporters in 2003, “I looked at those ballots, and there was no one to put in.”

For as much sense as Miller’s inclusion in the Hall makes, the waters have muddied since his death. The reality is that a vote for him in this format will go against the wishes of his family, which has said repeatedly that they would boycott his induction. What’s more, as the only non-player on a ballot with limited space, a vote for him could prevent a deserving player from getting his due. His candidacy’s supporters must grapple with such considerations.

Bronx-born in 1917, Miller was raised in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn (inevitably, he became a Dodgers fan). He first walked picket lines with his parents; his father Alexander was a clothing salesman, active in the International Garment Workers Union, while his mother, Gertrude, was a member of the New York City teachers union. He graduated New York University in 1938 with a degree in economics, resolved labor-management disputes for the National Labor Board during World War II, and worked for the International Association of Machinists and the United Auto Workers before joining the staff of the United Steelworkers Union in 1950 and becoming its chief economist and negotiator.

Before Miller’s involvement with baseball, the players were barely organized. While attempts to unionize in opposition to a salary cap and the restrictions of the reserve clause, which bound players to teams indefinitely, dated as far back as 1885, early efforts came and went. The owners established a pension plan for players in 1947, and players established an informal union in ’54, but it had no full-time employees, did not engage in collective bargaining, and had just $5,400 in the bank as of ’66, that at a time when the minimum major league salary was just $6,000, $1,000 more than it had been in ’47. When the players sought an increase in pension benefits — anticipating a rise in television revenue, they were concerned about getting their fair share — a four-man committee led by future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts went looking for a professional negotiator to bargain with the united, well-organized, and all-powerful owners.

Miller was recommended to the panel, which had its reservations about union leaders given the stereotypes of the day and initially favored other candidates, including Judge Robert B. Cannon, who was already serving as the union’s legal counsel. Cozy with the owners, Cannon had already mounted an unsuccessful bid to become commissioner of baseball in 1965, though the job went to Spike Eckert, who lasted just three years. Cannon campaigned for the executive director job, and while he conceded in his application that he was not an expert when it came to pensions, he balked when he discovered how much less his pension would be if he switched jobs. Ultimately, the union withdrew its offer.

The panel turned to Miller, but the rank and file players, relatively uneducated, inexperienced with unions, and easily cowed by the owners telling them they should be grateful to be playing a boys’ game for money, had reservations about him. In the spring of 1966, Miller toured training camps in California, Arizona, and Florida, speaking with players before they voted on whether to hire him. With owners and their representatives — and even an embittered Cannon — speaking out against him, and managers able to further intimidate the players by conducting the votes, Miller lost up-or-down votes in front of the first four teams, but with Roberts, Jim Bunning, and the team player representatives pushing the remaining 16 teams harder, he won over the remaining camps. As Jim Bouton — who would later benefit from Miller’s defense when commissioner Bowie Kuhn called upon the pitcher to recant the more shocking details of his 1970 book Ball Four — recalled in John Helyar’s book, Lords of the Realm, “We were all expecting to see someone with a cigar out of the corner of his mouth, a real knuckle-dragging ‘deze and doze’ guy.” Miller, a “quiet, mild, exceedingly understated man,” impressed the players, gained their confidence and was ratified as the executive director.

Miller educated the players about their rights and the importance of solidarity, and gradually began chalking up substantial victories. He implemented a dues structure and further beefed up the union’s finances by securing group licensing deals with Coca-Cola (1966) and Topps (’68), with the players flexing their collective muscle by refusing to sign renewal deals or pose for new photographs until they received higher fees and royalties. In the spring of 1967, Miller conducted an anonymous salary survey so that players could be armed with that information (at the time, the average was $22,000, the median was $17,000, and 6% made the minimum $7,000). In 1968, he and the union negotiated the first collective bargaining agreement in all of sports, which secured a raise in the minimum salary to $10,000, standardized contracts, increased meal money, and put in place a formalized structure for grievances and new scheduling rules. In the 1970 CBA, the players gained the right to have grievances heard by an independent, impartial arbitrator, which paved the way for the landmark Messersmith-McNally decision that created free agency in 1975.

In the spring of 1972, with the first CBA expiring, Miller led the game’s first work stoppage, a 14-day strike that centered around the owners’ increase in pension contributions. The owners didn’t believe the players would stay united, but they did; 86 games were cancelled before the owners finally acquiesced. In the next CBA, which went into effect in 1973, the players gained a limited right to salary arbitration, and “10-and-5” rights allowing them to veto trades if they had at least 10 years in the majors and five with their current club, and a reduction in the amount of service time necessary to reject an assignment to the minors from eight years to five.

