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Expect to See Many Faces on the Mound this Season

Dylan Bundy winds up in a spring training game.

The Baltimore Orioles have had over 25 pitchers throw at least one pitch off the mound in seven of ththe past ten seasons.

In 2018? 30 pitchers used. Yes, the list includes Jace Peterson and Danny Valencia.

That is definitely a high number of pitchers to have taken the mound in just one season, but there’s reason to believe the Orioles will top even that number in 2019.

With castoffs Kevin Gausman, Zach Britton, Brad Brach, and Darren O’Day no longer wearing black and orange, there are jobs to be had in Brandon Hyde’s starting rotation and bullpen staff, and not many of the spots are currently locked down.

I’m here to present to you a list of – wait for it – 32 pitchers in the O’s organization who could be options to pitch for the Birds in 2019. Does it mean they all will? Probably not. But there are cases to be made for each player.

I’ll run down my locks – barring injury or trade – for permanent roster spots, then prospects, other 40-man roster options, and the non-40-man roster options. For prospects, I will provide their MLB Pipeline organizational ranking from the end of the 2018 season. Also, at the end, I have seven extra pitchers who are long shots, but may shock people and make the jump.

 

LOCKS (5)

RHP Dylan Bundy

Although he’s coming off a down year in 2018, Bundy is undoubtably going to be in the Orioles rotation to start the year, and could even be getting the ball on Opening Day in the Bronx.

RHP Alex Cobb

He signed a four-year, $57 million contract with the O’s this past spring. He had an abysmal first half of the season, but he posted a 2.59 ERA in his last 12 starts. He’s another option to get the ball on Opening Day.

RHP Andrew Cashner

Cashner, like Cobb, signed a multi-year deal with the Orioles last spring. His two-year, $16 million contract is reasonable and considering the other options available, there’s no possible explanation why the veteran right-hander shouldn’t be in the middle of the rotation to start the season. He, Bundy, and Cobb could all become trade chips in July if they perform well enough.

RHP Mychal Givens

A valuable reliever who was gaining interest last summer nearing the non-waiver trade deadline. Unless Hyde decides against using a designated closer, Givens will likely be the pitcher to fill the role. If he puts up a successful first half as the Orioles ace reliever, he could be wearing a new uniform in late July.

LHP Tanner Scott

The 24-year-old’s 5.40 ERA in 2018 doesn’t show it, but Scott does have electric stuff. The command needs to be sharper going forward, but a left-hander that can reach back for triple digits on his fastball and pair it with a nasty slider is something that can be fun to watch. With a 12.83 K/9 and 3.40 FIP in 2018, I’m looking forward to his progression in 2019.

Hunter Harvey throws as Darren O'Day watches.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

 

PROSPECTS (15)

RHP Dillon Tate (No. 6)

Tate, 24, came as the headlining piece of the package the New York Yankees sent the Orioles in return for Britton. He posted a 3.38 ERA in 15 starts for Double-A Trenton before the trade, but afterward struggled in Double-A Bowie with a 5.75 ERA in seven starts. Once ranked 46th on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 in 2015, it’s still yet to be determined whether he’ll stick as a starter or move to the bullpen, but Tate should be pitching in Camden Yards at some point this season.

RHP Luis Ortiz (No. 7)

Ortiz was the head prospect sent from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for Jonathan Schoop last July. The young right-hander also used to be regarded as a Top 100 prospect (86th in 2015, 52nd in 2016, and 70th in 2017). Pitching to a 3.71 ERA in Double-A Biloxi prior to the trade, the Orioles instantly promoted Ortiz in the Triple-A Norfolk after acquiring him, where he recorded a 3.69 ERA in six starts. He could be competing for a rotation spot this spring.

RHP Hunter Harvey (No. 8)

Seems like he’s been on Orioles prospects lists forever now. The now 24-year old ranked 31st and 60th on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 lists in 2014 and 2015, respectively. But multiple injuries have held back the former first-round pick, the most recent being this past June with a shoulder injury – which apparently happened in a game in which he wasn’t even pitching . Despite his injury history, his talent still provides upside. If he has a healthy 2019, I’d expect to see him pitching in an O’s uniform at some point in the season.

LHP Keegan Akin (No. 11)

The 23-year-old southpaw had quite an impressive 2018 campaign, recording a 3.27 ERA and 9.28 K/9 over 25 starts in Double-A Bowie. I’m curious to see if MLB Pipeline will give him a boost in the Orioles 2019 prospect rankings from the 11-spot he was given at the end of 2018. Barring any setbacks in development, Akin should get his shot in the bigs in 2019.

RHP Dean Kremer (No. 16)

Kremer is another prospect arm who I think should be ranked higher on the O’s list heading into the new season. The 23-year old was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade. He started 16 games in High A in the Dodgers organization, pitching to a 3.30 ERA and 12.99 K/9. He then got promoted to Double-A Tulsa for one start before the trade, throwing seven shutout innings. The Orioles kept Kremer at the Double-A level after the trade, and he rewarded them for the move, posting a 2.58 ERA and 10.52 K/9 in eight starts for Bowie.

RHP Cody Carroll (No. 17)

Carroll got his cup of coffee with the O’s after being dealt to Baltimore from the Yankees in the Britton trade. He posted a 2.72 ERA in 37 Triple-A relief appearances, but got rocked around to 9.00 ERA in 15 big-league games. He still has potential, with a high-90s fastball and two off-speed pitches, so he figures to be in competition for a bullpen spot this spring.

RHP Branden Kline (No. 25)

He’s 27 now, so I wouldn’t really consider him a prospect. But since he’s on Pipeline’s list, I’ll allow it. Kline battled injuries in his times as a starter in the Orioles minors, and didn’t pitch at all in the 2016 or 2017 seasons. The O’s moved him to the bullpen, where he had a healthy 2018, posting a 1.64 ERA and 9.80 K/9 over a combined 65 2/3 innings in High-A Frederick (20 2/3 innings) and Bowie (45 innings). The O’s just added Kline to the 40-man roster earlier this offseason.

RHP Zach Pop (No. 26)

The 22-year-old reliever was a part of the return for Machado, and he has a great baseball name for a pitcher who works in the mid-to-high 90s with his fastball. Pop recorded a 2.53 ERA in 14 games with Bowie after being acquired.

RHP Evan Phillips (NR)

Part of the Gausman and O’Day deal, Phillips had a great year for Triple-A Gwinnett, pitching to a 1.99 ERA and 13.06 K/9 in 31 relief stints. His first taste of the big leagues was not so great though: 18.56 ERA, 8.44 K/9, and 10.13 BB/9 in 5 1/3 innings with the Orioles.

LHP Bruce Zimmermann (NR)

Also part of the Gausman/O’Day trade, the 23-year-old lefty posted a 5.06 ERA in five Bowie starts following the trade. Long-relief and spot-start duty could be in his future.

LHP John Means (NR)

The Orioles gave Means one relief appearance in the bigs late in 2018 after he had a solid showing in Triple-A Norfolk, recording a 3.48 ERA in 111 1/3 innings. Not expected to be a major contributor, but his solid Triple-A performance should earn him a right to at least be in competition for a spot in the bullpen or rotation this spring.

LHP Josh Rogers (NR)

Rogers posted an impressive 2.08 ERA in Norfolk after being traded away by the Yankees, so the Orioles gave him a shot with three major-league starts late last season. He pitches to contact and doesn’t miss many bats, so he’d be better suited to a team with good defense and a big ball park.

LHP Luis Gonzalez (NR)

The 26-year-old reliever got a promotion to Norfolk after posting a 2.17 ERA and 11.43 K/9 in 45 2/3 relief innings in Bowie. If he has some more minor-league success in 2019, he could be considered for a call up to the major-league bullpen.

LHP D.J. Snelten (NR)

Snelten was previously ranked in the San Francisco Giants’ Top 30 at the end of 2017 season. He probably won’t have much of a shot in spring training, but a good showing in Norfolk this year could earn him a middle relief or LOOGY job with the O’s at some point.

RHP Jay Flaa (NR)

The last prospect I’ll mention, the 26-year-old reliever posted a 2.77 ERA and 9.28 K/9 in 65 innings for Bowie in 2018.

Richard Bleier of the Orioles pitches.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

 

40-MAN ROSTER OPTIONS

RHP Pedro Araujo

Now it’s time for pitchers with names you probably recognize. Araujo was a Rule V selection for the Orioles in 2018. After having no more than two innings experience above the High-A level, he pitched in 20 games with a 7.71 ERA, but an intriguing 9.32 K/9 in his rookie MLB season. After spending most the season on the disabled list, he still needs 17 days on the Orioles roster to lose his Rule V status, allowing him to be optioned to the minors. The O’s should carry him for the first 17 days and then send him to either Double-A or Triple-A. He has potential but he may not be ready just yet.

LHP Richard Bleier

He doesn’t miss bats, but his career 63.3-percent groundball rate has helped him put up a 1.97 ERA in his three-year career over 119 innings. He had surgery in June to repair a lat tear, but general manager Mike Elias expects him to be ready for Opening Day.

RHP Austin Brice

Brice was ranked the Cincinnati Reds’ 23rd-best prospect at the end of 2016. He has pitched well in the minors but has yet to replicate that success at the major-league level. He has a four-pitch mix with a mid-90s fastball that could play well in relief. The O’s claimed Brice off waivers from Cincinnati earlier this month.

RHP Miguel Castro

Entering his third year with the O’s, fifth in the big leagues, and he’s still just 24 years old. He’s been valuable, posting a 3.77 ERA in 152 2/3 innings over 102 games (100 in relief). With a mid-to-high 90s fastball and a pretty good slider, I’m sure the O’s hope Castro can strike out more batters in 2019, as he recorded just 5.94 K/9 in 2018.

LHP Paul Fry

The 26-year-old southpaw reliever is coming off a strong rookie campaign, in which he appeared in 35 games, while recording a 3.35 ERA, 8.60 K/9, and 57.7-percent groundball rate. Former general manager Dan Duquette may have struck gold with acquiring Fry in 2017, and Elias may get the benefits of it.

LHP Donnie Hart

Hart was a valuable LOOGY for the O’s in 2016, his rookie season. He hasn’t done much since, however. He’ll be in competition for a spot in spring training, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t make the Opening Day squad.

RHP David Hess

Hess pitched to a 4.88 ERA in his rookie season over 21 games (19 starts). He did, however, record a 3.05 ERA over his final eight starts of the season, which could put him in consideration for the fourth or fifth rotation spot to start 2019.

RHP Yefry Ramirez

Ramirez also had his rookie year in 2018, but supplied not-so-intriguing results. Coming off a 5.92 ERA, it’s probably an uphill battle for Ramirez to make the club following spring training.

RHP Mike Wright Jr.

With a career 5.75 ERA and last year being not much different (5.55 ERA in 48 games), Wright is probably a DFA candidate. But some tweaking from this new staff and a strong showing in Sarasota could help his case.

RHP Jimmy Yacabonis

After being strictly a reliever throughout his years in the minors, the O’s toyed with Yacabonis being a starter in 2018, but never committed to it. Elias and Brandon Hyde should figure out the best role and stick to it. Personally, I think Yacabonis would make a solid two-pitch short reliever with his running fastball and nasty slider.

 

NON-ROSTER/POSSIBLE INVITES TO SPRING TRAINING

RHP Gregory Infante

2017 was the first time Infante pitched at the major-league level since his first cup of coffee in 2010. He had a great year, recording a 3.13 ERA over 54 2/3 innings in relief. In 2018, though, he threw just nine innings and posted an 8.00 ERA. Orioles Hangout prospect writer Luke Siler noted Infante’s velocity was down in 2018 due to shoulder inflammation. If the 31-year-old right-hander is healthy, a return to his 2017 numbers would be welcomed.

LHP Sean Gilmartin

Gilmartin posted a 3.00 ERA in 27 relief innings over 12 games for the Orioles this past season. After the season, though, the O’s outrighted the left-hander off the 40-man roster. After being granted his release, the O’s signed Gilmartin to a minor-league contract shortly after.

 

OTHER NOTABLES

RHP Gabriel Ynoa, RHP Matt Wotherspoon, RHP Josh Lucas, RHP Taylor Grover, RHP Lucas Long, RHP Jordan Kipper, RHP Cody Sedlock.

If you’ve made it to the end of this 32 – well, 39 – pitcher list, I appreciate your attention and I apologize for wasting your time.

