A new year and old questions about Orioles roster

I’m finally done with 2022 except for those occasions when I reference it in relation to the upcoming season. Like, can the bullpen be as good or better than it was last summer? Can Kyle Bradish and Dean Kremer pick up where they left off? Can Ramón Urías win a Gold Glove at a different position?

Will I break my record set last year for most times eating orange chicken in the press dining room?

The last Orioles transaction before Saturday night’s Tyler Nevin trade to the Tigers was the Dec. 23 trade of first baseman Lewin Díaz to the Braves for cash considerations. The Braves designated him for assignment less than a week later.

I woke up Saturday again wondering what the heck happened to Nevin. The Orioles designated him for assignment on Dec. 22 while acquiring catcher James McCann from the Mets. Still no news on the outcome.

I theorized that the Orioles were trying and struggling to find a trade partner. Otherwise, it’s the waiver process and either a claim or outright. Should have been done.

Did the holidays factor into it? Was I spending too much time caring about it?

The Orioles announced later that night that they dealt Nevin, who was acquired from the Rockies in the 2020 Mychal Givens trade, for cash considerations. Our old friend.

(James McCann trade while I was asleep. Givens signing less than a minute after I walked inside the Columbia Mall for some late Christmas shopping. The Nevin trade as I was loading my plate with lamb for my New Year’s Eve dinner. I yearn for the days when I’d just pull onto the side of the road and interrupt my drive to the Eastern Shore.)

The shopping list is repeating like a cabbage roll. The Orioles want to add another veteran starting pitcher. They want to add a left-handed bat to back up first baseman Ryan Mountcastle and work into the mix at designated hitter.

Not much left to say besides passing along more names, including first baseman Eric Hosmer, who reportedly was “on the radar,” however you wanted to interpret it.

The level of interest and aggression wasn’t confirmed. And the Cubs became the favorites over the weekend to sign him.

A trade remains the best way to find a starter who logically slots at the top of the rotation rather than winning a camp competition. However, it has to work for both sides, and one potential glitch is a recent report that the Marlins are seeking major upgrades to their lineup instead of “chasing prospects,” per the Miami Herald’s Craig Mish.

The Orioles have players on the projected 26-man roster who would fill that requirement, but they’re hesitant to part with them and punch holes in their own lineup.

Relinquishing prospects is a gamble, but the perception among some industry folks is that the Orioles are more comfortable going that route.

Michael Wacha is a free agent possibility, based on the club’s reported interest, but as in other cases, a more lucrative deal could be found elsewhere. So, we continue to wait and wonder.

Moving into the month of January brings the Orioles closer to the deadline on the 13th for signing their six arbitration players or exchanging figures and perhaps going to hearings. Contracts are pending for outfielders Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander and Austin Hays, shortstop Jorge Mateo and pitchers Austin Voth and Dillon Tate.

A back-burner issue during the Winter Meetings is moving to the front of the stove. Perhaps overplayed a bit in the media because they’re under team control, no matter the outcome, but these hearings can be messy.

The Orioles are file-and-go until they aren’t, as we’ve seen with some late agreements.

* The Red Sox hired Kyle Hudson as their first base coach and outfield instructor.

The name sounds familiar, right?

The Orioles drafted Hudson in the fourth round in 2008 out of the University of Illinois, where he also was a receiver on the football team. A speed guy. He appeared in 14 games in 2011, his only time spent in the majors, and went 4-for-28 with two RBIs, three runs scored and two stolen bases.

Hudson was released the following January, signed by the Rangers, traded twice, re-signed by the Orioles in February 2013, granted free agency in November and signed by the Angels and Dodgers. He didn’t play after 2015.

Hudson, who turns 36 this week, stole 189 bases in eight minor league seasons. He spent the past three years as a coach on Cleveland’s staff.

I forgot that Hudson pinch-ran for Chris Davis in the ninth inning on Sept. 28, his final major league game, and scored the tying run against the Red Sox on Nolan Reimold’s double off Jonathan Papelbon. Reimold scored the game-winner on Robert Andino’s single, which eliminated Boston from playoff contention.

Yes, Hudson played a role in the Curse of the Andino.

You could have given me 20 guesses on who crossed the plate with the tying run and I never would have remembered him.

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A wish list for the 2023 season

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