Just before the strike, the US Supreme Court took up former outfielder Curt Flood’s suit against Kuhn and the owners, a challenge to the Reserve Clause stemming from his 1969 refusal to accept a trade from the Cardinals to the Phillies. Flood argued that the reserve clause, which appeared to give teams the right to unilaterally renew player contracts on an annual basis, constituted indentured servitude, violating both the 13th Amendment and antitrust laws. In a 5-3 decision against Flood, the Court ruled that only an act of Congress could remove baseball’s antitrust exemption, and that while Flood should have the right to free agency, it needed to be obtained through collective bargaining.

In the wake of the Flood decision, Miller engineered another challenge to the reserve clause when Dodgers pitcher Andy Messersmith and Expos pitcher Dave McNally played the entire 1975 season without signing contracts (several players, including Modern Baseball candidate Ted Simmons, had gone deep into seasons before signing). After the season, they filed grievances, claiming the right to free agency, because there was no contract for the team to renew. In December, arbitrator Peter Seitz ruled for the players, and after the owners’ appeals to overturn the ruling ran out, Miller negotiated a new CBA creating a framework for free agency once players reached six years of service time. In the winter of 1976-77, the first wave of free agents began striking it rich, with Jackson becoming the game’s highest-paid player via a five-year, $3 million deal with the Yankees. By November 1979, Nolan Ryan had become the game’s first player with an average salary above $1 million. From 1976 to ’80, the average salary nearly tripled, from $51,501 to $143,756.

After averting a strike in the spring of 1980 — centered around teams wanting compensation for having lost players to free agency — Miller led a seven-week strike in ’81, resulting in the cancellation of 713 games (38% of the schedule) and requiring the creation of a one-time split-season format with first- and second-half division leaders meeting in an extra tier of playoffs. The resulting CBA created a tiered free agent system whereby teams losing premium free agents would receive compensation.

The 65-year-old Miller retired as the executive director at the end of 1982, by which point the minimum salary had grown to $33,500 and the average was $241,497. He remained active as a consultant, member of the union’s negotiating team, and, briefly, interim director when his initial successor, Ken Moffett, was forced out due to the belief among players that he was too conciliatory towards the owners.

Miller firmly established that the talents of major league players did not exempt them from basic workplace protections, and ensured that they get their fair compensation as attendance and revenues ballooned, far outpacing the growth of the rest of the economy. But despite — or because — of his revolutionary work, he was shamefully bypassed even from consideration by the Veterans Committee until 2003, by which point the vote had been extended to every living Hall of Famer as well as the surviving Ford C. Frick Award and J.G Taylor Spink Award winners (the broadcasters and writers). Once he finally got a spot on a composite ballot alongside other executives, umpires, and managers, he received just 44% of the vote (35 out of 79). Jackson, whom Miller’s work turned into a millionaire several times over, shamed himself by sending in a blank ballot and making his “no one to put in” comment. Mike Schmidt, who became the game’s highest-paid player in the mid-1980s thanks to the leverage of free agency, similarly voted for nobody.

Jackson eventually realized the error of his ways, and his comments stirred awareness among the electorate. In Miller’s next appearance, on the 2007 ballot, his share of the vote rose to 63% (51 out of 84 votes). By that point, he was already braced for disappointment, saying, “When you’re my age, 89 going on 90, questions of mortality have a greater priority than a promised immortality.” Later that year, Bouton succinctly summarized Miller’s chances on the 2008 ballot, by which point the process had reverted to a 12-member panel. “Marvin Miller kicked their butts and took power away from the baseball establishment — do you really think those people are going to vote him in? It’s a joke.”

Indeed, that Miller received just three votes on a panel that elected Kuhn (who had received just 17.3% from the larger group the year before) was a sick and twisted joke given that the labor leader beat the commissioner like a rented mule at every turn, most notably when it came to the Seitz ruling. Said Bouton, “It’s like having a cartoon Hall of Fame which admitted Wile E. Coyote and kept out the Roadrunner.”

One look at the composition of the panel explained the result. Beyond the three writers on the committee, none of the three ex-players (Monte Irvin, Bobby Brown, and Harmon Killebrew) played a single major league game in the post-Reserve Clause era. What’s more, Irvin spent 17 years working for the commissioner’s office under Kuhn, while Brown was an executive with the Rangers and then AL president after Kuhn stepped down. Of the six other owners and executives on the committee, Bill DeWitt Jr. (Cardinals), Bill Giles (Phillies) ,and Andy MacPhail (Orioles) were legacies whose fathers (and the latter’s grandfather) were on the management side during the Reserve Clause era, while Giles, MacPhail and John Harrington (Red Sox) were part of management during baseball’s late-1980s collusion scandal,, the trial of which featured Miller as the lead witness.

So frustrated was the 91-year-old Miller that six months later, with his candidacy not set to be reviewed for another 18 months, he took the unprecedented step of asking the Hall not to include him on another ballot, saying in a letter to the BBWAA (whose Historical Overview Committee constructs the ballots):

“Paradoxically, I’m writing to thank you and your associates for your part in nominating me for Hall of Fame consideration, and, at the same time, to ask that you not do this again. The anti-union bias of the powers who control the Hall has consistently prevented recognition of the historic significance of the changes to baseball brought about by collective bargaining.

