Despite their recent “successful” home stand, in which they went 5-3 – a nice positive turn for them, mediocre for any true contender – the Orioles of 2018 are still a lost cause. They’re a woeful 13-30, and their road record is the stuff of nightmares: 3-17, losers of 13 straight, and they’ve yet to win a game in any park other than Camden Yards or Yankee Stadium so far this season (0-16 everywhere else).
Just truly, remarkably awful. The 13 straight road losses ties a franchise-worst, set back in – you guessed it – 1988. Even after finally winning a few games and getting back to a non-historically-awful pace, good ol’ 1988 just keeps popping up. That should be all you need to realize that this isn’t just a run-of-the-mill bad season.
Still, that could actually be a positive thing in the long-term, right? Prior to the season, many of us considered the worst-case scenario for this team to be hanging around .500 as the trade deadline approached, within striking distance of that second wild card spot. In that scenario, we knew it would be likely the team would choose not to trade away any of their assets with an eye to the future, but instead trade one of their few prospects for another band-aid Gerardo Parra/Scott Feldman-type player in an attempt to “go for it” one last time.
This team, thanks to being so, so bad, will have no similar illusions. Perhaps we can get this much-needed rebuild kick-started after all, yes? While Manny Machado won’t have nearly the value he did last year, or even an offseason or two ago, he could still bring back some potentially useful young, controllable pieces from a contender in need of a spark. Same goes for Brad Brach, and potentially even Zach Britton and/or Adam Jones. Guys like Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy should perhaps also be on the block, depending on your outlook.
Here’s the piece we all seem to be forgetting – willfully or not – though: this is still the Orioles we’re talking about here. Whatever they end up doing has about a 50/50 chance of making any damn sense at all.
Check out these quotes from Dan Duquette, via MLB’s Daniel Kramer:
“If you’re going to revamp your club and get better for the future, as an organization, you might want to take a look at all the options and players that are valuable to you who might be more valuable in the trade market,” Duquette said. “I don’t know. We haven’t really made that determination. That’s another consideration.
“The other consideration is: What if Manny Machado is having an MVP season and he’s on his way to the Triple Crown? Is that a player that a club wants to trade? Even though their season may not be a championship season this year? So, there’s a lot of different questions for the organization to answer, but it’s really about timing. How many good players can you have together at the same time? And can you keep them together for a period of time to give yourself a chance to go again for the playoffs?”
Matt Kremnitzer of Camden Depot tweeted out a portion of those quotes, eliciting this response from one fan:
allow me to translate: "If Manny keeps this up, Peter will veto any trade, so I need to start the public face saving now"
— Hingle McCringleberry (@orioleslifer) May 18, 2018
That’s certainly a fair take, given what we fans know about the way things work in The Warehouse. Still, most recent rumblings are that ol’ Pete has, for whatever reason, taken a back seat as far as the baseball team goes. Maybe his sons, Lou and/or John, would veto such a trade in Pete’s stead. Or maybe not.
Even if you take Duquette’s comments as just more blabber from a lame-duck GM, or if you really give him the benefit of the doubt and think he’s adroitly playing a game of “don’t tip my hand,” none of that suddenly makes him a skillful negotiator with overarching decision-making power and vision for the Orioles’ future.
We really don’t know who is making the decisions these days, and there have been no fewer than three big pieces recently around the web about the O’s internal dysfunction and just how screwed they seem to be at the moment and going forward.
The bottom line here is that this is STILL the Orioles we’re talking about. Nobody knows who is making the final calls, or what their motivation for said calls will be. Are Angelos & Sons just trying to keep getting OPACY 1/4 filled for the rest of 2018? If so, maybe keeping a guy on his way to a Triple Crown makes sense, in a ridiculous sorta way.
Does Dan Duquette give a damn about the Orioles’ future? He very likely isn’t going to be a part of it, so really…why should he? Even if he was, do you trust him to be the one in charge of making trades to get a rebuild started? If the answer is “no” (understandable), what about the others who ostensibly have decision-making authority. Do you trust Brady Anderson to deal with the Theo Epsteins of the world? Can Buck Showalter be trusted to evaluate potential prospect acquisitions in addition to his current on-field duties?
As for me, I’ll put it this way:
Manny, Hays, Mountcastle, and Schoop for
Zobrist, Strop, and a hot dog with a pickle on it.
— Eutaw Street Rep⚾rt (@EutawStReport) May 18, 2018
I wish I could end on some sort of hopeful note here. But you’re all smarter than that. I’ll just join you in watching this train wreck, hoping for some semblance of light to appear at the end of the tunnel. Or, as Jon Shepherd put it, at the bottom of the abyss.