(Belated) Thursday Thoughts: O’s Shake Up the Booth

(Ed note: Andrew submitted this last week as part of his regular Thursday Thoughts series. Due to some technical issues, we weren’t able to post it until today.)

1. The Orioles made a number of changes to freshen up their broadcasting team recently, as games got started down in Sarasota. We’ve heard from a number of the voices that will be on the call through both television broadcasts on MASN and on the Orioles Radio Network, but there are also some new ones to add to the mix. It includes new roles for both Jim Hunter and Tom Davis, two mainstays that O’s fans have grown used to over the years. Gary Thorne is back for games on MASN, which makes folks like me very excited and a very small minority upset. He’ll be joined by analysts we’ve all grown to know better over the years like the Hall of Famer Jim Palmer and other former Birds Mike Bordick, Ben McDonald and Brian Roberts.

On the radio side, Kevin Brown is back in the booth after joining the roster last season. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve heard from Brown and look forward to hearing more of him.

There’s also a slew of new voices and a “new-old” one as well. Longtime Baltimore sportscaster Scott Garceau is on board to call games, which for someone of my age, makes me reminisce of his days calling Ravens games. Garceau also called O’s games back in the 1980s. The Orioles have also brought in former Frederick Keys broadcaster Geoff Arnold and Melanie Newman, who was most recently with the Single-A Salem Red Sox. I’ve heard a little bit of Arnold’s work, but am unfamiliar with Newman. I don’t tend to track the Red Sox farm system like you might think.

Regardless, I’m really excited that the Orioles are bringing in new voices, especially female voices. Expanding these roles to women is a great thing.

2. I very much want to say a few things about Chris Davis with the obvious caveat that I am NOT getting my hopes up for anything major out of him. The first baseman has had a good start to the spring and many reporters and writers are commenting on weight he’s put on (good weight, apparently) and how strong he looks.

Let’s be honest, Davis has always looked strong. He’s a very Paul Bunyan-looking man. He has tree trunks for arms. But Davis is doing a few positive things at the plate in meaningless spring games. That’s all fine and well. I want to make it abundantly clear that the only good thing that can come from Davis having a good season in 2020 is our feelings, and those are valid! As Orioles fans, we can all hope for Davis to be a positive contributor and be happy if that happens. But we can’t really hope for anything else. We can’t hope for him to return to his 2013 form. We can’t hope for him to solve all of the Orioles’ woes.

Chris Davis in Grapefruit League action.

Craig Landefeld/GulfBird Sports

And we CERTAINLY can’t hope for the O’s to be able to trade him at the deadline. That is a nonstarter. It’s not going to happen. The contract is far too bad to be able to trade. The Orioles won’t be willing to eat the money (at least they haven’t shown that willingness to this point).

Davis can be a fun story this season, but that’s it. There’s an argument that you may want to see other players get at-bats in his place to see how they develop, and that’s a valid argument. It’s also something that will certainly happen. Davis isn’t going to be an every day player unless he absolutely tears the cover off the ball and gives Brandon Hyde no choice.

The chances of that happening are extremely slim…unlike Davis himself. Dude is cut.

3. While Davis isn’t a candidate to be traded this season, there will be a number of players that could be. Alex Cobb comes to mind for me, merely because there’s potential for a bounce back this season from him. Cobb made his spring debut last week and it doesn’t feel like he has a major chip on his shoulder or anything to prove. He obviously had an injury-riddled year in 2019, but he’s signed through next season and can really only give the Orioles positives going forward.

They aren’t relying on him for any kind of success.

If he ends up being good and can be traded, that’d be great. If not, they’ll be getting just about what they did out of him last year.

A number of players out of the bullpen will be trade candidates if they present any kind of value. But it’s also important to remember that the Orioles can continue their rebuild without pushing out trade chips. They can continue to build through the draft and make free agent signings here and there to fill the gaps. It doesn’t all have to come through trades, especially from well-known players.

I’ve heard from a number of people that the O’s should be in the market for players like Yasiel Puig, but none of that makes much sense to me. You don’t sign a player just hoping that he will gain trade value to be able to flip him. The risk is too high for the potential reward. If a team is going to give up anything for a player five months from now, why wouldn’t they just sign that player now?

This all continues to go back to this rebuild being a long and slow process, but don’t come at me with what you believe will be quick solutions or ways to get exciting players onto the field. A player like Puig would be fun for a minute, but it doesn’t fit into the whole scheme of what the O’s are trying to do long term.

I want to see growth over time, even if it’s going to take time.

And trust me, it’s definitely going to take some time.

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