“As former executive director of the players’ union that negotiated these changes, I find myself unwilling to contemplate one more rigged Veterans Committee whose members are handpicked to reach a particular outcome while offering a pretense of a democratic vote. It is an insult to baseball fans, historians, sports writers and especially to those baseball players who sacrificed and brought the game into the 21st century. At the age of 91 I can do without a farce.”

Like any good labor leader, Miller knew how to count votes before an election was held, and he knew when he didn’t have them. When I interviewed him for Baseball Prospectus shortly after that release, I found him still sharp as a tack at his age. He reiterated his stance with regards to the Hall, vowing not to show up for induction if the the VC elected him, referencing both Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, who refused to run for president (“If elected I will not serve…”), and comedian Groucho Marx (“I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member”).

Against his wishes, Miller was included again on the 2010 VC ballot (58%) and the ’11 Expansion Era ballot. While he received 11 out of 16 votes in the latter, one short of election, the presence of MacPhail, Giles, Royals owner David Glass (an anti-union hardliner in the 1994 strike), and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf (a collusion kingpin and strike hardliner) meant that Miller had to run the table among the other 12 voters to gain entry. That he came so close no doubt owed to the fact that of the six Hall of Fame players on the panel, five (Rod Carew, Andre Dawson, Carlton Fisk, Paul Molitor, and Phil Niekro) benefitted from free agency.

Before Miller passed away in 2012, his son Peter ruled out the family’s participation in any posthumous honor by the Hall: “No one in our family will attend or speak at any HOF ceremony regardless of the outcome of the HOF vote. It’s important for union members and the media to understand why, so that the story does not get misrepresented as ‘sour grapes,’ personal pique, or anything of the sort.”

When Miller was included on the 2014 Expansion Era ballot, his children repeated their stance, with daughter Susan calling the committee “cowards [for] doing it after he died.” In the ensuing vote, managers Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, and Joe Torre were elected unanimously, while Miller and the other eight candidates were consigned to “six votes or fewer” territory. In 2018, he received seven of 16 votes while Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were elected, and Simmons fell one vote short.

As he’s on yet another ballot, voters (and Miller’s supporters) again face a paradox: is it more important to honor the man’s wishes or to rightfully recognize his place in baseball history, even in belated fashion? I’ve wrestled with this question for years, and I’m hardly alone. While I don’t begrudge the family its permanent boycott of the institution, I come down on the side of preferring that he’s elected. One can’t credibly tell the story of Major League Baseball without Marvin Miller, who revolutionized the game and its business practices. When he’s honored, both his accomplishments and the stain of the institution’s failure to honor him during his lifetime will be part of that story. His plaque will be the same size as all the others, but its presence will stand as a towering middle finger aimed at the small men who conspired against him during his lifetime and after, and who colluded against the players in efforts to break the union. The induction speech that Miller never got to give would have been epic, but even without it, his legacy will long outlive those of his foes.

With that, I’ve completed my review of the 10 candidates on the Modern Baseball ballot. I don’t have a vote, but if I did, three of my four spots would go Miller, Simmons, and Lou Whitaker, the two players whose cases are best supported by WAR, JAWS, and other considerations. That leaves me to choose between Thurman Munson and Dwight Evans for the fourth spot. I won’t rehash their cases here, but in the end, Munson’s above-standard peak, role in multiple championships, and numerous accolades give him the nod over Evans, who was so underappreciated in his day and who deserves better. I hope I get a chance to consider the latter again, but for now, I think this is an exceptional quartet, any of whom would improve the Hall’s rolls with his addition. We’ll find out who, if anyone, is elected on December 8.

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When the Washington Nationals dropped a 6-4 decision to the New York Mets at Citi Field on May 23, the Miami Marlins were breathing down their backs.

Yes, the 105-loss Marlins, who on May 23 were just 1 1/2 games back of the 19-31 Nationals in the NL East. The Toronto Blue Jays, who went on to lose 95 games, had one more win than the Nats on that date. Pitching coach Derek Lilliquist was replaced earlier in the month, and manager Dave Martinez’s seat was on fire.

On Wednesday, those same Nationals beat the 107-win Houston Astros in Game 7 to win the World Series.

The Nats did it after their horrendous start to the season. They did it while winning four times on the road against the best team in baseball. And they did it with five come-from-behind wins in five different elimination games, the first time that’s ever happened, according to MLB Stats.

What the Nationals just accomplished has already entered baseball lore. But are they the most unlikely champions of all time? Let’s see how they compare to a few other stunning World Series winners.

