A new chapter, with a new owner, starts today for the Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

A new chapter, with a new owner, starts today for the Orioles

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports


David Rubenstein seemed to be reflecting what fans are feeling today when he reacted Wednesday to being approved as the new owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

“I’m breathing again … MLB just unanimously approved the deal! @orioles, the Next Chapter has begun! Go O’s!” he said on X, formerly Twitter.

The next chapter begins at 3:05 p.m., when the Orioles play the Los Angeles Angels at Camden Yards. It will be Rubenstein’s first game as owner, and the first of a 162-game schedule for the defending champions of the American League East. The Orioles won 101 games in 2023, and were never swept until the worst time — when the Texas Rangers eliminated them from the playoffs in three games. It is serving as motivation for 2024.


During the offseason, they traded for an ace, Opening Day starting pitcher Corbin Burnes, and acquired one of the most accomplished closers in the game, Craig Kimbrel, to replace Félix Bautista, who will miss the season after having Tommy John surgery.

They also will start the season without two of their starting pitchers — Kyle Bradish and John Means, who both are recovering from elbow injuries.

But, for the most part, they’re returning with their star players, shortstop Gunnar Henderson and catcher Adley Rutschman, and so much talent that a lot of it is starting the season with Triple-A Norfolk, including top prospect, 20-year-old Jackson Holliday.

The only rookie coming down the orange carpet will be outfielder Colton Cowser, who hit .304 with an 1.135 OPS, six homers and 14 RBIs this spring. He’s excited to be a part of the Opening Day festivities.

“Talking with everyone, I know it’s a real exciting time,” he said. “They told me not to trip, but I’ll do whatever. If they put a little pot [of money] together, I don’t know.”

If spring training is any indication, the Orioles are ready to begin their title defense. They finished 23-6-2.

Not all the numbers were impressive, but veteran outfielders Austin Hays and Cedric Mullins said not to worry, that the real test, and season, starts today.

Hays, who was chosen as an extra outfielder for the American League All-Star team last year, hit .275 with 16 home runs, 67 RBIs and a .769 OPS, but his spring numbers were terrible, a .138 average with a .539 OPS, a home run and five RBIs. He missed time late in spring training with a stomach virus.

Mullins, who’s the only Oriole to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season, had two stints on the injured list with right adductor/groin strains last year. In the spring, he missed nine days with a strained right hamstring, His numbers were worse than Hays’. Mullins hit just .111 (3-for-27) with no extra base hits.

“In all honesty, it was really about the quality of my at-bats,” Mullins said. “I include my live [batting practice swings against pitchers] as well. It’s not just about the games. It was about the at-bats in total, which I got a decent amount outside the games … Overall, I’ve got a lot of confidence going in.”

Hays agrees.

“There’s a lot of at-bats that go unseen by cameras. We have cameras for all of that. We are facing some pretty damn good pitchers in this organization and on those back fields and in the stadium when the team’s traveling and going to different stadium, we’re staying back. We’re getting a lot of at-bats. You might only say I had [29] at-bats. We’re looking more at 75, 80, 85 if you take in the accumulation of all those other at-bats. I think I’m in a good place right now.”

Big change for Coulombe

A year ago, left-handed reliever Danny Coulombe was traded from the Minnesota Twins to the Orioles just before the season started. He adjust well, going 5-3 with two saves and a 2.81 earned-run average in 61 games.

“It’s very different. I have a rapport with all these guys now,” Coulombe said. Last year, the only player he knew was Jorge Mateo, who’d been a teammate in Oakland.

“It was definitely shocking showing up, and ‘you’re part of the team,’” he said.

Coulombe is back at the same locker with almost all of his teammates.

“I was just talking to [fellow reliever] Mike Baumann about it, and he said, ‘I feel like I was just here,’” he said. “There are a few new faces, but it’s pretty crazy, there’s not much turnover. I’m just thankful they could keep most of the guys here.”

What’s left to do

On Thursday morning, the Orioles must finalize their roster. They’ll place Bradish and Means on the injured list, and must decide the fate of three players — catcher Michael Pérez, who’s likely to be assigned to Triple-A Norfolk, outfielder Ryan McKenna and infielder/outfielder Tyler Nevin. It appeared that Nevin had won a spot on the club until the Orioles signed utilityman Tony Kemp on Tuesday. There could always be a last-minute acquisition or injury.

To Top