The holidays are a time for giving, which is complicated since someone has to be on the receiving end to make it work.
(It’s a thinker)
I’d like to give Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias an unlimited budget to supplement a rebuild process. Funnel cash into the international scouting and analytics departments, but also push some of it toward the best starting pitchers on the market - whether to sign as free agents or inherit fat contracts.
Do you think the Astros turned into contenders, and champions, by growing the arms?
They grew really excited about having Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke.
I’d like to give manager Brandon Hyde a reliable bullpen with relievers in set roles. Let him see how the other half lived with Zack Britton, Darren O’Day, Brad Brach, Mychal Givens and Brian Matusz.
Let him reach for the phone without a knot in his stomach.
I’d like to give Givens the eighth inning and a device to tune out the 57th question he’ll receive about the possibility of a trade.
I’d like to give Alex Cobb good health. Allow him to break camp as the top-of-the-rotation starter that the previous front office envisioned, regain the form that convinced it to dole out $57 million over four years and become a trade chip in July.
Both sides would benefit. The Orioles could shave more salary and maybe pick up a prospect in return, and Cobb could escape last place and pitch for a contender, which he’d love to be doing.
I’d like to give John Means a healthy father.
I’d like to give Tanner Scott a direct line to the strike zone. His stuff is nasty. The fastball and slider can make him a dominant reliever in the backend of the bullpen if he’s able to improve his command.
I’d like to give Cedric Mullins a do-over.
I’d like to give Stevie Wilkerson more save opportunities, just for the comedic relief.
I’d like to give Hanser Alberto 162 left-handed starting pitchers to face next season.
I’d like to give Josh Rogers an indestructible left elbow.
I’d like to give Austin Hays a full season in the majors. In center field. Wherever Hyde decides to bat him.
I’d like to give Steve Johnson a spring training invite. I haven’t heard that he’s seeking one, but are you telling me that he couldn’t come out of the bullpen and get more outs than some other relievers who auditioned this year?
I’d like to give Matusz a spring training invite. He’s got to be seeking one after pitching in the independent Atlantic League this summer. He’s left-handed and has a pulse - and a track record. What’s stopping a team from taking a look?
I’d like to give Twitter a painful rash option besides muting and blocking.
I’d like to give Pedro Severino a spray that repels foul tips.
I’d like to give Ángel Hernández a rule book. Better yet, some other career options.
You, too, can drive an 18-wheeler.
I’d like to give Hernández an open passenger seat for C.B. Bucknor.
I’d like to give everyone who continues to follow and read me a giant check as an expression of my gratitude. But we don’t spend big in a rebuild, so you’ll have to settle for my eternal gratitude.
Also my internal gratitude. I tend to bury my true feelings.