1906 Chicago White Sox

Transcendental Graphics / Getty Images Sport / Getty
The story: Nicknamed the “Hitless Wonders” – they hit a collective .230/.301/.286 in the regular season and averaged 3.68 runs a game – the 1906 White Sox won the pennant anyway, thanks to a 19-game win streak in August and a pitching staff that spun a modern-era record 32 shutouts. In the all-Chicago World Series, they hit .198 as a team but still upset the 116-win Cubs in six games. George Rohe – who had a 92 OPS+ in 1906, his second-last MLB season – torched the Cubs by hitting .333/.440/.571 with four RBIs. The Sox beat the great Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown twice and knocked him out of the clinching Game 6 in the second inning.

Do they compare? The White Sox and Nats both ran on superb starting pitching and earned their first three World Series wins on the road. Of course, we all know the Nats were a far, far better team at the plate, though the “Hitless Wonders” are still one of the most unlikely champions of all time.

1954 New York Giants
The story: The 97-win Giants were very good, featuring multiple All-Stars, an ace reliever in Hoyt Wilhelm, and NL MVP Willie Mays in center field. But they were huge underdogs in the World Series against a 111-win Indians team that was great enough to interrupt the Yankees’ dynasty. Cleveland crushed 156 homers and had a star-studded pitching staff whose collective ERA was well below three.

Then Mays went to work in Game 1.

The catch demoralized Cleveland. Giants pinch-hitter Dusty Rhodes – who didn’t start a game in the series but still hit .667 – walked off Game 1 with a pinch-hit homer in the 10th, and New York swept the Indians with ease.

Do they compare? There are plenty of parallels, with both teams employing star young outfielders who had breakout seasons at the plate. Also, both the 1954 Giants and 2019 Nats beat World Series opponents who had 14 more wins in the regular season, the second-largest gap in history (trailing 1906). The World Series win was shocking, but the pennant win wasn’t a complete surprise.

1969 New York Mets
The story: The Mets were hapless, lovable losers from their start in 1962 but roared to 100 wins behind a young pitching staff of Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry, and Nolan Ryan. After holding off the star-studded Cubs in the regular season, the Mets swept the Braves in the NLCS before stunning the heavily favored, 109-win Orioles in five games to win the World Series. They’re still baseball’s most famous underdogs.

Do they compare? Few Cinderella stories were better than the “Miracle Mets.” But it’s hard to put them in line with the Nats because these Mets featured all kinds of young talent whose careers were just getting started. It’s not that the Mets weren’t amazing – they still are. It’s just hard to directly compare them to an older Nats club that finally got over the hump.

1990 Cincinnati Reds
The story: The Reds had struggled for two years during the Pete Rose scandal and Marge Schott’s unstable ownership, making the 1990 turnaround all the more surprising. Led by the great Barry Larkin, ace Jose Rijo, and the infamous “Nasty Boys” bullpen, Lou Piniella’s Reds went wire-to-wire atop the NL West before stunning Barry Bonds and the Pirates in the NLCS.

They were heavy World Series underdogs against the defending champion Athletics, who cruised to a third straight AL pennant. But Billy Hatcher hit .750, the pitching staff (led by series MVP Rijo) held the powerful A’s to just eight runs, and the Reds pulled off the unthinkable sweep.

Do they compare? This is one of the more shocking World Series outcomes, with the 103-win A’s getting swept by a team with 12 fewer victories. But the Reds differ from many of the Cinderella teams on this list, including the Nats, because they went wire-to-wire. The lack of a midseason turnaround means these Reds were just a really strong team that did what they were supposed to do, even if few actually saw it coming.

2003 Florida Marlins
The story: The Marlins were 16-22 when they fired manager Jeff Torborg in favor of Jack McKeon. It didn’t help at first; Florida fell 10 games under .500 less than two weeks later, and didn’t go above that mark for good until mid-July. But they scratched and clawed their way to October, fighting off multiple teams to sneak in as a 91-win wild card.

From there, the Marlins would not be denied. Pudge Rodriguez held onto the ball to upset the 100-win Giants in the NLDS. Down 3-1 in the NLCS, the Marlins came back (with help from a famous incident) to beat the favored Cubs in seven. And then for the grand finale, they showed no fear while beating Joe Torre’s 101-win Yankees in six games, clinching it in the Bronx on Josh Beckett’s five-hit shutout.

Do they compare? An NL East wild-card team that at one point was 10 games under, featuring a bright young hitting star alongside a hodgepodge of assorted veterans, coming from nowhere to stun heavily favored juggernauts? You better believe they’re similar. One key difference is this year’s Nats were at least expected to compete for a playoff spot, whereas the 2003 Marlins were supposed to be just another wretched squad. But this is more in line with the kind of jaw-dropping upset we’re looking for.

1914 Boston Braves
The story: On July 4, the last-place Braves fell to 26-40 after dropping both ends of a doubleheader to Brooklyn. They sat 15 games back of the first-place Giants. But on July 5, the Braves suddenly started to win.

