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Our 2018 BEVy Categories

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

The All-Star Break approaches. Though this season has seemed to go on forever, it’s somehow just over half finished. Ah, the joys of cheering for a (checks notes) 24-59 baseball team.

Jake & Scott over at Bird’s Eye View are soldiering on though, bringing us the SIXTH annual BEVy Awards show. We’re happy to do our small part here at ESR, so please vote on the categories below!

Our categories have been the same since 2013 – The Forgotten Man Award and the “Why Are You Breaking My Heart Like This, Just Let Me Love You!” Award.

Our previous winners:

Forgotten Man

Remember these guys? Probably not! That’s kinda the idea.

2013 – Alex Burnett

2014 – Ramon Ramirez

2015 – Cesar Cabral

2016 – Francisco Pena

2017 – David Washington

“Why Are You Breaking My Heart Like This, Just Let Me Love You!”

Some of these players have turned things around – either in the season they won the award or the one after. Others – looking at you, Chrises – have…not.

2013 – Jim Johnson

2014 – Chris Davis

2015 – Chris Tillman

2016 – Kevin Gausman

2017 – Manny Machado

We always name this year’s award after the previous winner. With that in mind, your nominees are…

 

David Washington Memorial Forgotten Man Award

In a year that’s gone off the rails as far as this one, there should be no dearth of eligible candidates for this award. However, the Birds have seemed to be a bit less DFA-happy than they were in recent years. Still, the following players fit the bill nicely.

Corban Joseph – Caleb’s little brother was called up on June 15, had a neat/gimmicky little historical footnote when he and Caleb became the only non-Ripken siblings to appear in the same game for the Birds, was optioned on June 20, DFA’d on June 29, and cleared waivers and was sent back to Bowie July 1.

Andrew Susac – Speaking of Caleb, as he wasn’t really getting it done, the O’s gave Andrew Susac a chance. He was called up on May 17, hit .115/.115/.154 in nine games, then was sent back down on June 2. Seems doubtful, barring injury, we’ll see him on the big club again.

Engelb Vielma – The utility infielder hit .143/.250/.143 in six games (just seven plate appearances), then was optioned on May 8. Two days later, he had a very unfortunate crash chasing a ball in Durham then was scheduled for surgery to repair a fractured kneecap sustained in the fall. Twitter isn’t sure if he ever had the surgery though…this is the last update:

Ominous…

Nestor Cortes – One of the Birds’ THREE Rule V picks on the Opening Day roster, Cortes pitched 4.2 innings out of the ‘pen, posting a 7.71 ERA (4 ER, 10 H) and looking quite overwhelmed before being DFA’d on April 10 and returned to the Yankees on April 13.

The Manny Machado “Why Are You Breaking My Heart Like This, Just Let Me Love You!” Award

Yup, Manny Machado actually won this award last year (remember his awful first half?), so it’s fitting that one of this season’s nominees is his bestie. This honor, remember, is for the player who is good (or who we think/hope is good, anyway – Chris Davis has won this award before, which doesn’t make him ineligible. Instead, he’s ineligible because we’ve given up all hope that he’s good any more), but who is having a dreadful first few months of the season. This year, the trouble was narrowing it down to just three or four. Good times.

Jonathan Schoop – What can you even say about Schoop? The 2017 MVO is following up his All-Star .293/.338/.503 32 HR/105 RBI 2017 campaign with a dreadful .202/.245/.350 effort so far, and just eight home runs. Not dope.

Trey Mancini – Boom Boom or Bust Bust? Trey put up 2.2 bWAR in 2017. So far this season? He’s at -1.2. He hasn’t looked the same at the dish since running into the wall at OPACY on April 20, and while his defense was passable last year, it’s been a bit rougher out in LF this season.

Alex Cobb – Ugh. The guy who was supposed to be the Birds’ missing piece, who would launch them into being a true wild-card contender instead looks like the second coming of Ubaldo Jimenez. At this rate, the Orioles will seriously never sign another free agent pitcher again. Cobb is just 2-10, but on this team we can’t really hold that against him. What we CAN hold against him is his 4.98 FIP, 12.0 H/9, and career-worst 6.1 K/9. Every time he looks to be turning the corner, he blows up the next time out.

