This is a weekly column that dives into some random thoughts about the Orioles/MLB. I used to do eight as a nod to Cal Ripken Jr. As of last year, I cut it down to four or five, so consider it the Earl Weaver/Brooks Robinson era of Thursday Thoughts. – A.S.
1. It took me a minute to grasp, but I figured out that since April 21, there have been the same number of no-hitters in Major League Baseball as there have been Orioles wins (three). That’s how it’s been going for the Birds.
The Orioles are going to realize soon that it just isn’t in the cards for them this season. Everyone else in the world has known this for quite some time, but they’ll come around. By Memorial Day, which is when Dan Duquette said evaluation would really start, the O’s will start making it known that they are shopping certain players.
The problem is, this franchise moves at a snail’s pace. I wouldn’t expect any big trades in the month of May, but by mid-June there could very well be some action with some of the bigger names. The biggest issue for this team isn’t that they have underperformed or came into the season with a lack of talent needed to compete. It’s that they don’t have a plan or vision.
I say that I trust the Orioles will come around to realizing they aren’t competing this season, but truthfully no one knows who is making that call and for what reason. Duquette and Buck Showalter are both on expiring contracts. There is literally no plan in place for next season’s leadership from within the team. Before anything happens in terms of a trade or plan for the future, the O’s need to make clear that they know who will be making the plan for the future.
That’s the most important step for them to take, no matter how many games they fail to win.
2. Darren O’Day’s latest injury provides another dent in an already thin bullpen. The Norfolk shuttle continues to get work because of it. O’Day has now made four trips to the disabled list since signing his new deal in the winter of 2015. If he’s able to get back and provide any kind of capable relief work before the trade deadline, the O’s should absolutely be shopping him.
GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld
Frankly, we could be saying that about any player currently on the 25-man roster. O’Day still has one year of team control after this one, but the Birds may have to agree to eat some of his $9-million salary in order to make a trade work. Frankly, that’s how the Orioles are going to get anything in return on any trade they make this season. Eating money will help the return.
They should be doing everything they can to completely blow up the bullpen, which has been a strength in years past.
3. Dylan Bundy’s historically bad outing on Tuesday night was a stark reminder of how cruel baseball can be. But it’s not going to stop me from believing that Bundy can be a really good pitcher. He’s had three absolutely abysmal starts after opening the year with five very good starts. He’s also still just 25 years old and in his second full season as a starter. There’s no white flag when it comes to his ability or talent.
That said, he’s like everyone else on this roster. He’s expendable, and should be treated as such. The reason Bundy’s struggles are so difficult to stomach is that they lower his value to any other club. Though I highly doubt the Orioles would dare think of trading him, they should be. They should be thinking about trading any and every player with any kind of value.
Bundy has to pitch better to regain that value, but it’s in there somewhere.
4. Speaking of value, the Orioles need to be reminded that they won’t be getting much for anyone that they decide to trade. That includes Manny Machado and Zach Britton. My big fear, and this is a very real possibility, is that the Orioles don’t see a match with a team for many of their players because they don’t think they are getting enough. They have to know that they will be accepting pennies on the dollar for any player at this point.
Whether it’s Machado and Britton, who both have expiring contracts, or Jonathan Schoop, who is limited in what he can do, the O’s aren’t getting the haul they expect. It’s just not happening.