Bettmann / Bettmann / Getty
The “Miracle Braves” engineered one of the most remarkable midseason turnarounds in sports history. After that Fourth of July doubleheader they went 68-19, took first place from the Giants for good on Sept. 8, and ultimately won the pennant by 10 1/2 games. In the World Series, the Braves swept the dynastic Philadelphia Athletics – who boasted five future Hall of Famers and were looking for their second straight title, and fourth in five years – in stunning fashion, holding them to a .172 average while using just three pitchers in the process.

Do they compare? The “Miracle Braves” are the only other team besides the Nats to have won the World Series after being at least 12 games below .500 during the regular season, according to ESPN Stats & Info. And while the Nats’ record through their first 50 games is now the worst for a champion, the Braves nearly turning a 15-game deficit into a 15-game lead is a feat that should stand the test of time.

Realistically, the 1914 Braves are just about the only club that can claim to be a more unlikely champion than the Nationals. Not only did they complete that wild midseason turnaround, but they did it with a largely anonymous team that returned to irrelevancy two years later. Outside of star infielders Rabbit Maranville and 1914 MVP Johnny Evers, the Braves fielded a roster of no-names like Lefty Tyler, Butch Schmidt, and Possum Whitted. And that group showed the same lack of fear as the Nats while taking down one of the greatest teams ever assembled.

So let’s leave it at this: the 2019 Washington Nationals just did something we haven’t seen in 105 years. It might take another 105 to see it again. It was that unprecedented.

You might as well call it a miracle.

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Though the Astros came up short in Game 7 of the World Series, they still nearly achieved something in 2019 that no team had ever done — sweep the Most Valuable Player, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year Awards.

The American League Cy Young Award was a two-pitcher race between Houston teammates Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, with Verlander ultimately prevailing by just four first-place votes. Earlier in the week, Astros designated hitter Yordan Alvarez was the unanimous pick for AL Rookie of the Year.

• 2019 BBWAA Award winners

That left only the AL MVP Award, which Astros third baseman Alex Bregman lost to Angels superstar Mike Trout by just 20 points. But the Astros are still in pretty exclusive company even by winning just two of the three major BBWAA Awards, while also finishing with the runner-up in the other category.

Through 2019, the same team has produced two of the three MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year Award winners 54 times, including the ‘19 Mets (NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso and NL Cy Young Jacob deGrom) and Astros. That includes years in which the same player accounted for both, such as Clayton Kershaw winning the NL MVP and Cy Young Awards for the ‘14 Dodgers, or Ichiro Suzuki taking home AL MVP and Rookie of the Year honors for the ’01 Mariners.

Bregman finishes 2nd for AL MVP
Bregman finishes 2nd for AL MVP
00:29
Nov. 14th, 2019
Of those 54 instances, that same team was responsible for the runner-up for the third award just eight times — including this year’s Astros. That number drops to five when removing cases that include the same player vying for multiple awards. In other words, only six times in MLB history has the same team had three different players account for winning two of the awards and finishing second for the other.

Below is a list of those eight times the same team won two of three awards and produced the runner-up for the third (bolded names were runners-up; unbolded names won the award).

2019 Astros: Alex Bregman (MVP), Justin Verlander (Cy Young), Yordan Alvarez (ROY)
1993 White Sox: Frank Thomas (MVP), Jack McDowell (Cy Young), Jason Bere (ROY)
1988 Athletics: Jose Canseco (MVP), Dennis Eckersley (Cy Young), Walt Weiss (ROY)
1985 Cardinals: Willie McGee (MVP), John Tudor (Cy Young), Vince Coleman (ROY)
1974 Rangers: Jeff Burroughs (MVP), Fergie Jenkins (Cy Young), Mike Hargrove (ROY)
1973 Orioles: Jim Palmer (MVP), Jim Palmer (Cy Young), Al Bumbry (ROY)
1967 Red Sox: Carl Yastrzemski (MVP), Jim Lonborg (Cy Young), Reggie Smith (ROY)
1965 Dodgers: Sandy Koufax (MVP), Sandy Koufax (Cy Young), Jim Lefebvre (ROY)

Obviously, not every runner-up finish is created equal. Jason Bere finished second in the 1993 AL Rookie of the Year race, but the White Sox right-hander did not receive a single first-place vote in his quest to join teammates Frank Thomas (MVP) and Jack McDowell (Cy Young) in the winner’s circle. Angels outfielder Tim Salmon was voted the unanimous Rookie of the Year that season.

Likewise, Cardinals left-hander John Tudor received zero first-place votes in his runner-up finish for the 1985 NL Cy Young Award (Dwight Gooden was the unanimous winner). Orioles right-hander Jim Palmer was also second to unanimous ’73 AL MVP winner Reggie Jackson, though Palmer at least took home the Cy Young Award that season, while teammate Al Bumbry was named the Rookie of the Year.

