As we O’s fans in and around Baltimore dig out from our first snowfall of the winter, the sights and sounds surrounding Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Opening Day seem forever away. Let’s check out some Birdland odds and ends to try to pass the time, shall we?
O’s to Hire Long as Hitting Coach
According to Roch Kubatko, the Birds are set to hire Don Long as their new hitting coach. Long, 56, has held the same role in Cincinnati for the past five seasons.
The hire inspired this quite hilarious tweet from Ryan Wormeli:
Camden Yards, the home of Don Long's Long Dongs https://t.co/n9eFanI1gR
— Ryan Wormeli (@RyanWarmly) January 13, 2019
Long replaces Scott Coolbaugh, with whom many O’s fans had grown tired over the past few seasons, fairly or not. It’s a chicken-or-egg situation – did the Birds’ all-or-nothing approach at the plate come as a result of their personnel, or were the players instructed to go that way regardless of their innate talents?
Regardless, don’t expect any miracles from Long in 2019. If Amazing.bet were giving odds on where the O’s might finish in runs scored, a safe bet would probably be in the bottom third of the league.
Villar, Bundy, Givens Avoid Arbitration
Jonathan Villar, Dylan Bundy, and Michael Givens all avoided arbitration, signing deals for the 2019 season last week.
Villar was a pleasant surprise after coming over for Jonathan Schoop from Milwaukee. He hit .258/.336/.392 with eight home runs in 54 games. He was a breath of fresh air on the bases, swiping 21 bags in 24 attempts, a number that would usually represent a season’s worth of steals during the post-Brian Roberts Buck Showalter era.
Bundy was disappointing after a promising start, finishing with a 5.45 ERA in 31 starts, with his 16 losses tied for the most in the AL. He tossed a couple gems, including a complete game two-hitter against the White Sox on May 24 and an eight-inning, 0 R, three-hit performance against Boston on June 11. He also had some ridiculous clunkers though, none more memorable than his outing against the Royals on May 8, when he faced just seven batters, with four of them homering and every single one scoring.
The hope here is that Mike Elias’ staff can reset Bundy and squeeze the most out of him, as they did with so many pitchers, young and veteran, in Houston.
Happy shoveling, O’s fans.