Will all these players in the O’s organization pitch for the club in 2019? No, I highly doubt it. Also, expect to see the Orioles add more depth arms who could also be in consideration for some time on the bump this season. All of the names I mentioned may not make it, but I have a feeling the number – between 32 and 39 – of pitchers should be about right.

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The Warehouse Podcast: New Year, New Orioles?

warehouse-pod-logo

The new year brings with it the feeling of a fresh start. The slate is wiped clean. Anything is possible. You can lose those pesky 20 pounds. You will read a new book every week. The juice cleanse you planned to start in 2004 is finally happening.

For the Orioles, those “resolutions” started in earnest back in November with the hiring of Mike Elias as the general manager. Flipping the calendar from 2018 to 2019 shouldn’t change much on that front other than the fact that every new day brings the organization one step closer to completing their rebuild.

Even still, it feels good to rip away the final month of 2018 and throw it in the trash, where it can never hurt us again. Let’s just pretend Chris Davis can still hit a baseball or dream that the Manny Machado trade situation during the All-Star break wasn’t a fiasco.

If you’re late to the resolution train, I have one for you. Podcasts are pretty great. You should listen to more of them. And don’t you know, I happen to host one right here on Eutaw Street Report. It’s called The Warehouse. You can listen to the latest episode right up there, or subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Google Play or anywhere else you can find podcasts.

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Hyde Adds Two to O’s Coaching Staff

Jose Flores of the Phillies.

In what has been a rather quiet offseason for the Baltimore Orioles, for many reasons, new manager Brandon Hyde has begun building his coaching staff for 2019 and beyond.

For his first two hires, the first-year Orioles manager recruited a couple of his old colleagues. Philadelphia Phillies first base coach Jose Flores is leaving his position to join Hyde’s staff in Baltimore, according to Joe Trezza of MLB.com. Also, per Patrick Mooney of The Athletic Chicago, Chicago Cubs minor-league field and catching coordinator Tim Cossins is departing from Chicago to come to the Orioles.

Flores was in Chicago with Hyde from 2012 through 2017, where he served as the Cubs minor-league infield coordinator. He left Chicago after the 2017 season to join the Phillies coaching staff, where he was the first-base coach, infield instructor, and baserunning instructor in Philadelphia for 2018.

With Flores in the fold now, this may have shut the door on a possible return of third-base coach and infield instructor Bobby Dickerson.

Cossins, according to Dan Connolly of The Athletic, is known as a “catching guru.” Also, in Connolly’s tweet, he notes that Cossins’ exact title has not been assigned yet, although he’ll handle the duties of catching and strategy. It’ll be interesting to see the impact he can potentially have on current Orioles catchers, the obvious candidate being former top prospect Chance Sisco.

Once these hires become official, the O’s will have two of the seven coaching positions filled. Trezza notes that the club’s search is expected to carry on into 2019, and they will continue to target coaches with backgrounds in player development.

There are two names to keep an eye on going forward, as the Orioles have offered minor-league pitching coordinator John Wasdin the job as the bullpen coach, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.

Wasdin’s role within the organization was soon going to change after executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias hired Chris Holt from the Houston Astros organization to oversee pitching in the minor leagues. If Wasdin accepts the O’s offer, we will know exactly how his role will be changing.

Kubatko also includes that former Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey is available. With the two current coaching hires having former ties to the new O’s skipper, Kubatko says Hickey “figures to be a consideration for Hyde.”

There are several spots still vacant on the Orioles coaching staff, and Hyde has reached out to every coach from the Orioles 2018 staff. Kubatko writes that Dickerson, John Russell, Roger McDowell, and Wayne Kirby haven’t found new jobs yet.

Dickerson and Russell may be the two least likely to return, due to the fact that Flores and Cossins are probably their direct replacements with specialties in infield and catching, respectively. McDowell may be unlikely as well, especially if Wasdin and Hickey are strong considerations to join the staff for 2019.

Now this is pure speculation. But of the coaches from the 2018 staff, it looks like the best bet to return on Hyde’s staff in 2019 is fan-favorite coach Wayne Kirby. There haven’t been any reported candidates to be in charge of outfield instruction. I’m not saying I think it’s going to happen. But, if Hyde is open to having anybody from the 2018 staff return in 2019, Kirby looks the most probable.

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Should O’s Pursue Troy Tulowitzki?

Troy Tulowitzki throws the ball.

Free-agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who hasn’t played in a Major League Baseball game since July 2017, held a workout that 11 teams attended, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. In the report, Brown wrote the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, and San Francisco Giants were the teams in attendance.

The Toronto Blue Jays released the 34-year-old shortstop after he sat out the 2018 season because he was recovering from surgery on bone spurs in both of his heels. The Blue Jays still owe Tulowitzki $38 million over the next two seasons, so he can be had on a league-minimum salary by another club.

Do you want to see Tulowitzki in Baltimore in 2019? If so, there are a couple questions that need to be answered before we can see him in an O’s uniform:

 

  1. How would Tulowitzki be a fit for the Orioles?
  2. Why would Tulowitzki sign with the Orioles instead of one of the other 10 teams that attended his workout?

Let’s start by addressing the first question, which is probably the easiest to answer of the two.

The Orioles are in the market for a middle infielder, and are likely looking for the cheap place-holder types, as opposed to the expensive, Manny Machado types. I opined on a few free-agent candidates earlier this offseason, but that was also before the Jays announced the release of the shortstop they’ve had since July 2015.

The Orioles have no up-and-coming shortstops that Tulowitzki would be blocking in any way. After the club non-tendered Tim Beckham, they’ve been looking to fill either of the middle infield positions, with Jonathan Villar taking over whichever is in the club’s best interest.

Yes, the O’s came away with Richie Martin and Drew Jackson after the Rule V Draft, but it’s possible that neither of them could be an answer as an everyday guy. Or, at least, you can’t assume that one of them will.

What a healthy Tulowitzki gives you, if the price tag is right, is a good defensive shortstop with a potentially above-average bat that can hold down shortstop either for an entire season, or just a half-season if he becomes a coveted trade target prior to the non-waiver trade deadline.

Now, how are the O’s a fit for Tulo?

The Orioles have an opening at shortstop, and it’s likely that Tulowitzki would like to return to being a healthy, starting shortstop in the big leagues once again.

You may think that his first priority would be to join one of the contending teams that attended his workout. That may be true, and it may be what happens, but that’s probably not his best opportunity to return to an everyday-shortstop role, if that’s what he would like.

The Yankees, Phillies, and White Sox are pursuing Machado at the moment. I don’t think a good message to any of those three fanbases would be to sign an injury-prone Tulowitzki to a cheap deal after missing out on Machado. I will be very surprised if any of the contending teams sign Tulowitzki with the plan that he will be an everyday player from the get-go. He would likely be a backup or depth option on those clubs.

So, again, why the Birds?

The Orioles have one of the more hitter-friendly ball parks in all of Major League Baseball. He can come to Baltimore, have the best opportunity to start every day and put up above-average offensive numbers once again. However, nobody is expecting him to return to his Colorado Rockies form. I think everyone is aware that those days – and, that ball park – are well behind him.

Returning as an above-average defender at shortstop everyday and an at-least league-average bat could make Tulowitzki an interesting trade-chip in July, which could place him on a World Series contender for the second-half of 2019. Or, even if he doesn’t get traded and he plays a full, healthy season in Baltimore, he could be rewarded with another contract elsewhere next offseason.

In his time in Toronto, Tulowitzki was worth 4.3 fWAR over 238 games. He recorded +16 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) at shortstop and slashed .250/.313/.414 with 36 homers.

If he can return to anything near that production in 2019, I believe he could be well-coveted by contending teams looking to acquire an infielder in July.

Tulowitzki, at a cheap price, is a good fit to plug up the hole at shortstop for the Birds in 2019. And the opportunity to showcase a healthy season in a hitter’s ball park in order to get traded to a contender midseason is a reason why Tulowitzki should see the upside to playing for a rebuilding Orioles team.

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Knee-Jerk Reactions: O’s Hire Brandon Hyde as Manager

Brandon Hyde of the Cubs.

The Orioles have hired their new manager. Brandon Hyde, most recently the Chicago Cubs’ bench coach, will take the reins in 2019. ESR staff react to the news here…

Derek Arnold

I won’t pretend to know a thing about Brandon Hyde. This hire has a much different feel, obviously, than did the hiring of Buck Showalter. That’s not necessarily a good or bad thing – it just is. The Showalter hire was exactly the type that was needed at the time: an established, successful, big-name manager to take over and try to reverse a decade-plus of losing baseball.

This hire, similarly, is just what this club needs: someone who’s been around not only a winning organization, but an organization that’s embraced the new ways of thinking about baseball. A manager who will speak the same language as Mike Elias and the entire new front office of the Baltimore Orioles.

The Elias-Hyde era has begun. I’m excited to watch these two get to work.

Andrew Stetka

Like when the Orioles hired Mike Elias, I’m not going to be pretend to be a Brandon Hyde expert. Everything I’ve read about the guy sounds positive. It seems like he is capable and knowledgeable about analytics and player development. All of that sounds swell. But truthfully, it wouldn’t have mattered much to me who the Orioles hired to be the skipper. The O’s are going to be bad for a while, and Hyde is going to wear those losses on his record. He’s a glorified sacrificial lamb who’s main job is guiding a bunch of young players through a rebuild. I would be surprised if he’s still the manager once the Birds start winning again, but crazier things have happened. I wish him luck and hope he “likes our guys” because he has a tough act to follow.”

Phil Backert

The Orioles continue to hire from successful organizations as they start their rebuild. Hyde has been with the Cubs since 2011 so he has been a part of a rebuild himself and he was a coach on the major league team when Chicago won the World Series in 2016. The biggest attraction for Hyde is his success in player development and as a manager in the minor leagues as he will need to reach back to that while dealing with a young roster over the next couple of seasons.

Joe DiBasilio

By all accounts the Os made another solid (non-player) signing. I know very little about Mr. Hyde, but it will be tough to gauge his effectiveness as manager as he likely oversees 300 losses in the next three seasons. I hope it works out and in five years from now we view the 2018-2019 off-season as the one that brought the Os out of the darkness. God speed Brandon.

Dillon Atkinson

Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias noted the most important factor in his managerial search was finding the right candidate with the “ability to lead and connect with players.” If he believes Hyde is the best candidate to fit that description, then I’m on board with the hiring.

I won’t act like I’ve been following Hyde throughout his career, so I can’t say I know for sure how this will work out. However, it’s encouraging to see his extensive background in professional baseball. He was a hitting coach in the then-Florida Marlins minor leagues for two seasons, then managed in the Marlins minors an additional five years from 2005-through-2009. After that, he spent 2010 and 2011 as a bench coach in the majors with the Marlins. From there, he became the Chicago Cubs director of player development for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, before being assigned to bench coach in 2014. Once Joe Maddon was hired to become the Cubs manager in 2015, Maddon kept Hyde on his staff as the team’s first-base coach for three years. Then, Maddon switched him back to bench coach for 2018 when Dave Martinez left the position to take the vacant managerial position with the Washington Nationals.

Just from looking at the variety of positions and roles Hyde has worked under in both the minors and major leagues, I do feel optimistic about this hire by Elias and the Orioles. I think a positive tidbit to keep in mind is that when Maddon was hired by the Cubs to start in 2015, everyone knew he was going to be bringing in bench coach Martinez, who was with Maddon in Tampa Bay. Instead of simply doing a direct replacement of Martinez for Hyde, Maddon made room and adjusted Hyde’s role to keep him on staff for all four years he’s been in Chicago.

Jonathan French

Mike Elias has made his second major personnel move in his rebuild of the Baltimore Orioles with the hiring of Brandon Hyde as the new manager. At first thought, it would have seemed this hire would be non-consequential for the future of the franchise due the immediate amount of losing that will occur; however, with Hyde’s credentials it would seem that he is the manager of both the present and future.

Hyde has a strong pedigree of managing and coaching in the minor and minor leagues with his last position being the bench coach under Joe Maddon of the Cubs. Unlike Buck Showalter, Hyde has a reputation for using analytics for his managing decisions and he is also a good communicator with players. He was a relatively hot commodity this offseason with the Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays interviewing him for their vacancies. The Orioles were fortunate he did not get any of those positions, as he was arguably the best fit out of a little-known field of candidates.

It was a bit strange the way the story broke, but then again it wouldn’t be a major Orioles transaction without a hiccup. The mini-fiasco which included Elias denying a story that was literally being broke behind him by MLB Network, showed Elias has a bit of a learning curve when it comes to addressing rumors with the media.