While those three runners-up did not receive any first-place votes, Dennis Eckersley and Reggie Smith each received exactly one first-place vote, respectively, in the 1988 AL Cy Young and ’67 AL Rookie of the Year races. Eckersley lost out to Frank Viola, who received the other 27 votes, while Smith yielded way to Rod Carew.

That leaves two truly close calls — the 1974 Rangers and ’65 Dodgers.

Texas outfielder Jeff Burroughs held off a trio of Athletics — Joe Rudi, Sal Bando and Reggie Jackson — for the 1974 AL MVP Award. Teammate Mike Hargrove won the Rookie of the Year Award in decisive fashion, beating out Bucky Dent and George Brett.

That left only the AL Cy Young Award. Texas right-hander Fergie Jenkins went 25-12 with a 2.82 ERA, 225 strikeouts and 29 complete games in 1974 — but it wasn’t enough. Jenkins’ 10 first-place votes were two fewer than Oakland righty — and fellow future Hall of Famer — Catfish Hunter, who received 12 votes after posting an identical 25-12 record to go along with a 2.49 ERA, 143 strikeouts and 23 complete games.

Moving on to the 1965 Dodgers, Sandy Koufax was the unanimous Cy Young Award winner at a time when the award was given to only one player across the Majors, instead of one from each league. That same year, Dodgers infielder Jim Lefebvre easily claimed Rookie of the Year honors over future Hall of Famer Joe Morgan.

As for the NL MVP race, the Dodgers actually had two of the top three finishers — and three of the top five. Koufax received six first-place votes to go along with his Cy Young Award, and teammate Maury Wills received five first-place votes. Neither had enough to edge Giants outfielder Willie Mays, who received the other nine first-place votes after racking up 52 homers and 112 RBIs.

Koufax’s Game 7 gem
Koufax’s Game 7 gem
01:33
Oct. 14th, 1965
Though those are the two closest calls since the Cy Young Award was first handed out in 1956, it’s worth mentioning the 1952 Philadelphia Athletics. Left-hander Bobby Shantz won the AL MVP Award, while teammate and fellow pitcher Harry Byrd won AL Rookie of the Year honors. The Cy Young Award did not exist yet, but it stands to reason that Shantz would have won the award for the league’s best pitcher, considering he won the AL MVP Award in convincing fashion — and the MVP on the NL side was outfielder Hank Sauer.

The Astros figure to at least join the ranks of these close calls barring any surprises in Cy Young or Rookie of the Year voting, but time will tell if the MVP voting results in a first-of-its-kind sweep for Houston.

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While it was a joke, the Tampa Bay Rays social media team made a fool of themselves in a post comparing themselves to the 1966 world champion Baltimore Orioles team.
The 1966 Baltimore Orioles and 2019 Tampa Bay Rays have something in common. 53 years after the Orioles went 8-1 against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in 1966 the Rays were able to complete the same feat as they dominated Boston in their home ballpark.

With that fact in mine, the Rays had a little fun tweeting that their current 2019 club was better than the 1966 Orioles.

2019 Rays > 1966 Orioles#RaysUp pic.twitter.com/SGNfo3OSZ0

— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 2, 2019

For those who are unfamiliar with the 1966 Orioles, they were one of the most dominant teams in franchise history. The Birds went 97-65 and swept the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series to win their first championship in team history.

The team consisted of future Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Luis Aparicio and Frank Robinson who was named 1966 American League MVP after hitting .316 with 49 home runs and 122 RBI’s.

It’s safe to say, 1966 the Orioles don’t even compare to the 2019 Tampa Bay Rays (64-48). The Rays currently trail the New York Yankees by eight games for first place in the American League East, hold just a half game lead in the second Wildcard race and are on pace to finish the season 92-70.

While the team is better than most in baseball, they do not have a single star player, lacks home support and very well may miss out on the postseason.

Yes, the Rays social media was trying to make a joke, but it’s hard not to take offense to it as some of the most historic players to ever play the game of baseball played for the 1966 Orioles and helped them bring the first-ever world series championship to the city of Baltimore.

Though the joke was in poor taste, no Orioles fan will complain watching the Red Sox season fall apart just a year after winning the world series.

However, the Rays must remember 1966 Orioles > 2019 Tampa Bay Rays. Hear it from Palmer himself.

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Good morning, Camden Chatters.

No shocking upsets occurred yesterday in the AL Rookie of the Year results. John Means didn’t bring home the award. The Astros’ Yordan Alvarez, as expected, was the runaway winner, hauling in all 30 first-place votes. Means settled for second place, slotting ahead of the Rays’ Brandon Lowe.

There was no world in which Alvarez wasn’t going to win after he put up video game-type offensive numbers for the best team in baseball. Still, I was hoping one or two voters would toss a first-place vote to Means, who led Alvarez in bWAR and also spent the entire season in the majors while Alvarez wasn’t called up until June.

