Awards, free agency and more

Finalists for the four Baseball Writers’ Association of America awards will be announced tonight beginning at 6 p.m. on MLB Network. Plan your meals around it.

The top three finishers will be revealed in alphabetical order, so don’t panic if it takes a while for Adley Rutschman’s name to appear among American League rookies.

Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez will be called ahead of him. Rutschman, Rodriguez and the Royals’ Bobby Witt Jr. were finalists for the Players Choice Award, with the Mariners outfielder taking the honor.

The Guardian’s Steven Kwan could bump Witt from some BBWAA ballots. It would be shocking if Rutschman or Rodriguez were excluded. Rodriguez is widely viewed as the favorite.

MLB.com’s rookie power rankings posted on Oct. 5 had Rodriguez first in the AL, followed by Rutschman, Kwan, Witt, the Twins’ Joe Ryan and the Mariners’ George Kirby.

Gunnar Henderson is waiting his turn. The 2023 season is right around the corner, now that the champagne and beer have dried in the Astros clubhouse.

No Oriole has been chosen Rookie of the Year since reliever Gregg Olson in 1989. Why not someone else?

Olson received 26 of 28 first-place votes. Kansas City’s Tom Gordon and Seattle’s Ken Griffey Jr. each had one.

Orioles third baseman Craig Worthington finished fourth.

Brandon Hyde will be a finalist for AL Manager of the Year. There’s no way he’s excluded. I’m not passing along inside information, since I don’t have access to it. He’s just a lock.

Cleveland’s Terry Francona is expected to provide the stiffest competition. The third spot could go to Seattle’s Scott Servais or Houston’s Dusty Baker.

Keep in mind that ballots are submitted before the playoffs. The World Series doesn’t tilt the odds in Baker’s favor.

Buck Showalter is the last Orioles manager to win the BBWAA award in 2014. Showalter and Hyde won this year’s Sporting News honor.

Davey Johnson was named Manager of the Year in 1997 and Frank Robinson in 1989.

Earl Weaver never won the award, but the BBWAA didn’t recognize managers until 1983 with Tony La Russa and Tommy Lasorda. I don’t know what took so long.

Cal Ripken Jr. was selected Most Valuable Player that year. He’s the last Oriole to win the award in 1991, receiving 15 first-place votes to finish ahead of Detroit’s Cecil Fielder (nine).

The Orioles lost 95 games, finished in sixth place in the East Division – back when there was no Central – and moved into their new ballpark. Fans chanted “MVP” each time that Ripken batted in the final game.

The club doesn’t have an MVP candidate this year, but stick around.

It also won’t have a finalist for the Cy Young Award. No Oriole has won it since Steve Stone in 1980.

What’s more shocking, that it’s been so long or that Stone was the recipient?

Stone’s 25 wins remain a club record, back when the stat mattered. Mike Cuellar and Dave McNally each posted 24 victories in 1970.

That team was pretty good, as I recall.

Urban Shocker went 27-12 for the St. Louis Browns in 1921 before the franchise moved to Baltimore.

Stone remains the biggest shocker to me with his 25-7 record, 3.23 ERA and nine complete games in 37 starts, and his three perfect innings as the AL starter in the All-Star Game. He appeared in 15 games the following season, including 12 starts, and went 4-7 with a 4.60 ERA and 1.436 WHIP in 62 2/3 innings before the Devil said, “Pay up!”

I kid, of course. There’s no proof of this happening. Stone came down with shoulder tendinitis – heavy usage of his curveball has been blamed in some circles – and he retired. But we’ll always have 1980.

The winners of this year’s BBWAA awards will be announced next week. The rookies on Nov. 14, the managers on Nov. 15, the Cy Youngs on Nov. 16 and the MVPs on Nov. 17.

Free agency began yesterday with 131 players filing, though their representatives aren’t free to negotiate with other teams until Thursday. Rougned Odor, Robinson Chirinos and Jesús Aguilar are removed from the Orioles’ 40-man roster, and the club has five days after the World Series to decide on Jordan Lyles’ $11 million option.

Left-hander John Means will be removed from the 60-day injured list and returned to the 40-man roster, which was down to 35 players yesterday morning. The Orioles outrighted catcher Anthony Bemboom to Triple-A Norfolk again after signing him to a one-year contract. The move first appeared on the club’s transactions page, though it wasn’t official, and an industry source confirmed it.

Bemboom is expected to accept the assignment and compete for the backup job in spring training. He’ll earn a higher split rate in the minors per the deal he signed.

More space could be made on the 40-man because it has to be set by Nov. 15 leading into the Dec. 7 Rule 5 draft.

The non-tender deadline is Nov. 18 and the Orioles still have seven arbitration-eligible players: outfielders Anthony Santander, Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays, infielder Jorge Mateo, pitchers Dillon Tate and Austin Voth, and catcher Cam Gallagher.

World Series odds for 2023 already are posting online, before teams have come close to setting their rosters.

BetOnLine has the Orioles 50/1 to win it after being 150/1 this year.

Let's at least get through the awards first.

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