However, that is all in the past as the Orioles have officially hired Hyde and the next era of Orioles baseball continues to take shape. Now the question is who will be part of the coaching staff? The Orioles were fortunate that there weren’t a lot of managerial openings this offseason, but many coaches have been already signed to contracts with other organizations. Former minor league pitching coordinator, John Wasdin has been rumored to be on the staff in some capacity, but Hyde and Elias will have a lot of work to do quickly to try to ensure that the best coaching staff possible is on the field and in the dugout on Opening Day.

Paul Valle

So far, the Orioles have made all the right moves. The hiring of Brandon Hyde to be the field manager is more evidence of that. Hyde has a history of managerial success at the minor league level, having managed at four different levels in the Marlins organization, culminating with the 2009 Southern League Championship with the Jacksonville Suns.

This is important because Hyde will have a huge part in developing the next wave of young talent to step for on the field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Combine that with the tutelage he has received as a first base and bench coach for Joe Maddon with the Chicago Cubs the last few seasons, and the Orioles got the right guy for the job. Every young, rebuilding team needs a leader. Brandon Hyde is just that. And while he may not be around to see the fruits of his labor when the Orioles return to prominence (terms of the contract have not been disclosed as of Friday night), you can be sure that his finger prints will be all over the success of the ball club moving forward.

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O’s Leave Winter Meetings with Two New Infielders

The Baltimore Orioles haven’t been expected to make too much noise in the first offseason of the club’s rebuild under executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias, especially when there’s still a vacancy at manager (although it sounds like that search could be coming to an end very soon). Once the club officially announces the hiring of their new manager, they will be able to get on with the rest of their offseason plan, which will surely involve the new skipper’s input.

However, with the annual Winter Meetings coming to an end, the O’s did leave with two new infielders, both being acquired via the Rule V Draft.

With the first overall selection, Baltimore selected Oakland Athletics’ shortstop prospect Richie Martin. The Orioles declined to make a selection in the second round of the draft, but the club acquired infielder Drew Jackson from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for international bonus slot money. Jackson was a first-round Rule V selection by Philadelphia from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Martin, who turns 24 on December 22, is a former first-round draft pick by the A’s in 2015. He grades as a well-above average defensive shortstop, which should be a nice benefit to Orioles pitchers if he’s starting at shortstop on Opening Day. However, there are questions about whether or not he’ll produce enough offensively.

In 2015, Martin slashed .237/.353/.342 in 51 games at Low-A Vermont. He got promoted to High-A Stockton in 2016, where he posted just a .230/.322/.312 line in 86 games. In 27 games at Stockton in 2017, he progressed to a .266/.330/.383 slash line, which helped him get promoted to Double-A Midland, where he batted a disappointing .224/.306/.315 over 86 contests. He finally had the offensive season he needed in 2018, however, as he slashed .300/.368/.439 in 118 games at Midland.

There’s no telling what type of offensive production we can expect from Martin with the Orioles in 2019, if he even does stay with the club. I’m sure they hope, at worst, he can stick as a plus-defender utility infielder at the big-league level, with the best-case scenario being that they strike gold with a starting shortstop for the future. For the time being, Martin is now ranked as the O’s 13th-best prospect, via MLB Pipeline.

Jackson, like Martin, came out of the 2015 draft, although he was taken in the fifth round by the Seattle Mariners. The 25-year-old is athletic in the middle infield spots and is speedy on the base paths, as he has stolen 106 bases out of 133 attempts. Most recently, in 2018, he stole 22 of 29 at Double-A Tulsa.

Similar to Martin’s resume, there are questions over whether or not Jackson can produce at the plate. However, he put together his best professional season in 2018, slashing .251/.356/.447 with 15 home runs at Tulsa. Adam McInturff of 2080 Baseball credited his sudden progression at the plate to “an increased focus on lift and power, as Jackson’s home run totals spiked accordingly with a jump in aerial contact.”

It’ll be interesting to see if Elias and company roll with the same approach to see what Jackson can do in a second year with this adjustment. The athletic infielder is now ranked 24th on the Orioles top prospects list on MLB Pipeline, one spot behind outfielder D.J. Stewart.

Martin and Jackson may be in direct competition with one another for a spot in spring training, or there may be room for both or neither of them on the Opening Day roster. Nobody truly knows until the Orioles land in Sarasota for camp. One thing we do know, however, is that the club needed to address the vacancy in the middle infield one way or another this season. With a rebuilding organization, as opposed to a competitive team, this may very well be the way Elias addresses the hole.

All we can do now is wait and see if he adds to the middle infield mix via trade or free agency later this offseason.

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O’s Claim Ruiz, Lose Meisinger to St. Louis

Rio Ruiz swings his bat.

The Baltimore Orioles have announced that the St. Louis Cardinals have claimed right-handed pitcher Ryan Meisinger off waivers. In addition, the O’s have claimed third baseman Rio Ruiz off waivers from the Atlanta Braves.

Meisinger was an 11th round selection by the Orioles during the 2015 MLB Draft. He worked his way through each affiliate as a successful reliever in the minors. Prior to making his major-league debut in 2018, he recorded a 2.28 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 27 2/3 innings at Triple-A Norfolk. In 21 innings with the Orioles in 2018, the 24-year-old right-hander pitched to a 6.43 ERA.

Ruiz, 24, is a left-handed hitter who was originally drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros. Current Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias was with the Astros as the director of scouting during this draft, so there’s a connection.

Ruiz performed well in the 283 games he played in Houston’s minors, although he never made it above High-A over the two and a half seasons. In 2015, the Astros traded Ruiz as part of the package to Atlanta to acquire Evan Gattis. MLB Pipeline ranked Ruiz 12th on the Braves top-prospect list in 2015, and he was also labeled the third-best position player in Atlanta’s minors, behind just Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies. Ruiz’s scouting report from MLB Pipeline read as follows:

“Ruiz was a well-regarded prospect coming out of high school in 2012 and he began his career sharing the left side of the infield in the Astros organization with Carlos Correa, the first overall pick in that year’s Draft. That duo was broken up in January when the Astros included Ruiz in the package they sent to the Braves in the Evan Gattis trade.

After struggling at the outset of his professional career, Ruiz made a mechanical adjustment to his swing that has led to much better production. He has demonstrated good on-base skills and does a good job of using the whole field to hit. His power largely translated to doubles to doubles in the low levels of the Minor Leagues, but as he physically matures he should start driving more balls over the fence.

Though Ruiz still has room for improvement defensively, he has the look of a future everyday third baseman in the Major Leagues.”

After a disappointing 2015 campaign, his first year in the Braves system, he dropped in ranking to 17th on MLB Pipeline’s Braves prospect list in 2016. He rebounded, however, slashing .271/.355/.400 with 10 homers in Triple-A Gwinnett in 2016. He was rewarded with a five-game cup of coffee in the majors.

In 2017, the following year, Ruiz slashed just .193/.283/.307 in 53 games with the Braves, and also batted .247/.322/.446 in 103 games with Gwinnett. This past season, he was mostly with Gwinnett again, where he posted a .269/.322/.390 line over 130 games, while also getting just 15 plate appearances with Atlanta.

My guess is Elias has hope that he can help turn Ruiz back into the player he thought he’d be getting when he drafted him. If he can, the Orioles may view him as competition for Renato Nunez during spring training for the everyday third base job. Otherwise, this is an infielder depth pick up with some familiarity to Elias.

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Orioles’ Winter Meetings To-Do List

The annual Major League Baseball winter meetings have begun, although the hot stove got heated up unusually early this offseason. With executives and agents around the league meeting up for the week in Las Vegas, we may be seeing it cranked up another notch.

Baseball fans are intrigued to see where high-priced free-agent stars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado will sign, as well as whether or not Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto or Cleveland Indians pitchers Trevor Bauer or Corey Kluber find new homes via trade.

However, these aren’t topics that will intrigue Baltimore Orioles fans as much as they wonder what types of moves to expect from new Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Elias.

These moves may not come to finalization during the time of the Winter Meetings, but Elias could lay the foundation of potential transactions while he’s there. If you’re curious about what the Orioles to-do list could be while at the Winter Meetings – or for the remainder of the offseason, for that matter – here are a few possibilities.

 

Hire a New Manager

Well, this one was a no-brainer.

The Orioles have interviewed many candidates for the vacant managerial position, but five of the names shared – via Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic – are Chicago Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde, Washington Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, Arizona Diamondbacks vice president of player development Mike Bell, Colorado Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond, and Kansas City Royals catching and quality-control coach Pedro Grifol.

The newest O’s beat writer, Joe Trezza of MLB.com, offered additional candidate possibilities: Joe Espada, Carlos Beltran, Raul Ibanez, Hensley Meulens, Joe Girardi, Manny Acta, Jeff Banister, Bob Geren, John Gibbons, Fredi Gonzalez, and Mike Bordick. This seems like just pure speculation, but certainly a few names to keep in mind nonetheless.

Elias noted when he was hired that he’d rather take his time to hire the right manager for the position than rush to end up with the wrong one. Thus, it’ll be interesting to see if the club leaves Nevada with a new skipper for the 2019 or not.

 

Acquire a Middle Infielder

After non-tendering Tim Beckham, the O’s have a hole opened up at either shortstop or second base, depending on where they choose to play Jonathan Villar in 2019.

Even while in a rebuild, you still need to have some level of activity in the free-agent market to fill some vacancies. I believe it is also important to have a defensively-competent infield to back up a young, learning pitching staff during the rebuild.

Earlier this offseason, I opined on some potential free-agent candidates for the O’s to sign to fill the empty middle infield spot. It’s possible that Baltimore is last on their preferred destinations, but I’d open Jose Iglesias or Freddy Galvis with open arms.

 

Kick the Tires on Trading More Veterans

There has been speculation on whether or not the Orioles could trade away top chips Dylan Bundy or Mychal Givens this offseason. However, after the disappointing seasons they just put up, the O’s may not get close to what they want in return. These two right-handers seem like in-season trade deadline candidates if the club does decide to pursue the route of entertaining them in discussions.

However, there are some veterans on the roster that Elias and company could look to trade away this offseason: Mark Trumbo, Andrew Cashner, and/or Alex Cobb.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Elias will try anything he can to dump off Trumbo and his $11 million salary for 2019. I would assume the preference would be to get Trey Mancini out of the outfield and back to his natural position at first base. Chris Davis and his mega contract aren’t going anywhere, so the only option is to find a way to get Trumbo off the roster somehow.

Andrew Cashner pitches.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

Cashner performed at the level of a back-end starter for the O’s in 2018, to put it nicely, posting a 5.29 ERA in 28 starts. It’s not pretty, but he’s a serviceable number four-or-five starter if you get him out of the American League East. He’s making $8 million in 2019, and has a $10 million vesting option for 2020 if he throws 340 innings between 2018 and 2019. He had 153 innings last season, so he’ll need to throw 187 this year if he wants that option vested. Teams looking for a decent back-end starter shouldn’t have a problem acquiring him off the O’s hands.

Cobb is a different story. Baltimore signed the right-hander to a four-year, $57 million contract during spring training of 2018. He pitched to a 4.90 ERA in 28 starts, but this may have been due to not having a regular spring training schedule to get started on, as he signed very late. In his first 16 starts of the season, Cobb recorded a 6.67 ERA over 86 1/3 innings pitched. In his final 12 starts of the year, he had a 2.59 ERA over 66 innings. With a remaining contract over three years for $43 million, Orioles may have a tough time dealing Cobb this winter. The better option may be to put him on the trade block next summer if he’s performing well to start 2019. But if the right offer comes this offseason, they shouldn’t hesitate to deal him.

 

Rule 5 Draft

You all thought that was just a Dan Duquette thing, huh?

Well, with the first overall pick in this year’s Rule 5 Draft, I’d assume the Orioles will be making at least one selection.

There are a couple middle infield options for the Birds if they decide to go that route, with Oakland Athletics shortstop Richie Martin and Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Kean Wong.

Martin, 23, is a former top-four A’s prospect – via MLB Pipeline – and is an excellent defender at short. The main concern has been his hitting, although in his second season in Double A, he batted .300/.368/.439 with six homers in 118 games in 2018.

St. Louis Cardinals infielder Kolten Wong is the brother of Rays minor-league second baseman, Kean. Kolten ripped the Rays late this past season for their handling of his brother and not giving him a chance. Kean slashed .282/.345/.406 with nine homers in 116 games in Triple-A Durham in 2018. So his brother might have a point. Kean could get his shot with another club, if not the Orioles, via the Rule 5 Draft.