Means, of course, has absolutely nothing to feel bad about. It was an incredible 2019 season for the left-hander, who emerged as one of the biggest success stories in recent O’s memory, developing from a fringe prospect into the Orioles’ ace. He was the first Oriole to place as high as second in the Rookie of the Year voting since Rodrigo Lopez in 2002.

Between Means’ second-place finish in the ROY and his getting married last weekend, it’s been a memorable few days for the 26-year-old. His future looks bright indeed.

Meanwhile, there’s another spot opening up on the Orioles’ 40-man roster:

Dan Connolly

@danconnolly2016
Hearing that Aaron Brooks, who was 4-5 with a 6.18 ERA in 14 games, 12 starts, with the Orioles and was on the club’s 40-man roster is heading to Korea to pitch in the KBO for the Kia Tigers.

21
11:46 AM – Nov 12, 2019
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I’m a little surprised. Brooks wasn’t anything special for the Orioles, but he seemed to have the inside track for a roster spot on next year’s club. The KBO could be a better opportunity for him, though. Best of luck to Aaron overseas.

Links
Orioles could use this week’s GM meetings as opportunity to jump the market on offseason trades – Baltimore Sun
As Jon Meoli writes, there’s a chance the O’s could get the hot stove cooking early by pulling off a big trade or two this week. I don’t expect it to happen, but it would be nice to actually have some O’s news to talk about before, like, January.

Checking in on some top minor league arms with Chris Holt – Steve Melewski
Steve Melewski continues his interview with the O’s director of pitching, who offers his thoughts on the club’s top pitching prospects. Interestingly, Melewski includes Bruce Zimmermann on this list, alongside Grayson Rodriguez, DL Hall, and Michael Baumann.

Baltimore Orioles Planning Oriole Park Future | Ballpark Digest
TIL there’s a web site that focuses exclusively on news about baseball parks. Here they sum up some of the renovations that could soon be coming to Camden Yards. Fingers crossed that the public Wi-Fi ends up happening.

Harvey’s on solid bullpen ground in 2020 – School of Roch
What say you, Camden Chatters — should the O’s use Hunter Harvey as a starter or a reliever in 2020? Even though he seems pretty happy in the bullpen, I’d like to see him get one more chance as a starter until it’s absolutely clear he’s not cut out for it.

Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! The only living ex-Oriole with a birthday today is one whose Baltimore career was kind of a dud, Sammy Sosa (51). The slugger was long removed from his days of home run glory when the O’s acquired him in 2005. He batted .221/.285/.376 with 14 homers in 102 games for the Birds. It’s also the birthday of the late Don Johnson (b. 1926, d. 2015), who was a pitcher for the 1955 Orioles, not the “Nash Bridges” actor.

On this day in 1980, the Orioles’ Steve Stone won the AL Cy Young Award over the Athletics’ Mike Norris. Almost four decades later, no Oriole has won a Cy Young since. Kudos to Stone, but I must say, I have no idea how he beat Norris, whose ERA was 70 points better (2.53 to 3.23) and WHIP was markedly better (1.048 to 1.297), and who threw 34 more innings, had a better strikeout rate, and threw 24 complete games to Stone’s nine. Literally the only category Stone topped Norris in was wins (25 to 22). It’s almost as if awards voters back then put too much stock in wins.

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Former Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts is among the first-time candidates up for induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Roberts, who played for the Orioles from 2001-13 before spending 2014 with the New York Yankees, is one of 18 players who will be on the ballot for induction to the Hall of Fame for the first time, along with 14 holdovers.

The Orioles drafted Roberts with the 50th overall pick in 1999 out of the University of South Carolina. During 13 seasons in Baltimore, he was a two-time All-Star, twice leading the American League in doubles and leading the AL with 50 steals in 2007.

Baltimore Orioles batter Brian Roberts shakes raindrops off his body as he fouls off a pitch against the Washington Nationals in the third inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards Friday, Jun 22, 2012.

Baltimore Orioles batter Brian Roberts shakes raindrops off his body as he fouls off a pitch against the Washington Nationals in the third inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards Friday, Jun 22, 2012. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)
For his career, Roberts, 42, was a .276/.347/.409 hitter and ranks in the top 10 in Orioles history in various statistics, including doubles, hits and walks. He has served as an analyst for Orioles radio and television broadcasts since 2018.

A player must receive 75% of the voting, which is performed by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, to earn induction into the Hall of Fame. Players can be on the ballot for up to 10 years, under the condition that they appear on at least 5% of the ballots each year. Voters can vote for up to 10 players each year.

[More from sports] ‘The best team in the NFL right now’: Ravens surge to top of NFL power rankings »
Other players with Orioles ties on the ballot are outfielder Sammy Sosa and right-hander Curt Schilling, both of whom are on the ballot for the eighth time. Schilling, 53, was the leading vote-getter among players who did not earn induction in 2019, appearing on 60.9% of ballots. He pitched in Baltimore for parts of three seasons to begin his career.