Mychal Givens – “Untouchable” in trade talks a year ago, Givens has fallen back to earth in 2018. His FIP suggests some bad luck when compared to his ERA (2.89 vs. 4.81), but his career-high 4.8 BB/9 are getting him in trouble. Givens hasn’t been THAT awful, but he’s given up some runs on a team where a run or two is usually enough to result in a loss, as evidenced by his 0-6 record.

 

 

Thanks for voting! Be sure to tune into the BEVys over the All-Star break on BirdsEyeViewBaltimore.com.

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A Sinking Ship Named The Baltimore Orioles

A Sinking Ship Named The Baltimore Orioles

It’s been said regularly throughout the history of the great game of baseball, that regardless of what you do, you will win a third of your games and lose a third.

It’s what a team does with that other third that will make the difference between a successful season or a bad season.

Therefore, it stands to reason that the Orioles should at least finish with 54 wins.

Unfortunately for Buck Showalter & Co., the O’s are on pace to win just 46 games.

FORTY. SIX. GAMES.

And of course, that would mean 116 losses. The Orioles couldn’t make a bigger mess of 2018 if they tried. It’s just a sad, pathetic situation that frighteningly has no end in sight.

Let us review the depth of their ineptitude …

  • From September 1, 2017 through October 1, 2017 the Orioles were 6-21 (.222)
  • A team batting average of .227, an MLB worst
  • Ranked 29th (of 30) in runs scored and RBIs
  • Ranked 30th in on-base-percentage
  • Ranked 30th in defensive efficiency ratio
  • Ranked 28th in team ERA (4.82)
  • Ranked 30th in successful save opportunities
  • Ranked 30th with a WHIP of 1.49
  • Ranked 28th in batting average against

In summary, the Orioles can’t hit, can’t pitch and they can’t field.

That’s the mess on the field.

Off the field, it’s arguably worse.

Peter Angelos is said to be in failing health yet is reluctant to release the stranglehold he’s had on the team. Neither of his sons are capable of providing direction. The club is involved in a legal entanglement over MASN and the Washington Nationals that has them currently on icy terms with MLB and is the underlying reason why the All-Star Game has snubbed Baltimore, despite one of the most beautiful parks in the league.

There’s more …

Brady Anderson is rumored to be the primary influencer in “The Warehouse.” His resume suggests he should be anything but. Dan Duquette is a lame duck EVP of Baseball Operations. Buck Showalter, who according to a source, lost the team during their last playoff appearance when he opted to bring on Ubaldo Jimenez in relief instead of Zach Britton – he’s also a lame duck.

Showalter, a big proponent of the Chris Davis albatross contract, has essentially lost the team – one that is fundamentally bankrupt or doesn’t care enough about the game’s finer nuances that contribute to winning. Either way, the responsibility of the team’s cavalier approach to detail has to fall at least in part, at Showalter’s cleats. And the way he’s handled Manny Machado, who obviously is using the 2018 season as a campaign to riches, demanding a move to shortstop, is just flat-out embarrassing.

There’s STILL more …

The Orioles scouting staff is said to be among the thinnest in all of MLB and they’ve dedicated just two scouts to the burgeoning Latin American market. Comparatively speaking, a team that should be a benchmark in how to turn a floundering franchise around, the Houston Astros – they employ 15 such scouts. Instead of harvesting a talent crop that attracts the game’s best franchise, the Orioles pawn off their international positions for fringe prospects who regularly end up as minor league fodder.

Today, the big question surrounding the team is how they will leverage the MLB trade deadline to replenish their system with young, promising talent. Are they even capable of making good trades to provide hope for the future? Will the lame ducks Duquette and Showalter have any influence or will they rely upon the inexperienced Anderson to pull off a successful trade? And now that teams know that the Orioles need to be sellers, has that weakened their bargaining power?

How will fans respond if the Orioles are taken to the cleaners?

What will the fans say when players like Machado, Britton and Brad Brach don’t yield the talent crop that they could have produced a season ago when they were so much more valuable?

What if the Orioles do nothing?

Would it shock you?

Currently the Orioles are ranked 23rd in paid attendance with an average of 20,736 paying customers. Of course, that is NOT the turnstile count. Trust your eyeballs. Ask the concession vendors or Boog Powell.

What will the Orioles sell next season when Machado, Britton, Jones and Trumbo are all gone? Who could they attract in free agency? What worthy front office exec will willingly walk into that situation? And for that matter, what decent managerial prospect will want to deal with any of this mess when Showalter heads back to ESPN or MLB Network?