If the Orioles decide to look at outfielders, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com likes Diamondbacks prospect Marcus Wilson and San Francisco Giants prospect Sandro Fabian. Wilson and Fabian are ranked seventh and eighth in their respective systems via MLB Pipeline prospect rankings.

If you’re looking for a pitcher, a couple options could be Minnesota Twins southpaw Tyler Jay or Chicago Cubs right-hander Trevor Clifton.

Jay, 24, was the Twins sixth-overall draft pick in the first round of the 2015 draft. In 2016, MLB Pipeline ranked Jay the number-one prospect in the Twins system, and 36th overall in the game. However, expectations have fallen and the dreams of him being a starting pitcher are behind him, as his mid-90s fastball and three off-speed pitches are now coming out of the left hand of a reliever.

Clifton, 23, is currently ranked 17th in the Cubs farm system, after being ranked 9th just a year ago. He regressed in 2017, but bounced back nicely in 2018, sporting a 3.43 ERA over 126 innings combined at the Double-A and Triple-A level.

It’s entirely possible the Orioles select a prospect that isn’t any of these six who I mentioned. We’ll have to wait and see who they select, if they do select anyone, on Thursday, December 13th at 9 a.m. Eastern Time.

We’ve seen the Orioles have both successful and unsuccessful Rule 5 picks in the past. The event has shown it isn’t a complete waste of time. Very well-known players in recent history have come out of the Rule 5 Draft becoming huge success stories, including Odubel Herrera, Justin Bour, Hector Rondon, Marwin Gonzalez, Darren O’Day, Joakim Soria, Dan Uggla, Josh Hamilton, Shane Victorino, and even two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana.

It’s a decent possibility that you won’t hear much noise from the Orioles at the Winter Meetings this week – aside from the Rule 5 Draft. And if that’s the case, that’s okay. The rebuilding squad may not need to make noise, really as the club begins the multiple-year process. If you don’t see or hear much on the Orioles front, don’t assume that Elias is twiddling his thumbs. He’ll have plenty to do, both out in he open and behind the scenes.

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How Will O’s Distribute Time Behind the Dish in ’19?

Chance Sisco in the batter's box..

Not too often in recent years have the Baltimore Orioles had a clearly known starting catcher on the roster. In the last five seasons, the Orioles have had had the same catcher behind the dish for 100 or more games just once: Matt Wieters in 2016.

I guess you could call the other four years a catcher-by-committee system for the O’s.

— In 2014, when Wieters was shut down early in the season and required Tommy John surgery, time behind the plate was split up with 77, 45, and 18 starts between then-rookie Caleb Joseph, Nick Hundley, and Steve Clevenger, respectively.

— In 2015, Wieters was still recovering from surgery early on in the year, limiting him to 55 games at catcher after returning in June. Joseph started 93 games, along with with eight starts from Ryan Lavarnway and six starts from Clevenger.

— 2016 was Wieters’ first full season back in as the starting backstop, and also his last year as an Oriole. He started 111 games, with Joseph handling 40 starts, and Francisco Pena taking care of 11.

— In 2017, Wieters signed with the Washington Nationals and the Orioles replaced him by signing Welington Castillo – who ended up starting 86 games – to pair with Joseph, who started 69. Pena also mixed in three starts and then-rookie Chance Sisco started four times.

— And lastly, this past season, Joseph led the workload of four catchers, with 79 starts behind the dish. Sisco started 43 games, rookie Austin Wynns started 33, and veteran Andrew Susac started seven times.

With 358 starts, 380 games, and 3,161.1 innings, Joseph was the most-used catcher for the Orioles from 2013 through 2018, and he didn’t even break into the majors until May of 2014. However, in recent news, the Orioles decided to non-tender Joseph to make him a free agent. His Orioles tenure featured a .224/.271/.353 slash line with 31 homers in 402 games – not quite what many wanted from him as a hitter. Defensively, he did record +37 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), which is the seventh-most by any catcher – with at least 3,000 innings at catcher – from 2014 through 2018. The catchers above him are Mike Zunino (+40), Russell Martin (+40), Yasmani Grandal (+44), Tyler Flowers (+45), Martin Maldonado (+47), and Buster Posey (+60).

With just three catchers – Wynns, Sisco, and Susac – on the 40-man roster now, the Orioles will look to add a veteran catcher via trade or free agency, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Kubatko also notes that there’s still a possibility Joseph could sign back with the Orioles, but the 32-year-old backstop “is drawing interest from a handful of teams.” I’d think a contending team with a clear starter could give Joseph a nice offer to be the backup.

So, who will carry the bulk of the time behind the plate for the Orioles in 2019? There’s no clear answer, but my best guess is that there will be competition in spring training to see who gets the two catcher spots on the Opening Day roster.

Austin Wynns behind the dish.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

Of the three currently on the 40-man roster, Wynns performed the best in 2018 when given his chance. The 27-year-old rookie slashed .255/.287/.382 with four homers in 42 games. In his short stint with the club, he was about average defensively. He’s fine with blocking pitches in the dirt and throwing runners out, but his below average pitch framing could be holding his defensive value back a tad, as is the -4 DRS he recorded. Wynns hasn’t been known as a top-or-mid-tier prospect in the Orioles system at any point, so it’ll be interesting to see if he can keep his solid production up in 2019, or if it was just some luck in a late rookie year.

Sisco, 23, has quite the opposite resume – but opposite 2018 season. The left-handed hitting catcher has been a top-10 prospect in the Orioles system since he was drafted in the second round out of high school in 2013. In 2017, the year he first got called up to the big leagues, Sisco was ranked 45th on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospect list. He’s mostly been scouted as an offense-first catcher who still had work to do defensively.

Yet after four seasons of hitting minor-league pitching very well from 2013 through 2017, his bat cooled off in the majors big time in 2018, costing him a spot on the major-league roster. In 63 games with the Orioles, Sisco slashed just .181/.288/.269 with a strikeout rate of 35.9 percent. He’ll need to get back on track offensively, as well as continue to improve his game behind the plate, to build himself a strong case to get consistent reps at catcher with the Orioles in 2019. With the recent title of a top prospect, my guess is that the club will give Sisco every opportunity to earn a starting position in spring training.

Susac, 28, has spent multiple seasons as a depth catcher for the San Francisco Giants and Milwaukee Brewers prior to joining the Orioles organization in 2018. He has a career .221/.283/.373 slash line in just 300 career plate appearances, and Kubatko believes Susac will be on the list of players the Orioles will designate for assignment sometime this offseason. If that happens, it’s possible no team will claim him and he can stay in the organization as minor-league depth, but I’d be surprised if he starts any more than 10 games for the O’s in 2019.

If the Orioles do decide to add a veteran catcher to the club, I believe they’d be looking for a defensive-minded veteran who, as a back up or platoon option, will work with Wynns and Sisco on their games defensively.

According to MLBTradeRumors, the following catchers are free agents: Joseph, Hundley, Wieters, Drew Butera, A.J. Ellis, Yasmani Grandal, Chris Herrmann, Jose Lobaton, Jonathan Lucroy, Martin Maldonado, Devin Mesoraco, James McCann, Wilson Ramos, Rene Rivera, and Stephen Vogt.

What could really help is if the Orioles bring in a catcher who is a decent or above-average pitch framer, to not only help the young pitching staff, but to also work with the two young backstops.

Among the free-agent options who would be a suitable backup catcher and are rated well as pitch framers, per Baseball Prospectus, this limits the list down to Maldonado, Rivera, and Herrmann. Maldonado is very well-known as an above-average defender and has started over 100 games behind the dish in each of the past two seasons. Unless Mike Elias wishes to have a veteran starter instead of a veteran backup, I doubt Maldonado will be coming to Baltimore.

This leaves us with Herrmann and Rivera.

Herrmann, 31, has spent his career being a very average backup player who is serviceable at catcher, first base, and in the outfield. He has 1,269.2 major-league innings as a catcher, 27 as a first baseman, and 532.2 as an outfielder. He isn’t the most ideal option for the Orioles, but he would be cheap and would give the club the option to carry him on the roster as well as both Wynns and Sisco, since Herrman can be used as a back up option at multiple positions.

Rivera, 35, is a career-long backup catcher who has never started 100-plus games in one season as a catcher, and he also has +26 DRS since he broke into the big leagues in 2004. As a veteran who is an above-average defender and probably isn’t looking to start anywhere, Rivera is a pretty good option for the Orioles to look into.

If I’m the one making the decisions, Rivera is the first catcher I’m on the phone with. If he signs to a deal, have him break camp as the back up catcher to Wynns or Sisco – whichever wins the job out of spring training

Which catcher would you like to see the Orioles add, if any at all? Do you think the Orioles will stick to one catcher as the starter for the year, or will they roll with a catcher-by-committee, as I named it earlier?

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A Look at Potential Free Agent Outfield Targets

Adam Jones looks at his bat.

submitted by Ryan Hoak

The hiring of Mike Elias, now two weeks past, has brought Orioles fans’ attention to the free agent market. Now the Orioles front office can focus on possible trades or free-agent signings, alongside hiring a new manager. This administration under Elias is aware they are not building a competitive 2019 Orioles team, but that doesn’t mean they can’t plug holes in the current roster.

The biggest hole in the outfield on the current Orioles roster is right field. With the likely departure of beloved Oriole Adam Jones, there isn’t a clear Opening Day right fielder. There are the sub-par plugins like Joey Rickard, Anthony Santander and Mark Trumbo, who either lack the desired offensive capabilities, or in Trumbo’s case, are pure liabilities in the field. DJ Stewart got a run-out in September of last year, and although he showed signs of offensive power, he may need some more time at Norfolk to refine his contact skills before becoming an everyday right fielder.

[Related: What Will Orioles do with Glut of Young Outfielders?]

Trey Mancini is locked in at left field for the next season with Chris Davis holding down the fort at first base for the time being. Cedric Mullins will most likely be the opening day starter in center field. His offense went downhill after his hot start in 2018, but his stellar defense and record in the minors in 2018 will give him a spot on the team. Right field is the only outfield position that absolutely needs an immediate fix from outside the organization.

Free agency is where the Orioles can and should fill the outfield hole, and that’s why I have singled out a couple of possible outfield targets for the Elias-led Orioles. These targets are all veteran players that would offer great leadership to the plethora of younger players. Defense and leadership are the top priorities on my list for the top outfield free-agents for the Orioles.

Here are some targets, in no particular order.

 

Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson is well known, thanks to his high power numbers and successful tenure with the Yankees and Mets. By the start of the 2019 season, Granderson will be 38 years old, having played with the Tigers, Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Blue Jays and Brewers. Considering he has been in the league since 2004, few players have more experience than Granderson (cue the Bartolo jokes). This experience can aid younger players like Mullins and Stewart in on- and off-field manners. He was just awarded MLBPA Man of the Year honors for a record third time this past week, for his incredible performance in both areas.

In 119 games last year between the Blue Jays and Brewers, Granderson slashed .242/.351/.431 with 13 home runs. A 13-home-run season isn’t impressive of course, but Granderson previously had four straight seasons of more than 20 dingers. I’d expect him to hit about 20 homers in Baltimore, which would be a great boost from right field. Also, his on-base capabilities and still somewhat decent speed can provide a lead-off option if Mullins is struggling. It’s important to mention he is a lefty, which is needed in this righty-heavy lineup. In the field Granderson is still at least an average right fielder with tips to share with the younger players.

Granderson has become a reliable rental, and will most likely sign a one-year deal for around three or four million dollars. He is a cheap rental who would provide an offensive spark and a recognizable face.

 

Jon Jay

Since 2010, Jon Jay has been a capable hitter with elite defensive tools. The now 33-year-old lefty would provide a much needed pure contact hitter of the kind who hasn’t been seen in Baltimore since the 2016 version of Hyun Soo Kim.

Last season Jay played for two teams, the Royals and Diamondbacks, where he put together a decent campaign. He slashed .268/.330/.347 between the two teams, but those stats don’t tell the whole story. He started the year in Kansas City where he hit .307, and then was rewarded with a trade to a contender. It did not go well in Arizona, where he hit a measly .235. Over his nine-year career he has compiled a .285 average, so Jay’s tenure with the Diamondbacks was most likely an anomaly.

Jay is an elite defender in all outfield positions, playing in center, left and right last year. In right field last season, Jay had a fielding percentage of 1.000 and a DRS of +6. A major league team in the beginning of a rebuild can’t afford to give away games because of bad defense, and Jay would bolster the outfield defense tremendously.