Newly signed Baltimore Oriole, Sammy Sosa, was introduced to the media during a press conference at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Newly signed Baltimore Oriole, Sammy Sosa, was introduced to the media during a press conference at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. (GENE SWEENEY JR/Baltimore Sun)
Sosa, 51, garnered 8.5% of the votes last year. He played 102 games for the Orioles in 2005, his penultimate season in the major leagues.

Ballots are due Dec. 31, with the results announced on MLB Network at 6 p.m. Jan. 21. Elected players will be inducted July 26 in Cooperstown, New York.

2020 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot
Bobby Abreu, Josh Beckett, Heath Bell, Barry Bonds, Eric Chávez, Roger Clemens, Adam Dunn, Chone Figgins, Rafael Furcal, Jason Giambi, Todd Helton, Raúl Ibañez, Derek Jeter, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Paul Konerko, Cliff Lee, Carlos Peña, Brad Penny, Andy Pettitte, J.J. Putz, Manny Ramírez, Brian Roberts, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Alfonso Soriano, Sammy Sosa, José Valverde, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner, Larry Walker

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Good morning, Camden Chatters.

For any O’s fan who’s planning to attend a weeknight game at Camden Yards next year — before Memorial Day or after Labor Day, at least — last night’s club announcement should be of particular interest to you. The Birds, for the first time, will be shifting those games to a 6:35 PM start time, half an hour earlier than what’s been the norm for the last couple of decades. A total of 16 games will start at 6:35.

The time change is a double-edged sword. In theory, it should allow more kids to be able to attend games — and perhaps even stay to the end — while being able to get home at a reasonable hour on a school night. Plus, if you’re the early-to-bed type who has trouble staying up for the end of night games, you’ll be in luck at the start of the 2020 season. Only one of the Orioles’ first 18 games — home or road — will start as late at 7:05 PM. So, well until mid-April, plenty of O’s games will be over in time for fans to enjoy the rest of their night.

On the other hand, a 6:35 start time could make it more difficult for people with 9-to-5 jobs to get to the ballpark on time, especially if they don’t live or work particularly close to Camden Yards. And even fans who are just watching on TV might have to alter their usual evening routine to accommodate the new schedule.

Personally I like the change, but I say that as someone who rarely attends weeknight games these days. I don’t think it’ll have any meaningful impact on attendance, if that’s the goal. As of this writing, more voters in Mark’s poll seem to be in favor of the change than against it. What do you think?

Links
Elias holding same shopping list as GM meetings conclude – School of Roch
I hadn’t seen this tidbit about Jose Iglesias before: “They did their homework on him last winter, found that he’s developed a reputation as a negative influence in the clubhouse and passed on him.” Guess you can scratch his name off the Orioles’ shopping list.

Could a pair of former first-round picks elevate the O’s ’pen? – Steve Melewski
Having a full season of Hunter Harvey and/or Dillon Tate could help the Orioles’ bullpen improve over 2019. That’s not a high bar to clear.

Pitcher Aaron Brooks leaves Orioles for an opportunity in South Korea – BaltimoreBaseball.com
If you’ve been wondering how things are going for Tyler Wilson in the KBO, he checks in via text message at the end of this story. Happily, it seems like he’s having a pretty good time. Hopefully the same will be true for Brooks.

Baltimore Orioles: Could An NL West Team Come For Jonathan Villar? – Birds Watcher
The Padres have prospects to trade and are reportedly trying to make a run, so Nick Stevens wonders if a Villar trade could entice them. I sure wouldn’t mind raiding that stacked minor league system, but I’m not sure the Padres will be so eager to give youngsters away for a pending free agent.

Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And let’s all wish a happy 27th birthday to one of the Orioles’ longest tenured veterans, Dylan Bundy. Bundy may not have lived up to the massive hype that came with being the No. 4 overall pick in the 2011 draft, but he’s developed as a guy who will take the ball every fifth day and won’t embarrass you. He was basically a league-average pitcher in 2019 by ERA+ (99), which is perfectly fine for the O’s. Bundy is one of only four players remaining from the Birds’ last playoff team in 2016, along with Chris Davis, Trey Mancini, and Mychal Givens.

Other O’s birthdays today include 2002 soft-tossing Australian John Stephens (40) and 2004 righty Darwin Cubillan (47).

On this day in 1983, Cal Ripken Jr. won the first of his two career AL MVP awards, following up his 1982 Rookie of the Year campaign with an even better season. Cal led the league in runs (121), hits (211), and doubles (47) while batting .318/.371/.517 with 27 homers and 102 RBIs for the world champion Orioles. He became the first player in big league history to win the ROY and MVP in consecutive seasons.