Seriously, could the Orioles possibly make this any worse? They’ve essentially created a blueprint for the demise of a franchise.

The good news for the Orioles, who have won just one of their last eight series, is that the schedule brings some reprieve with the Twins on tap next. The Twinkies have lost four straight series, themselves, to fall 13 games below .500.

The bad news for Baltimore is that they’ll be on the road, where they have an MLB-worst 12-31 record, and game-one starter Andrew Cashner has a career 1.013 opponent OPS against Twins batters. Even with rookie Aaron Slegers on the mound for the Twins, whose World Series odds have plummeted from 30/1 in May to 125/1 basically straight across the board. At least at most of these sports betting sites, the O’s will be sizable underdogs in not just game one, but the four-game series as a whole.

Shocker, right?

It’s a sad and disgusting situation for Orioles fans, rooting for a dysfunctional organization – a rudderless ship.

One that is sinking fast.

The Edmund Fitzgerald has got nothing on the SS Angelos.

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Taking Stock of the Farm System (Pre-Trades Edition)

Ryan Mountcastle prepares to field.

This Orioles franchise is a pivotal point, with a lame duck GM and an uncertain future. They don’t spend internationally, so they bank on nailing the draft each and every year. That’s not the best practice in my opinion – or anyone’s opinion for that matter.

In fact, Jim Palmer seems to agree.

I’m here today to talk the O’s farm system as it sits now, before the trades that will – hopefully – be made in July to improve the franchise’s outlook. So let’s go level by level to evaluate.

 

Triple-A Norfolk Tides

Cedric Mullins in the batter's box.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

Top 30 Prospects (according to mlb.com): Cedric Mullins #5, D.J. Stewart #10, Chris Lee #11, Yefry Ramirez (currently on Orioles) #15, Austin Wynns #20

Mullins is clearly the star of this group with the most tools overall. He has great speed and a tremendous outfield glove. Mullins could be Adam Jones’ replacement if the team chooses to go that route. Although he’s faced some struggles since being promoted to Triple-A, Mullins has rebounded nicely, hitting .393 in his last eight games. Mullins also has shown some pop with the ability to get on base (.338 OBP at Norfolk and .362 at Bowie). He should be up to the big-league club at some point this year.

The other outfielder to take note of on this roster is Stewart, the 1st-Round Pick from 2015. Stewart basically disappointed his first two professional years, but last year started to show some of that 1st Round promise. A 20-20 guy, Stewart began showing speed and power, with a .859 OPS. Since college, Stewart has amended his batting stance from an extreme crouch to a more upright stance, resulting in a fluid swinging motion. What I personally like about Stewart is his keen eye at the plate. Stewart can work counts, and once he gets on the base paths, has the ability to wreak havoc.

A few other notable names include: Chris Lee, Austin Wynns, Joely Rodriguez, Drew Dosch, Mike Yastrzemski, Jimmy Yacabonis, and John Means.

I like the squad as a whole, but there isn’t that one breakout prospect, or one with a super high ceiling.

Overall Grade: C+

 

Double-A Bowie Baysox

Austin Hays follows through on his swing.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

Top 30 Prospects (according to mlb.com): Ryan Mountcastle #1, Austin Hays #2, Hunter Harvey #3, Keegan Akin #6, Luis Gonzalez #21, Ademar Rifaela #22, Branden Kline #26, Ryan McKenna #27, Brian Gonzalez #28, Zach Muckenhirn #30

Bowie is clearly the most top-heavy team in the system with the Top 3 prospects in the organization. However, I’d like to focus on three prospects: Ryan Mountcastle, Keegan Akin, and Ryan McKenna.

Mountcastle has been highly touted since he was drafted as a 1st-Rounder. For the most part, he’s met expectations and is off to a great start with the Baysox. His hit tool is unquestionably his best, but he’s also shown power. Mountcastle hit 18 bombs last year, and seven so far on the 2018 campaign. Mountcastle’s biggest issue is his defense and specifically his arm. Currently at third, Mountcastle may have to be moved around the infield until he finds a suitable defensive position.

Keegan Akin, the highest quality arm on the team (until Hunter Harvey can prove that he can stay healthy), was the afterthought of the 2016 Orioles Draft Class. 1st Round Pick Cody Sedlock has yet to show he can get out hitters consistently, but Akin has done just that. What’s most encouraging is that hitters hit under the Mendoza line against Akin. In college, Akin set Western Michigan’s single-season strikeout record as he impressed scouts as a junior. Akin’s fastball sits 91-94, but along with a wipeout slider and changeup, he could continue to move through the ranks and conceivably be a serviceable big-league starter.