Great defense, decent speed, pure contact and a veteran presence are exactly what the Orioles need for this upcoming season. If the Orioles can get that for around $3 million or so, then they should absolutely pick him up. Jay signed for $3 million last year, and his price tag would most likely be in the same ballpark for 2019.

 

Carlos Gonzalez

Another veteran, Gonzalez (33) is a popular figure amongst fans and teammates. He has been with the Rockies since 2009 and has been an incredibly productive player with the bat in his hand. He is another lefty, who just like the others would help create some balance in an almost exclusively righty lineup.

Last season Gonzalez slashed .276/.329/.467 with 16 homers, a very respectable line. He is a career .287 hitter which makes him an all-around good batter in terms of contact and power.

The only blemish on his offense is his home/road splits, which are quite drastic. He has played his whole career with the Rockies (except 85 games with the A’s), who play in Coors Field where the ball, of course, flies. His career home stat line is .323/.381/.592 with 142 home runs, while on the road he only slashes .251/.307/.420 with 89 dingers. Camden Yards has the short right-field porch which is like heaven for lefties, so this split alone shouldn’t chase the Orioles away from signing CarGo.

[Related: A Look at Potential Free Agent Infield Targets]

CarGo is now an average to slightly below average right fielder, with a -6 DRS in 2018, but can still make the necessary plays and can hold the fort down for a season. Gonzalez brought a certain flair to the Rockies clubhouse, and he would do the same in the Orioles clubhouse. If this next team isn’t going to compete, why not have some fun with it? Especially for just $5 million or so – which is what I expect him to get in the offseason, considering that was his salary last year.

 

Adam Jones

No introduction is needed for this Oriole legend, a future Oriole Hall of Famer and the face of the franchise. Jones had a very productive 2018 season, slashing .281/.313/.419 with 15 home runs. His power numbers are not what they are used to be, but he still hits for a good average and is a scary middle-of the-lineup hitter. Everyone knows his offensive capabilities even in his older age (33).

Last season Adam made the transition from center to right to accommodate Mullins. Just like in center, Adam is not the best right fielder, as he had -6 DRS in just 33 games. He is a sub-par defender but like CarGo, isn’t nearly the liability Trumbo would be.

The obvious reasons to sign Jones are the leadership qualities and what he means to Orioles fans. Adam is the leader of the clubhouse and a great role model. Jones was once a prospect and had to go through exactly what Mullins is currently going through. He can also teach these players that off-field actions mean just as much as on-field ones. He has a tremendous presence in the community; his annual Stay Hungry Tailgate raised over $125,000 just last week. He means a great deal to the Baltimore community and has become the face of the franchise over the last decade because of this. He has held this team together for over a decade and not having Jonesy in an Orioles uniform would be heartbreaking.

The problem is that the Orioles and Jones’ terms to sign would not likely match up at all. Jones has said he wants to win a ring but that won’t happen on any Oriole teams in the foreseeable future. Also, Jonesy most likely does not want a one-year deal, but that is exactly what Elias would be looking for. If Jones were to sign on for more than one year he would only block young players like Austin Hays, Yusniel Diaz, Stewart and Ryan McKenna. A multi-year deal would go against everything a rebuilding team would do, so a deal between the two parties is unlikely.

All four options would be great pickups for the Orioles on one-year deals, as they fit the needs of a rebuilding team. All offer leadership, some offensive capabilities, and sturdiness in the field and aren’t going to break the bank.

There are other options out there, but Birdland should be happy if one of these players is signed to be the Opening Day right fielder for the 2019 Baltimore Orioles.

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How Will O’s Utilize Plethora of Young Outfielders?

Cedric Mullins in the batter's box.

One bittersweet topic that has surfaced in Baltimore over the past few months is the upcoming departure of Adam Jones. Some fans may view it as just bitter, with no sweet mixture, as the long-time face of the franchise has been holding down center field in Baltimore from the start of 2008 until August 10 of this past season, when he agreed to slide to right field to pave the way for rookie Cedric Mullins.

Assuming Jones will not be returning to Baltimore on a new contract this offseason, his 11-year tenure featured a .279/.319/.459 slash line with 263 long balls, five All-Star appearances, four Gold Glove awards, and one Silver Slugger award.

With one door closing, however, opens up many more.

As mentioned above, Jones moved to right field to help start Mullins’ career in center field. Unless new general manager Mike Elias or whomever he chooses to hire to manage the Orioles in 2019 decides otherwise, it’s safe to assume Mullins will be starting in center on Opening Day.

Who will be starting on each side of the 24-year-old, though?

There are five in-house options to play alongside Mullins for consistent time at some point in 2019. Let’s take a look at each.

Trey Mancini gets ready to field.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

 

Trey Mancini

I’d imagine there is a goal to find a way to move Trey Mancini from left field to either first base or designated hitter. With Chris Davis’ huge contract on the books through 2022, the only way to make this happen is to take Mark Trumbo out of the equation.

So, unless the Orioles can trade away Trumbo to another team this offseason, Mancini is very likely going to be in left field again to start the new season. In 1,500.2 innings over two seasons in left field, he has recorded -13 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and has a -13.1 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating), which is certainly much less than ideal.

It’s looking likely that he’ll be trotting out in left field to start the year, but I’d be surprised if he’s still out there after the non-waiver trade deadline.

D.J. Stewart positioned in the outfield.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

 

D.J. Stewart

Like Mullins, D.J. Stewart hit the big stage as a rookie for the Orioles in 2018. The 25-year-old left-handed hitter was a first-round draft pick by the organization in 2015. However, scouting reports haven’t bought into him being first-round material, as he is currently 22nd in the club’s prospect rankings, via MLB Pipeline.

In limited chances, Stewart impressed, slashing .250/.340/.550 with three home runs over just 47 plate appearances. Despite concern over his stocky size in the outfield, the six-foot, 230-lb. rookie showed decent athleticism, swiping two bases and playing adequate defense in the corner-outfield spots.

If the Orioles do find a way to deal Trumbo this offseason and move Mancini out of the outfield, this would make things a lot easier for Stewart to grab a starting outfield gig out of camp. But until that happens, I’d assume he’ll be in competition for the right field job during Spring Training.

Joey Rickard throws.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

 

Joey Rickard

There are probably four different possibilities for Joey Rickard’s role with the 2019 Orioles: starting right fielder, platoon in right field with Stewart, bench outfielder, or no spot on the roster at all.

How could Rickard start in right field, you’re probably asking. My guess would be that the only time this happens is in the beginning of the season. With a below-average defender in Mancini in left field, and Mullins about to start his first full-year in the big leagues in center, the Orioles may opt to start a better defensive outfielder in right field to help Mullins out. Over the past two seasons, Rickard has recorded +9 DRS and a +5.1 UZR in right. If you’re looking for defensive help alongside Mullins, Rickard may be your guy.

He could also platoon with Stewart right out of the gate. In order to help ensure better defense, but still get Stewart reps, Rickard could simply be a late-game defensive replacement while also getting the starts in right against southpaws. In his three-year career, Rickard has shown to be a pretty good hitter against lefties, slashing .284/.328/.439, as opposed to his .231/.280/.336 career line against right-handers.

The likely role here, in my opinion, is serving as a reserve outfielder. He would be used as a late-in-game defensive replacement and/or pinch runner, as well as getting a start here and there to rest the starters. I believe that with this current roster, the reserve role is one at which Rickard would perform well.

The only option remaining would be if the club chooses not to carry Rickard at all. This would surprise me, but I guess it’s possible if the organization looks to add another defensive-minded outfielder in free agency.

Austin Hays follows through on his swing.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

 

Austin Hays

This has been a crazy roller coaster ride for Austin Hays. In his first professional season in 2017, Hays killed High-A pitching, batting .328/.364/.592 through 64 games. He was then promoted to Double-A Bowie, where he played another 64 games, slashing .330/.367/.594. This earned him a call-up to Baltimore, where he played 20 games and sported a .217/.238/.317 line while getting his feet wet in the majors. After his impressive first full year of professional ball, he was ranked the Orioles number one prospect and the 23rd-best prospect in the game by MLB Pipeline.

However, Hays had a 2018 campaign to forget. In just 66 games in Double-A Bowie in an injury-plagued season, Hays batted .242/.271/.432. He has fallen off MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list entirely, and has dropped to the Orioles’ fourth-best prospect.

The Orioles hope he can have a healthy 2019 and return to the level at which he played in in 2017. If he can do that, he may be an impact starter at the big-league level. If he fails to come close to replicating his 2017 production, he may have a platoon or reserve outfielder label attached to his name going forward.

Yusniel Diaz follows through on his swing.

 

Yusniel Diaz

This is the guy everyone wants to get a look at. Yusniel Diaz, the prize of the package sent from the Los Angeles Dodgers in return for shortstop Manny Machado in July, is ranked the organization’s number-one prospect and 52nd-overall in the game, per MLB Pipeline.

After slashing .314/.428/.477 in Double-A Tulsa to start the year, the 22-year-old outfielder got off to a rocky start in Bowie, batting .239/.329/.403 in 38 games to close out the year. However, you can make the case that this can be chalked up to taking time to settle in with a new organization. He batted an uninspiring .182/.297/.273 in his first 16 games in Bowie, but turned it around with a .278/.352/.494 line with four homers in his final 22 games of the year.

I would be surprised if Diaz breaks camp with the big-league club for Opening Day. But with a little more seasoning in the minors, it’s possible that he could be the starting right fielder for the O’s not only for the majority of this upcoming season, but also many years to come.

It may not be much of an issue on Opening Day, but the Orioles could have a very crowded outfield in the middle of the season. Like I’ve said previously, keeping Trumbo around complicates the matter. Being able to move Mancini out of the outfield means having four outfielders – Mullins, Stewart, Hays, and Diaz – for three spots, as opposed to those four having to find time in just two spots.

This is very much a good problem for the club to potentially have on their hands, however. Stewart, Hays, and Diaz are still prospects, and Mullins still has much to prove. There’s no saying all four are going to pan out the way everyone hopes them to, so having this plethora creates a pretty good situation for the O’s.

I guess I can’t let this post come to an end without a prediction, so here’s my thinking of what could happen:

— Opening Day: Mancini in left, Mullins in center, and a Stewart/Rickard platoon in right.

— End of season: Stewart and Hays splitting time in left, Mullins and Hays splitting time in center, and Diaz full-time starter in right field. Trumbo traded at the non-waiver trade deadline to move Mancini out of the outfield.

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Potential FA Infield Prospects for Rebuilding O’s

Freddy Galvis throws on the run.

In the days since the Orioles finally got their front office situation sorted out – by hiring the grand-slam choice of former Astros assistant GM Mike Elias – the offseason chatter has returned to the more mundane, run-of-the-mill topics familiar to every offseason: who will be non-tendered, which free agents should the team target, etc.

Speaking of non-tender candidates, one name keeps popping up here in Birdland: Tim Beckham.

I have no inside information on this situation – but with some more analytical heads up top making the decisions, I don’t think the club will be retaining the 28-year-old infielder, who struggled both offensively and defensively in 2018.

Questions have also surfaced about the future position of Jonathan Villar, and whether he’ll be the second baseman or the shortstop going forward. He has shown to be a better defender at the second rather than short, but the club’s decision at this point is anybody’s guess.

With my assumption that Beckham will be departing and assuming the Orioles still are undecided on the status of Villar, I have five free-agent infielders in mind who I think the club should pursue: three shortstops, two second basemen.

You should begin to see a trend on which I want to focus. And, sorry in advance, Orioles fans – none of these are Manny Machado. And none are likely to move the betting predictions and odds very much at all when it comes to the O’s winning anything of substance.

My five choices are listed alphabetically by last name, not by any order of preference. At the end, I’ll even throw in a bonus sixth option, but that player would only intriguing if another specific transaction happens this offseason.

Let’s get started.

 

Freddy Galvis, SS

Freddy Galvis, 29, has proven to be a very durable shortstop over the past four seasons, playing in over 150 games in each year since the start of 2015. He has two-consecutive 162-game seasons entering 2019, the former with the Philadelphia Phillies and the latter with the San Diego Padres.

The switch-hitter isn’t known for his abilities at the plate, with a slash line of .246/.290/.374 in his career and .248/.299/.380 in 2018. But what makes him an interesting candidate is his talent on the defensive side, as he recorded +7 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) with the Padres this past season. That ranks as the eighth-best mark among qualified shortstops, fifth-best among National League shortstops.

