Bird Talk: Wieters weighs in on rule change, fantasy tips, and more

The Orioles silenced their critics this past week by signing not one or two free agents, but three. A quiet offseason suddenly became very busy in the last 10 days with the additions of Ubaldo Jimenez, Suk-min Yoon and Nelson Cruz.

But that’s not the only thing that happened in baseball.

Read more for what those in the national media are saying about the Orioles.

* The new catcher collision rule will go into effect this season. Many have dubbed the rule “The Buster Posey Rule” after the Giants catcher suffered a broken leg and torn ankle ligaments in his second season. Many have criticized the new rule, but Orioles catcher Matt Wieters supports it. ESPN’s Jayson Stark notes some of the gruesome collisions Wieters has suffered. Wieters does have some questions about the new rule, particularly what it means to be “in possession of the ball.” Read more here from Stark.

* Another Bird Talk piece means I come armed with more fantasy baseball information. Don’t worry, I’m not delivering the advice personally. After all, I finished 11th in our office pool last season. I have not one, but two different fantasy stories this week. First, has its Orioles fantasy report. Closer Tommy Hunter is listed as the team’s sleeper pick, while the team’s overall strength is its power. Interestingly enough, Yoon is listed as the O’s long man in the bullpen. The Sporting News also released its fantasy preview for the Orioles. Kevin Gausman and Yoon are listed as the pitching fantasy sleepers, while Henry Urrutia is listed as the offensive sleeper pick. Eduardo Rodriguez is listed as the top prospect to keep an eye on.

* After a quite offseason, the Orioles made three significant free agent signings in the last 10 days. Eric Karabell of ESPN Insider (subscription required) believes Cruz will be a good fit with the Birds. Cruz will fit in nicely between Chris Davis and Adam Jones, according to Karabell. Karabell also cautions fantasy owners from picking up Jimenez, as the pitcher can often be erratic.

* Finally, Ricky Doyle of NESN offers his 2014 Orioles preview. Doyle notes that the Orioles have a potent offense, especially with the addition of Cruz. But Doyle believes the O’s offense may not be able to score enough runs to win games if the pitching staff is shaky. Yes, the Orioles did score the most runs in the majors last season, but they also had the fourth-worst ERA in the majors, as well. Doyle says to keep an eye on third baseman Manny Machado and Gausman.

That’s a wrap on this week’s Bird Talk. Make sure to come back to every day. Don’t forget Grapefruit League games begin Friday!

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