Ryan McKenna was the Orioles Player of the Month for June. McKenna’s breakout season is here after being drafted in the 4th Round of 2015. McKenna hit .337/.467/.556 at Frederick (that’s a 1.023 OPS, folks) before being moved up to Double-A. Scouts give McKenna a 60 speed on the 20-80 scale, and as most cold-weather players do (drafted out of New Hampshire) McKenna may have just needed some time to develop.

Some other Baysox noteworthy players: Austin Hays is underperforming this year, and has been hurt for the majority of the season. Luiz Gonzalez has quietly been one of the best Orioles minor league relievers. O’s Rule-5 pick Anthony Santander continues his development.

This Baysox team is really good and probably their best since 2015. They have a pretty decent balance of pitching and offense and we could see a few of these players on the Orioles this year or next.

Overall Grade: B+

 

Single-A Frederick Keys

Top 30 Prospects (according to mlb.com): Alex Wells #8, Cody Sedlock #9, Michael Baumann #12, Zac Lowther #14, Jomar Reyes #17, Matthias Dietz #24, Randolph Gassaway #25, Preston Palmeiro #29

Pitching, pitching, pitching. Frederick has a few names Orioles fans may want know, in Alex Wells, Michael Baumann, and Zac Lowther. Wells was awarded Orioles Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors in 2017 and both Baumann and Lowther have established that they can dominate the lower levels of the minors. Wells was known last year for his masterful control, but this year has been a slightly different story. He has issued 24 walks in 80 innings, which isn’t horrendous, but coupled with 93 hits and a .292 batting average against, he is definitely experiencing a sophomore slumps of sorts. The changeup is his best pitch, with his fastball only topping out at about 90.

The O’s went with a University of Jacksonville player in the 3rd Round in consecutive drafts in 2016 and 2017, and the latter was Michael Baumann. Baumann is said to have a durable frame with a fastball that has touched 97. Meeting just a few struggles since he’s hit High-A ball, Baumann should be just fine moving forward.

Zac Lowther may be the prospect that intrigues me most. Lowther has had strikingly similar numbers moving from Delmarva to Frederick. However, at Delmarva, Lowther held a 14.8 K/9, and at Frederick the strikeout numbers aren’t quite as dominant (8.4). Lowther, though, was a college pitcher and has a chance to not only move up the Orioles prospect rankings, but has a good chance to move through the system fairly quickly if he continues this dominance.

Frederick has some promise on the pitching side, but their offensive prospects aren’t near the cream of the crop of the organization.

Overall Grade: B-

 

Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds

Top 30 Prospects (according to mlb.com): DL Hall #4, Brenan Hanifee #7, Cameron Bishop #13, Mason McCoy #23, *Cadyn Greiner NR

Even more pitching….Delmarva has last year’s 1st Rounder DL Hall, who has impressed so far and other pitchers Brenan Hanifee and Cameron Bishop. Recent College World Series champion and elite defensive shortstop Cadyn Greiner will report directly to Delmarva, forgoing both the GCL and Aberdeen. The Shorebirds recently graduated Dietz, Baumann, Zac Lowther, or they would have gotten my first A grade.

The Shorebirds also have a few other notable names: Kirvin Moesquit, Ryan Ripken, and Zach Jarrett (son of NASCAR’s Dale). This squad is also coached by Zach Britton’s brother, Buck. Overall, this team has promise and reinforcements coming from this year’s draft.

Overall Grade: B-

 

Single-A Aberdeen Ironbirds

Top 30 Prospects (according to mlb.com): Adam Hall #16, Gray Fenter #19

ITCHY XU IS ON THIS TEAM! My apologies for my excitement, but I root for guys like him. Not too many names of note on this team besides those Top 30 prospects in Hall and Fenter. I fully expect 2018 1st Round Pick Grayson Rodriguez to be there in a couple of weeks, but not quite yet. Blaine Knight, their 3rd Rounder, may be there too once he signs. But as of right now, not a wealth of talent.

Overall Grade: D

 

GCL Orioles

Top 30 Prospects (according to mlb.com): Lamar Sparks #18, *Grayson Rodriguez NR

The GCL is the rookie ball affiliate, used for young players just drafted and for others requiring more development. O’s 1st Round Pick Grayson Rodriguez is on this team along with draft picks Drew Rom and Yeancarlos Lleras. Dariel Alvarez is rehabbing there as a pitcher…remember him?