For comparison, in their times at shortstop with the Orioles in 2018, Machado had -18 DRS and Beckham recorded -3 DRS. Yes, Machado’s defensive stats at shortstop showed to be much better with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but I’ll just tip my cap to the Dodgers staff for helping make adjustments to better his game. Hopefully, I’ll be able to tip my cap to this new Orioles staff in some time down the road.

Keep in mind those defensive numbers Orioles shortstops posted in 2018 while I bring up these next options.

Adeiny Hecavarria throws as a Ray.

 

Adeiny Hechavarria, SS

Adeiny Hechavarria bounced around in 2018, starting with the Tampa Bay Rays before being dealt to the Pittsburgh Pirates then to the New York Yankees. This wasn’t to say Hechavarria didn’t present value last season – quite the opposite. He was a decent infield option that multiple teams coveted during the waiver-trade period in August.

Like Galvis, and multiple others on this list, Hechavarria isn’t an offensive threat by any means, posting a .247/.279/.345 line in 2018. The value that he brings forth is defensively, as he recorded +3 DRS this past season, bringing his career total to +22 at shortstop. Like most of the options on this list, he’s not one of the flashy names on the free-agent market that will pop out at you. But that’s the reality you have to swallow when you’re a fan of a rebuilding team. You’re likely not going to see the stars play for your team.

So instead, the Orioles can look to bring in a good defensive shortstop like Hechavarria to improve the defense behind young pitchers during the rebuild.

Jose Iglesias prepares to field a ground ball.

 

Jose Iglesias, SS

Jose Iglesias will probably be the most expensive of the SS options on my list.

The 28-year-old shortstop slashed .269/.310/.389 in 2018, with +1 DRS and +8.2 UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating), which ranked fourth-best among all qualified shortstops. Iglesias is coming off his best overall season in the big leagues, in which he totaled 2.5 fWAR.

Iglesias is a shortstop that multiple contenders may take a look at on a multi-year deal. But if he slips through the cracks and teams look elsewhere, the Orioles should be jumping on the opportunity to sign him.

Ian Kinsler of the Red Sox celebrates.

 

Ian Kinsler, 2B

The Orioles are reportedly “monitoring the market” for Ian Kinsler, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network.

Kinsler, 36, got to enjoy a World Series championship with the Boston Red Sox this past year, after being dealt by the Los Angeles Angels earlier this summer. The veteran second baseman isn’t the same hitter that he used to be, as he slashed .240/.301/.380 with an 87 wRC+ in 2018. He still has a little bit of pop left in his bat, as he hit 22 home runs in 2017 and 14 in 2018.

No matter how much his hitting skills have declined, however, his defense is still among the best in the game at second base, as he recorded +10 DRS and +9.4 UZR in 2018, both good for second-most among all qualified second basemen in the game.

It’s possible that the veteran Kinsler could be coveted by a contender this offseason, but it’s also possible that he could be skipped over with some younger, pricier, more-intriguing infielders on the open market. There’s also a chance that a contender may view Kinsler as a utility option.

If he’d rather start, Camden Yards could be a good park to try to have a bounce-back year in offensively, while providing Orioles young pitchers with some defensive help.

D.J. LeMahieu prepares to field.

 

D.J. LeMahieu, 2B

Now this one may be the most unlikely of the five I’ve listed, but it’s still a possibility.

Remember when I wrote above that Kinsler had the second-most DRS and UZR among qualified second basemen in 2018? Well, the only guy above him was D.J. LeMahieu, who posted +18 DRS and +11 UZR in 2018, making his total through 7,460 innings at second base in his career +67 and +26.5, respectively.

LeMahieu has always been a plus defender for the Colorado Rockies, but his bat finally broke out in 2016, when he slashed .348/.416/.495 with a 130 wRC+. His slash line dipped to .310/.374/.409 in 2017, and then again in 2018 to .276/.321/.428.

Now that’s a respectable line, especially for one of the best defensive second basemen in baseball. But what may push potential suitors away is how much they believe in the “Coors Effect.” In his career, he has a home batting line of .330/.387/.448, compared to .264/.311/.362 on the road. This may not push interested teams away entirely, but it would sway them to not offer as big of a contract as LeMahieu is probably hoping for this season.

The Dodgers, Washington Nationals, and Minnesota Twins have all had “at least preliminary talks with reps” for LeMahieu, according to Morosi. It’ll be interesting to see what the market is for the 30-year-old second baseman. If he doesn’t like the offers, and teams start looking elsewhere, Baltimore could be a short-term option for him to try to bounce back – especially away from Coors Field – to try to score a bigger deal for himself in the future.

These could be big ifs, however, and not something I’m necessarily banking on.

Jose Bautista and Rougned Odor fight.

 

Bonus Option: Jose Bautista, corner infield/outfield

I bet I caught you off guard with this one.

Remember when I said this possibility would only be an option if another specific transaction would happen first? What I’m talking about here is trading Mark Trumbo. The Orioles already have Chris Davis locked into the huge contract, and he isn’t going anywhere. My assumption is the designated hitter role will belong to Trumbo, which means the Orioles will have Trey Mancini trotting back out to left field on Opening Day again.

If the club wants to prepare for the young crowd of outfielders who have come in to Baltimore and those who are on the horizon – Cedric Mullins, D.J. Stewart, Austin Hays, and Yusniel Diaz – then getting Mancini out of the outfield and into a first baseman or designated hitter role may be a priority. Finding a way to trade Trumbo could free up a spot for this to happen.

I think I may know what you’re thinking now – what would Jose Bautista offer this club that Trumbo doesn’t?

The answers are: flexibility, and a defined role that isn’t hurting the club.

We know that Bautista has most of his experience as a corner outfielder, but he also has over 100 innings-experience at first base in the majors, as well as 3,233.2 innings at third base. 139.1 of those innings played at third base came in 2018 when he logged time with the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, and Philadelphia Phillies. He’s not an above-average defender at third by any means, but he’s serviceable.

I think Renato Nunez has earned the right to start Opening Day at third base, as he slashed .275/.336/.445 with seven homers in 60 games with the Orioles in 2018. But what Bautista could offer is a corner utility that would play just a few times a week, whether it be filling in at third base, first base, left field, right field, or as an occasional designated hitter. He slashed .203/.348/.378 with 13 homers in just 399 plate appearances in 2018, so you could probably get him cheap on a low-risk, high-reward deal. And if the deal makes out well, he may be a decent trade candidate in the summer.

In the end, Bautista may not even be an option to think about if the O’s don’t find a way to deal Trumbo away this winter.

Looking at the five initial candidates I picked out above, one common factor plays with all five: defense. With a rebuilding franchise, better defense – especially up the middle – could be a big help to young pitchers looking to progress at the major-league level.

There aren’t going to be any high-priced players that are coming to Baltimore in this first full-year of the rebuild process, so you might as well look to see which free agents could help your up-and-coming players and pitchers out the most.

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Should O’s Consider Buying These Free Agents?

Jeremy Hellickson stands on the mound as an Indians player rounds the bases behind him.

The Orioles have a lot of depth in the squad. So many of you might be thinking, do we even need to make additions to the squad in the offseason? But the Orioles rotation has been a problem for some time now and it looks as though none of the current players can offer a solution.

A possible solution could be to sign an experienced player who can offer consistency throughout the year. It does not need to be a high profile athlete who will cost us dearly. There are a host of free agents who could be worth signing.

Here are the three best options that the Orioles should consider.

James Shields

There are a lot of difficulties in signing James Shields. Firstly, he’d cost us too much. Secondly his production would not be satisfactory and finally, the player himself might not be interested in the move. But Shields has the most sought after quality that makes one a top professional: he is unbelievably consistent. He has had a thirteen year long career and only twice has he failed to reach thirty-one starts. 

This wouldn’t be the signing that will excite many but at least there will be certainty in what you are buying. The White Sox chose not to offer him a new contract and he could be an option for the O’s. He has amassed a wealth of $113M in his playing career so money is not his primary concern now that he is 37 yrs old, so he might settle for a lesser fee.

Signing him might be a masterstroke for the Baltimore Orioles. 

Jeremy Hellickson

Not many Orioles’ fan held Jeremy Hellickson in high regard given his disappointing performances in the one year he played for us. In the 2017-18 campaign though he surprised us all and has had a massive impact for the Washington Nationals.

He is another player who has been very consistent throughout his career. He started his career in 2010 and since then he has only failed twice to make fewer than twenty-seven starts. Unlike Shields Hellickson will be a much cheaper option given that he earned only $2M last year. So if he is signed for between three and five million dollars both parties could benefit from the deal.

Tyson Ross

Tyson Ross proved to be an outstanding as a pitcher for the Padres in the two years that he played there. He has an excellent strikeout rate of 19.2%. However in the past three years he has had to deal with injuries to his arm, and has also struggled with thoracic outlet syndrome. Even without the injuries he was never the most consistent player.

Despite his struggles he has proven to be very effective in this past year in which he played for two teams namely the Padres and the Cardinals. He registered a FIP of 4.39 and a groundball rate of 45.9%. Even though he could be signed for as low as $2M he comes with a risk. He’ll definitely perform if he stays fit but if he gets injured the investment will prove to be futile.

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Mike Elias Would Fight A Horse-Sized Duck & More AMA Fun

Mike Elias on his laptop.

On Monday, the Orioles introduced new Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Elias in a sort of awkward press conference thing with John & Lou Angelos. Scott from Bird’s Eye View described the setting as featuring “IKEA furniture,” which seems like the perfect choice of words.

After the introduction, Elias did an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit. I’ll try to pick out some of the more interesting answers he gave here.

Question: “Pitching development…how do you plan to fix it?” (Very direct. I like it.)

Answer: “developing pitching is the toughest thing to do; we’ve had a lot of success recently in Houston, and without giving away our approach on the internet, I will say that I hope I learned enough to bring some of those lessons here.”

Two-Bit Analysis: There are a million things about Mike Elias about which O’s fans should be excited. I’d say that a completely revamped and novel approach to developing pitching prospects tops the list. Houston made Justin Verlander immediately better after acquiring him. Justin Verlander! As finished a product as you’d think could exist, benefited quickly and measurably from Houston’s teachings. They resurrected Charlie Morton‘s career as well. There are other examples. Dylan Bundy is smiling somewhere (/looks at calendar – probably in a tree stand).

Question: “I know you didn’t mention the length of the contract, can you confirm if there is a specific length to the contract and that it is for a long enough period of time to see a real change happen from bottom up?”

Answer: “I hope to be here for a very long time. This is a great opportunity for me. I love the city and have a lot of family in the area; it’s a perfect place to build a baseball organization. My wife and I are planning to buy a house, as soon as we can, and that’s the closest I’ll come to answering your question!”

Two-Bit Analysis: It’s interesting that we haven’t heard the length of the contract reported. No biggie, just…interesting.

Question: “What are your thoughts on next year’s draft and are there any prospects we should be aware of going into it? I keep hearing Bobby Witt, Jr. as the potential #1 overall pick.”

Answer: “I think it will be a good crop this year and I can tell you, we will do very well with this pick. I’m familiar with the candidates already from my time in Houston, but I’m looking forward to focusing on them more closely this winter and this spring with the Orioles’ scouts. We are going to keep an open mind, look at several candidates for the pick, and gather as much information as possible about them up until the buzzer rings. I will say that the final decision won’t be made until right before the pick, because that’s just how it’s done!”

Two-Bit Analysis: Nice to hear that nothing has been decided yet. O’s fans all assume it’ll be Bobby Witt Jr., of course, but we really don’t know. For a much more detailed look at how the draft-day process might go, I refer you to this Sports Illustrated article from 2014 on the Astros’ rebuild. Every O’s fan should have read this by now, but if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

Question: “would you rather fight a hundred duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?”

Answer: “I am thinking in terms of fighting a T-Rex versus a hundred raptors, and am more scared of the raptors, so I’ll go with the horse-sized duck.”

Two-Bit Analysis: Mike was asked about Chris Davis in the presser, and had this to say:

“To me, this lineup and this team is at its best with a productive Chris Davis, a dangerous Chris Davis in the middle of the lineup, so I want to see that happen. He had a frustrating campaign this year. I think the chances are good of him bouncing back and improving upon that and I’m going to get involved in the work going into his offseason work, his preparation and any new ideas or information that we can provide to him to help him out, we will do our best to do that. So that’s my hope.”

