With FanFest just three days away, we are even closer to baseball being back. Just a reminder: pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 13. The Orioles have had a quiet offseason thus far, but things may be heating up rather soon. Stay tuned.
* Oh, the offseason. I’m sure most Orioles fans are ready for the winter blues to end. Before spring training starts, SI.com’s Cliff Corcoran graded the O’s offseason. Look away if you’re expecting some good news. Corcoran gives the Birds an offseason grade of a D. Corcoran sites the Orioles’ lack of moves for his grade. Corcoran believes the Orioles still need to focus on starting pitching. The only thing preventing the Orioles from receiving a failing grade was the minor moves the team made earlier were considered smart. Ouch, that’s a bit harsh.
* J.J. Hardy has been one of the Orioles’ most consistent players throughout his time in Baltimore. He proved his value last season by winning a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove. Hardy is in the final year of his contract, and he has made it known that he would like to stay in Charm City once his current deal expires. CSNBaltimore.com’s Rich Dubroff has more here. Locking up a key member of the Orioles’ core, and one who has been so consistent as Hardy should be near the top of the Dan Duquette’s priority list before Hardy hits the free agent market.
* After Grant Balfour signed a two-year deal with the Rays, the Orioles were immedieately linked to free agent closer Fernando Rodney. MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko has reported on this extensively, but here we are almost a week after the Balfour signing, and Rodney is still a free agent. CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman says the Orioles could face competition from the Mariners in trying to sign Rodney.
* Finally, news broke yesterday that free agent starting pitcher A.J. Burnett has decided to pitch in 2014. It has been unknown whether Burnett would opt to retire for pitch for another season. The Orioles had previously been interested in the 37-year-old. Burnett lives in Monkton, Md., and many feel this could play to the Orioles’ advantage. Travis Sawick broke the news that Burnett is interested in pitching. Will he suit up for the Orioles? Here’s more from Kubatko and a tweet from FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal are below.
The Burnett news seems like a positive spot to end this week’s edition of Bird Talk. We hope to see you this weekend at FanFest. If you’re there, be sure to stop by the MASN booth to win prizes and take your picture with several members of the Orioles family! Don’t forget to come back next week for the latest edition of Bird Talk.