Happy “Pitchers” and Catchers Day! I Guess?

empty baseball field with sun rising
photo: O's PR Director Kristen Hudak

Happy Pitchers & Catchers Day, Birdland!

Yeah, that’s about the reaction I expected.

For months, I’ve been using the (admittedly, bad!) joke that “Orioles PitcheR and Catchers report on February 13!” Never in my bleakest dark year-flashback dreams did I believe that I’d STILL be able to make that stupid joke as said pitcher and catchers were first reporting to the Ed Smith complex in Sarasota this morning.

The Orioles haven’t signed a single legitimate big league starting pitcher since the 2017 season came to its disappointing close, despite that being the most glaring and obvious gaping hole in the team’s roster construction.

Here, let’s take a gander at the Birds’ transaction log since last season came to a merciful end (I won’t list re-signing/arbitration-avoiding deals for current players, or instances where the Birds traded someone for “future considerations, but you can see all those at the link, should you be so inclined):

October 2, 2017: Alec Asher, Chris Lee Called Up from Minors

November 16, 2017: Signed RP Ryan O’Rourke to a Minor-League Contract

November 20, 2017: Purchased David Hess & Hunter Harvey from Minors

November 22, 2017: Traded LF Jaycob Brugman to Oakland for RHP Jake Bray

November 27 – December 22, 2017: Signed the following to Minor-League Contracts – RP Josh Edgin, SS Ruben Tejada, RP Joely Rodriguez, RP Jhan Martinez, RP Jeff Ferrell, SP Perci Garner, RP Jason Gurka, SP Asher Wojciechowski, SP Tim Melville

December 14, 2017: Selected RHP Nestor Cortes, RHP Pedro Araujo, RHP Jose Mesa Jr. in Rule 5 Draft

January 19, 2018: Signed SP Eddie Gamboa, C Audrey Perez to Minor-League Contracts

February 6, 2018: Signed RP Elvis Araujo to MiLB Contract

February 7, 2018: Signed RP David Homberg, OF Craig Gentry to MiLB Contracts

In short, nothing has been done to address the final three rotation spots at all. If you squint really hard, you can imagine Cortes, chosen from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft, as the number five starter.

Here’s how the Birds list their current rotation on their depth chart:

Orioles rotation depth chart.

So, yeah. The ol’ “Bundy, Gausman and Pray for Rain” rotation.

Just for fun (if you’re a masochist, that is), let’s take a look at the combined MLB numbers of starters 3-5 on that there list:

268.1 IP

10W – 21L

187 K

95 BB

26 Starts (18 from Asher)

Combined 5.00 ERA

Now, nobody actually believes that will be the Birds’ rotation come Opening Day, but the fact that it’s thus constructed as the pitches begin to fly in Sarasota is nonetheless distressing. At the very least, we can almost guarantee that Chris Tillman will be back on a one-year “show me” contract, and will slot somewhere in those final three spots.

In addition, there are still PLENTY of free agents (pitchers & otherwise) remaining on the street. Reams of e-ink have been spilled on that subject this winter, so I won’t rehash it here. Suffice to say, the O’s still MIGHT bring in an Alex Cobb, a Lance Lynn (if they’ll cave in and back off their four-year contract demands), an Andrew Cashner, or similar.

We don’t know what they’ll do, but their inaction thus far has caused a good bit of consternation among O’s fans, many of whom are already writing off this as just another lost season, and the dusk of another long stretch of dark years baseball.

I’m not personally that depressed about things at the moment, but I certainly understand the sentiment.

In closing, I’ve been enjoying the “laugh so you don’t cry” mood that’s been going on around the Bird-O’sphere, mainly because it beats the alternative, straight-up nihilism. Camden Depot’s Matt Kremnitzer has been leading said charge, so here are a few of his Tweets that got a chuckle from me lately:

Thanks for the sadz/laughz, Matt.

This entry was posted in Bird Feed, Blog View, Featured by Derek Arnold. Bookmark the permalink.

About Derek Arnold

Derek Arnold
RSR/ESR Senior Editor. Derek is originally from and a current resident of Pasadena, MD. He’s a graduate of UMBC and has been a lifelong Baltimore sports fan. In 2007 he founded B’More Birds’ Nest, where he wrote about the Ravens and Orioles before joining RSR in 2012. Derek tells anyone...more

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