That was the politic presser answer. I think his reply to the question about the hundred duck-sized horses or the horse-sized duck gives more insight into his true frame of mind here. Chris Davis’ contract, of course, is the horse-sized duck, or T. Rex, in the room. Given the choice of being saddled with a bunch of pretty bad contracts, or one TERRIBLE one, Mike Elias is more comfortable taking on the one terrible one.

Lucky for him!

Question: If you could draft one Orioles Hall of Famer as an 18 year old prospect (Palmer, Cal, Eddie, Brooks, or Frank) to build a team around, who would you pick, and why?

Answer: As a scouting director, I’d happily put my name on any of those picks! But I have to say, I am always biased towards infielders!

Two-Bit Analysis: Hey, you know who is an infielder? Bobby Witt Jr.! So we’re back to that being the number one pick, despite the earlier attempts at diversion.

 

That was fun. Mike said he had some appointments and signed off after about 45 minutes. Hopefully the appointments were with Sig Mejdal (to hammer out contract details) and Brady Anderson (to assign him to his new permanent office in Sarasota).

Next up, a new manager!

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Thoughts on the Hiring of Mike Elias

Mike Elias

The Orioles have a new leader in place of their front office, following a harrowing six weeks that left fans in limbo. Mike Elias has been hired as the team’s Executive Vice President and General Manager. He will take over all of the team’s baseball operations, and according to the club, has “full autonomy” to build a staff and make the decisions.

This is where you insert the “shocked face” GIF.

Let’s first take a step back and think about what the last month-plus has been like for Orioles supporters. The team just completed its worst season in history, going 47-115 and finishing 61 games behind the eventual World Series champion Red Sox in the AL East. Popular manager Buck Showalter and front office leader Dan Duquette were both relieved of their duties, or more accurately, did not have their expiring contracts renewed. All of this followed a tumultuous summer in which the team traded key players like Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Kevin Gausman, Darren O’Day and Brad Brach. It was the start of a rebuild, without actually starting any of the rebuilding. As they say, sometimes the foundation is so bad, you must tear down the whole house and start again. That’s what the Orioles are doing. Elias is now the new man in charge of rebuilding the house.

[Related: Knee-Jerk Reactions to Mike Elias Hiring]

Not only was the 2018 season extremely distressing for O’s fans, but more specifically, these last few months have been a drag. Not knowing the future of the club will bring angst to any fanbase, but it’s especially been true for the Orioles because of uncertainty even higher up than the front office. What was perhaps even more bizarre about this search for new front office leadership was that there were no updates or even hints about what was going on during the process. The sons of owner Peter Angelos, John and Lou, were in charge of conducting the search. There were no leaks through the media until the news was broken by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale earlier this week. It was all handled in a pretty professional and quiet way, though not a timely one. Strangely, it was done in the way you are supposed to do it. That’s not something that can be said often about the Orioles.

On to Elias, and the hire itself.

[Related: Mike Elias Will Lead Orioles into Future]

I’m not going to sit here and pretend to tell you I know enough about the 35-year-old former Astros assistant GM to give you any informed analysis. I didn’t even know how to properly pronounce his last name until earlier this week, and my guess is that many reading this didn’t either. Everything I’ve read about him gives me hope that this is a positive first step in the right direction for the organization. The fact that, according to Nightengale, they are making Elias the highest-paid first-year GM in baseball history, also speaks to a new mindset for the organization.

It’s something that also goes higher up a food chain than people would think. There were many rumors this past summer that with the Angelos sons taking more of a prominent role in the operations of the team, that the family was gearing up to sell the franchise. I think we can pretty confidently put those rumors to bed. Giving such a large sum of money to a new GM is not only a very “non-Oriole” move, but it’s also not the type of move someone would make if they were preparing to sell.

Elias comes from an organization that won the World Series last year on the strength of many players he had a hand in acquiring, mostly through the draft. Players like Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman have blossomed in the time he spent there. He was also around for first-round busts like Mark Appel and Brady Aiken. You take the good with the bad. No one is saying the Orioles are going to do things in the same way the Astros did it, but there’s a decent blueprint there. It includes a lot of losing, which the Orioles have already gotten a head start on.

I’m confident that this was a good hire. I’m confident in the process and how they’ve gone about everything since the end of the season. In fact, I’m starting to see signs that I can be confident in the Angelos sons taking more of a role in the organization. This goes back to some decisions prior to the 2018 season, such as the “Kids Cheer Free” program and new pricing initiatives for concessions at Camden Yards. There will be a ton of skepticism from the most cynical supporters of the Orioles, and I get that. But right now, it seems the O’s have seen rock bottom and are at least looking up and thinking about climbing out of it.

The first decision for Elias will be who to hire to replace Showalter as manager. Frankly, I don’t think the hiring of a manager is a big decision. Some may see it as a big deal, but I wouldn’t imagine the manager hired for 2019 is the same manager the Orioles will have when they are competitive once again. Hiring a young manager is in play and hiring an experienced manager is still in play. Frankly, either of them will be taking marching orders from Elias in this setup.

There’s been rumors about former NASA engineer Sig Mejdal joining Elias in Baltimore. Mejdal has been with the Astros since 2012, and like Elias, previously worked for the Cardinals in analytics. Hiring Mejdal would be a smart move as a replacement for Sarah Gelles, who departed the Orioles earlier this month after eight seasons with the club and three years running their analytics department. The average fan would be shocked to learn the Orioles had an analytics department, let alone that it was run by someone who was with the team for eight seasons. Ironically, Gelles left for a job with the Astros, shortly after it was announced that Mejdal was leaving Houston.

Fans can take a deep breath after this hire. But it’s important to realize that bringing in Elias does not shorten any kind of timeline you might have had in your mind for when the O’s will be competitive once again. That should still stand at around four years at a minimum. The organizational depth is still depleted. The Birds still have a bad farm system and haven’t had good scouting practices in place for years. But the hope is that Elias can at least start to change that. The hope is that bringing in someone who has been there before, that is, in an organization that has built from the bottom, can help do it again by using the same tactics in a different location.

The hill to climb is a large one, especially when you reside in the American League East. The Red Sox are the defending champs, the Yankees are loaded, the Rays have a Cy Young award winner to go with youth and scrappiness, and the Blue Jays have a loaded farm system with big league talent on the way. There is nothing easy about where the Orioles are and where they are trying to get.

But when you take a step back and look at the macro, rather than the micro, November 16, 2018 is a good day to be an Orioles supporter. By doing that, you can start to see the outline of what might be a functional organization doing things to move in the right direction. I realize that the bar has been set extremely low, especially after 115 losses. But this is where we are. The Orioles have been a disappointment, even in the aftermath of a five-year stretch that saw them reach the postseason three times.

That era is now over. The “dark ages” were overtaken by the Duquette-Showalter era. Now that era is morphing into the Elias era. He’s been put in charge of rebuilding the house, that needed to be torn down. The foundation wasn’t strong enough. Houses can take a while to build, but Elias is the now the new contractor in charge of putting it all back together.

As long as we believe he has the right tools and permission to use them, I’d say there’s reason for some optimism in Birdland.

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Mike Elias Will Lead Orioles into Future

Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore

It took over two weeks following the World Series for the Orioles to find the right person to head their organization moving forward, but the patience may have paid off. Mike Elias, age 35, is a young, analytically driven executive with playing and scouting experience.

Elias was in part responsible for drafting the likes of Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman. He has quite the job ahead of him taking over for an Orioles team that won only 47 games this past season, with no international player pipeline, and an understaffed analytics department who just lost the department head in Sarah Gelles.

But is he the right man to do it? His history suggests so.

The Houston Astros were coming off a 56-106 season in 2011 when they hired a 28-year old Elias as a scout and within eight months, named him director of scouting. Elias then had a hand in drafting first-round picks Carlos Correa (18.3 Career WAR), Lance McCullers, Alex Bregman (12.7 Career WAR), Kyle Tucker, and Forrest Whitley. Elias wasn’t without his draft blemishes though, drafting Brady Aiken and Mark Appel 1st overall, neither of whom ever saw Major League action.

Maybe having the 1st overall pick in the 2019 Draft attracted Elias to the job. More likely though was the presumed promise ownership has made to him to be hands off in the decision making. Ownership meddling has perhaps been the biggest turnoff to potential Orioles job candidates in the past. It has hindered this club’s ability to stay with the pack, make necessary trades, or even develop young talent.

I suspect another reason for the move now is that Astros GM Jeff Luhnow was just granted an extension to remain GM for the next five years and Elias knew he would not be promoted anytime soon.

Elias may just be the perfect candidate for the job, but it does seem odd to see the Orioles making such an intuitive decision. I kid I kid, because it is refreshing to see the Angelos sons recognizing the organization’s most glaring pain point.

Without a formidable analytics staff in this day and age, coupled with the 5th smallest market in the bigs, the Orioles need to have the cream of the crop leading their organization. Now that they hopefully have that in place, they can focus on the future and pave a clear path, tailor the organization to be analytically-focused, draft well, and put more of an emphasis on OPS and wRC+ as opposed to home runs, and be less centered on the desire of ownership and more centered on data-driven decision making.

As Orioles fans we should be cautiously optimistic, but the Angelos sons so far – from the July trade deadline on – have done what they said they were going to do.

Another layer to this are the reports that Sig Mejdal will be joining the Orioles from the Astros. If true, this means an immediate boost to the analytics department. As mentioned earlier, the Orioles’ analytical department is drastically understaffed and Mejdal was basically the sabermetric wizard for the ‘Stros. As a former NASA Engineer, we know he probably has an IQ rivaling Jeopardy’s Ken Jennings.

The Orioles will slowly start to staff their analytics office, the coaching staff, and their minor league staffs, but this is a hell of a good start to a rebuild in which Orioles fans had little to no faith a month ago.

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Knee-Jerk Reactions: O’s Set to Hire Mike Elias

Mike Elias and and an Astros player.

According to multiple reports, the Orioles are set to hire former Houston Astros Assistant GM Mike Elias to be not just the GM, but the top decision-maker of the organization.

It would be great for it to be made official, of course…

As our friend John Darcey, fantasy writer over at our football site, RSR, reminds us though…

So yeah, let’s go with that.

Assuming this thing really goes down, ESR staff react to the news here…

Derek Arnold

If you’d told O’s fans six months ago that they’d have to endure the worst season in franchise history but that we’d be rewarded with the number one overall pick AND a part of the Houston Astros’ top brass, I think many of us would have taken that deal.

If you’re starting a rebuild, who better to have on board than someone who was with the Astros from 2012, when they lost 107 games, through a World Series Championship in 2017 and another ALCS appearance this year.

Elias, a graduate of Fairfax’s Thomas Jefferson High School and Yale, is extremely well-regarded in baseball circles. If he really does have carte blanche to overhaul The Warehouse, Orioles fans have every reason to be excited. Of course, that will remain to be seen, but it’s hard to imagine him taking the job if he had any reservations that the Angelos brothers (or Brady Anderson) would be looking over his shoulder constantly.

The cherry on top? He is bringing Sig Mejdal with him. Who is he? Oh, just a former NASA engineer who had a huge hand in the St. Louis Cardinals’ late-aughts success before becoming Houston’s Director of Decision Sciences in 2012.

It’ll be painful for a few more years, sure. But it was darkest before the dawn in Baltimore, and the sun is rising, damn bright, and damn orange.

Phil Backert

The Orioles had a lot of boxes to check when hiring Dan Duquette’s replacement. The organization needed a person who had a history of scouting including internationally along with player development and someone with experience in a successful organization.

Elias checks all of those, and if the rumor is true that he will bring in one of the top analytics experts in the sport in Sig Mejdal, than this is an absolute home run.

There will still be a lot of growing pains, but it appears the organization is set up to start building a winner again.

Matt Pyne

I absolutely love the hire of Mike Elias as the new head of the Orioles organization. This guy has a proven scouting résumé to accompany some major draft success. He’s partly responsible for bringing in both Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa. He also helped to completely turn around the Houston franchise.

The Orioles will need that expertise if they hope to compete in a stacked AL East, where, aside from the big spenders of the division, the Blue Jays and Rays have excellent farm systems.

The Orioles seem to have a clear path moving forward, which is something we Orioles fans will need to take some time getting used to.

Jonathan French

The Baltimore Orioles finally broke the silence of their offseason with a bold hire. I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting them to hire a top executive to head baseball operations that is younger than I am, but they followed the trend of successful front offices and landed one of the up and coming names with Mike Elias. Given that he grew up in Northern Virginia, I’m guessing he was an Orioles fan in his youth so I would hope he has a personal motivation to want to improve the team beyond just the fact he wants to take full advantage of the opportunity to rebuild a MLB franchise with such a storied history.

Elias’ scouting background is well known, and it would likely further cement the Orioles taking Bobby Witt Jr. at the top of the 2019 MLB Draft given his pedigree. The topic of course then turns to who Elias would hire and who he would retain in the Warehouse. It’s already been reported by ESPN’s Keith Law that former NASA engineer turned MLB analytic guru Sig Medjal will be joining Elias in Baltimore and will help build the Orioles into an analytical powerhouse. Dan Duquette always wanted to do more with analytics but Buck Showalter and other Orioles executives weren’t on the same page. Now with Showalter gone and John and Lou Angelos stepping into their father’s role, it would seem it is time for a new day in Baltimore.

The question remains though – will loyal and controversial Angelos lieutenants like Brian Graham and especially Brady Anderson remain in the organization or will Elias decide and be able to remove them from power and potentially out of the organization completely? Gary Rajsich, who has been the best scouting director in the Angelos era of ownership, also may be replaced in spite of his success. As for manager, someone with an analytical mindset will certainly be hired which will be a breath of fresh air from Showalter, who would infamously bat Adam Jones high in the order against left-handed pitching in spite of his reverse splits. Those fans who visit Fangraphs daily (such as myself) will no longer be venting on Twitter and Facebook – or at least they’ll hopefully be doing it less.

Hiring Mike Elias as the top executive for baseball operations is just the first phase of the Orioles offseason and the rebuild, but with all that he brings, it certainly is an exciting and hopeful start after a season that Orioles fans will always want to forget.

Paul Valle

With the hiring of Mike Elias, Orioles fans should be jumping up and down like it’s Christmas morning. Elias, 36 and a Yale graduate, has experience in scouting, analytics, and drafting, and helped build successful franchises in St. Louis and Houston before taking the biggest promotion of his career with Baltimore.

He is just what the Orioles need: a young, savvy baseball mind with no ties to the organization that will help bring a once proud franchise back to prominence. This also means he will likely hire a manager with no previous ties to Baltimore (sorry, Mike Bordick), and should bring along former NASA engineer Sig Mejdal, who was with him in both St. Louis and Houston. Both of these men will give the Orioles a huge boost in the analytics department, an area that was severely lacking (to say the least) during prior regimes.

The impact on the international market may be unquantifiable. The Orioles have never been big players in the international arena, often times trading away their slot money for middling minor leaguers. That was never more evident than last month when the Orioles missed out on top prospects Victor Victor Mesa, Victor Mesa, Jr., and Sandy Gaston despite having more international bonus slot money than any other team in baseball. Those days should be rapidly disappearing in the rearview after this hire.

Perhaps most important to Orioles fans is that, from all reports, Elias should have complete autonomy within the organization. That means he’ll be the top guy with no interference from ownership. If that is indeed the case, the light at the end of the tunnel could be bigger and brighter than any of us could have imagined back at the trade deadline. The experience is there.

Now we just have to wait for it to come to fruition in Baltimore.

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Will the Orioles Draft Bobby Witt Jr. First Overall?

Bobby Witt Jr. prepares to swing.

For just the second time in franchise history, the Baltimore Orioles hold the first overall pick ahead of the 2019 Major League Baseball draft. The Orioles laboured to a 47-115 record in 2018, crawling past the Detroit Tigers’ 43 regular season wins from 2003. Baltimore snapped a six-year run of selecting in the top five back in 2013 but the Orioles have unfortunately slipped back down the MLB pecking order.

The three-time World Series winners have reached the playoffs five times since their most recent success in baseball’s showpiece series and punters will be wary of backing the Orioles with that poor record in mind. Early reports are suggesting that Bobby Witt Jr could be the man to head to Baltimore with the top pick in the latest MLB draft – but it is still early and it would be foolish to make too many concrete predictions regarding Baltimore’s pick.

Baltimore selected Ben McDonald from Louisiana State University with the first overall pick back in 1989 and he was a fan favorite during his six-year stint with the Orioles. If you get that top pick right, the reward is spectacular. Taking a high-risk, high-reward approach to the choice is the correct way to go more often than not. And Baltimore have, for the most part, got their picks right in recent times…

Five of Baltimore’s six top-five picks from 2007 to 2012 turned out to be successful with the Orioles franchise. Manny Machado, the third overall pick in 2010, was a huge hit during his six-year tenure with Baltimore. If the number one pick turns out to be as vital to the Orioles as Machado was, Baltimore fans will be happy enough. Keeping him with the team may be difficult though.

Backing the Orioles to emerge victorious after such a difficult 2018 season would be foolish to say the least. Baltimore fans won’t be expecting too much ahead of the 2019 campaign but there’s no harm dreaming of a fourth World Series success. MLB odds on bet365 show the Orioles at 250/1 to prevail and it could be a long and gradual process back to the top of the sport. This isn’t going to happen overnight.

Witt Jr has been described by some as the best prospect in the 2019 draft pool. Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com claimed that he has five-tool potential with a real ability to perform at shortstop for the long term – he could be a roaring success at Baltimore. His father, Bobby Witt Sr., was a pitcher for 16 years on the big stage and he could be destined to follow in those footsteps as he looks to enjoy a long and successful career.

The Baltimore Orioles can only get better from here and Bobby Witt Jr. would offer a huge boost ahead of the 2019 campaign. It could all change for the Orioles in the offseason as they look to rebuild and restructure. Give it three to five years and a World Series berth could be a realistic objective if everything goes to plan.

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How Do the O’s Approach the Offseason and 2019?

maryland orioles player holding metal bar on shoulder

It was a dismal season from the Baltimore Orioles, with the only real solace being that they met the record of the appalling 2003 Detroit Tigers of 43-108 with games in hand. Regardless of the record, the baseball played by the Orioles over the course of the 2018 season was on par, if not worse than that of the ’03 Tigers.

Thankfully, in the MLB, there are rewards for enduring a season of hardship, which comes in the form of getting the first overall pick in the amateur draft. It’s evident that the club is going to be making changes, seeing as they traded away almost all veteran pieces of value at the trade deadline, but whether those changes will result in a rebuild from the top down or are merely moves to make the Orioles more sellable is yet to be seen. What we do know is that a completely new-look Baltimore is on the way for 2019.

Orioles players to keep an eye on

D.J. Stewart in the batter's box.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

Assuming that the trades at the deadline were to make way for a youth revolt in Baltimore, Orioles fans should hope to see some of their most hyped prospects make their way into the MLB team. Two names that came up earlier this season were D.J. Stewart and Austin Hays, who were cited as preferred players to have on the field than the claimed 28-year-old John Andreoli. But, luckily for Orioles fans needing a taste of hope for what’s to come, Stewart made his way up to put in some decent innings.

While many don’t rate the top Orioles prospects in their top-100 rankings, there are some good young players ready to break into the team. The farm system certainly improved at the trade deadline, with Yusniel Diaz coming in from the Manny Machado trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Third baseman Ryan Mountcastle comes in as another Baltimore’s top prospect and is expected to join Diaz in arriving in the 2019 season.

As explained by CBS Sports, these two and Hays – who suffered from injuries this season – as well as some others, should be breaking through next season, so there will be plenty of fresh faces preparing to rectify this awful campaign.

There may even be more trades on the way, with Mychal Givens, Mark Trumbo, Dylan Bundy, Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner, and Jonathan Villar possibly on the block. Cobb will most likely be shipped off next season or in the following campaign as the organization waits for him to bounce back and improve his worth.

 

Climbing will be tough for Baltimore


ESPN Stats & Info, via Twitter

Unfortunately, a team can’t simply be filled with the organization’s top prospects; there need to be some experienced heads and roster fillers in the locker room. This isn’t just to fill the team and add some level of competitiveness; it’s also to make sure that there are mentors and leaders to help the next star Orioles adjust to the major leagues on and off of the field.

The Baltimore Orioles could stick to the personnel that they have and build in prospects around them or, as expected, they’ll trade for as much value as they can get and then pump some veterans into the team. Keeping Adam Jones would be a wise decision as he can be the guide that the young players need while demonstrating the proper way to play baseball. But, it may be hard to convince others to come on worthy wages.

Baltimore is in a bad situation right now. The Orioles’ prospects don’t break into FanGraph’s top 131 and are said to have the ranked 17 farm system by Baseball America, per Sportsnet. To make matters worse, they’re in what is likely the toughest division in the MLB for the next decade or so.

Right now, the Boston Red Sox are laying waste to all who lay in their path while the New York Yankees aren’t far behind. Then there’s the rebuilding Toronto Blue Jays who boast a top-rated farm system and the young, upcoming Tampa Bay Rays. As of September 19, the Red Sox were favorites at 6/4 to win the World Series with Betway (they now lead the Fall Classic 2-0, of course) while the Yankees were just behind at 11/2. But it’s not just for this season; the Red Sox and Yankees will be at the top of the American League East for quite some time.

The only way for the Orioles to find better fortunes is to embrace a full, top-down rebuild in which valuable veterans continue to be traded and the club experiences some major realignments throughout the organization. More needs to be invested in scouting and analysis while the focus needs to change in the front office – likely by getting new staff members into the club.

In such a tough division, the team has time to change their direction and rebuild everything and try to make their way back up at a time when perhaps one or two of the divisional tyrants begins to slip. But, to do this, they’ll need to find and entrust the organization to someone new and capable of such a huge rebuild.

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The Warehouse Podcast Episode 27: The End of the Road

warehouse-pod-logo
The dumpster fire that was the 2018 season of the Baltimore Orioles is over, thankfully. It is a time for change in Charm City. Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette are out of a job. Peter Angelos seems to have officially handed the reigns of the club over to his sons. But most importantly, today we are adding a new member to the Eutaw Street Report family.
Do you find your morning commute dull? Does your work day drag on without something interesting to listen to? Are the local sports radio guys not talking enough baseball for your liking? Do you hate rhetorical questions? Well, then our latest addition may be just what you need.
May we introduce you to…The Warehouse Podcast!
The Warehouse Podcast is your weekly, one-hour dose of Orioles news. The show is hosted by three friends, Tyler, Marcus and Jesse, who love the O’s. These three grew up in an era where the team’s best players were Brian Roberts, Melvin Mora and Nick Markakis. They were born in the long winter of Baltimore baseball and maintained a weekly show through the worst season in club history. That’s dedication.
Check them out every week to get opinions, discussions and a few chuckles about this sorry team that we all love so much. Episodes will be posted here on ESR, but you can also subscribe or listen to the podcast on iTunes/Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanTuneIn and a few other places as well. If you are into social media, The Warehouse can be found on TwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube. Wherever you go, give them a five-star review or a “Like”. It helps out a ton! If you have comments or questions and would like to be featured on the show, reach out to TheWarehousePod@gmail.com.

Links:

Orioles GM candidates
http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/bs-sp-orioles-gm-candidates-20181004-story.html

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/phillies-rumors-manny-machado-bryce-harper-free-agency-andy-macphail.html

Orioles manager candidates
http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/bs-sp-orioles-possible-next-managers-20181003-story.html

Orioles interested in the Mesa brothers and Sandy Gaston
https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/east-notes-red-sox-wright-marlins-orioles.html

https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2018/10/international-notes-signings-mesas-gaston-os-marlins-dodgers-gutierrez.html

Could Cal Ripken rekindle a relationship with the O’s?
https://theathletic.com/568863/2018/10/04/after-years-of-speculation-this-is-finally-the-right-time-and-right-fit-for-cal-ripken-jr-to-rejoin-the-orioles/

Tyler’s post at Camden Chat about Mike Bordick as manager
https://www.camdenchat.com/2018/10/6/17944648/orioles-news-manager-search-rumors-prospects-scouting-reports-2018

Connect:

Website: https://medium.com/the-warehouse-podcast
Email: thewarehousepod@gmail.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheWarehousePod 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thewarehousepod/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheWarehousePod
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQCLpHQDrP2BeS9MoAS6zFw
Camden Depot: http://camdendepot.blogspot.com/

Tyler’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/_tyyoung
Tyler’s Instagram: https://instagram.com/_tyyoung

Jesse’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/Juggernaut8678
Jesse’s Instagram: https://instagram.com/juggernaut8678

Marcus’ Twitter: https://twitter.com/Warehousepod28
Marcus’ Instagram:  https://instagram.com/smoothlife28

Subscribe to us on iTunes/Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher and TuneIn

Music: “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men

Thanks for listening!

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