Overall Grade: C (considering the talent level for Rookie Ball)

 

In general, I actually like the Orioles system more than the industry consensus. With that being said, I would not consider it even a Top 15 system. As the July trades trickle in, and if the Orioles decide to go full rebuild, that may change. The Orioles actually have a good amount of young arms, and like they say, “Have 10 good pitching prospects, produce two.” In Duquette….we trust?

*Neither Cadyn Greiner nor Grayson Rodriguez are ranked, but when the prospect rankings are updated, I fully expect them to be in the Orioles Top 30

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Tuesday’s O’s Links: Undefeated in July!

Manny Machado in front of sign at spring training 2015.

(That’s one of my favorite pictures of Manny Machado, via our awesome photographer Craig Landefeld. It’s old, but I don’t know how many more chances I’ll get to use it. So enjoy it with me one last time.)

It’s July 3, and the Orioles haven’t lost a game yet this month. They’ve only played one, sure, but we’ll take literally any tiny victory we can get these days.

The international signing period began yesterday, and you won’t believe this, but…the Orioles are the only eligible* team that has yet to sign a single international prospect.

(* – the Braves aren’t allowed to.)

You can do the same at this link.

Will Orioles Invest More in International Market?

Let’s start there, shall we? Here’s the money quote from the above article, written by The Sun’s Eddie Encina: “The decision to pass on investing in the international market, specifically the robust Latin American market, has been a long-established decree from managing partner Peter G. Angelos, a decision made because past investments internationally didn’t bear fruit.”

Please remember that as you break out the pitchforks for Dan Duquette over the lack of international spending.

The July 2018 Panic Index

Guess who’s the only team under “Level 5: A Potential Historic Embarassement?”

#Birdland

Pace of Manny Trade Talks Accelerates

This piece, from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, is behind a paywall. However, you can read the first few paragraphs for a glimpse into the continuing dysfunction of the Baltimore Orioles.

To whit:

“A team that reaches a tentative agreement with Dan Duquette…might be at only step one of the process. One industry person familiar with the Orioles’ operation says any club negotiating with Duquette will also need to be in contact with Brady Anderson…”

This is the Team That Should Get Machado

Mike Petriello of MLB.com says that the Arizona Diamondbacks should go all in and get Manny. That is, of course, if they can navigate the obstacle course that getting a deal done with the Orioles entails.

Kevin Gausman is Doing Second-Half Things in the First Half

Here’s let’s try to end on somewhat of a high note. Kevin Gausman has been his second-half self in the first half this season. That’s a good thing! Matt Kremnitzer of Camden Depot explains how Gausman has seemingly especially picked things up since altering his windup in May.

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O’s Salvage Game Against Angels

On a blistering Sunday afternoon, the Baltimore Orioles’ bats were just as hot and snapped a seven-game losing streak with an 8-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Mark Trumbo powered the offense, hitting two of the team’s four home runs. Manny Machado and Trey Mancini also homered for the Orioles, who won for just the second time in 19 games at Camden Yards.

Kevin Gausman continued to build on his last four outings where he had allowed 8 earned runs in 24.1 IP (2.96 ERA) to drop his season ERA to 4.20. He was stellar against the Angels, allowing two runs and six hits with two strikeouts and no walks over eight innings. Gausman threw 73 of 104 pitches for strikes in a dominating performance.

The Orioles knocked around former first round pick Deck McGuire, who was making his first start of the season in his seventh game (third with Angels), and just the third big league start of his career. McGuire allowed five runs and five hits with four strikeouts and two walks over just 3 1/3 innings.

McGuire found some success in the Cincinnati Red’s minor league system in 2017, going 9-9 with a 2.79 ERA in 28 appearances (27 starts). That success led the McGuire’s Major League debut, after which he put up solid numbers for the Reds, albeit a small sample size, going 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA in six games (two starts) covering 13.2 IP.

McGuire was granted free agency in the offseason and spent time in the organizations of both Texas and Toronto before catching on with the Angels in June.

The Angels started quickly against Gausman when Kole Calhoun led off the game with a double down the right field line. After Mike Trout popped to short, Calhoun advanced to third on a fly ball to centerfield off the bat of Justin Upton before scoring on a two-out single by Albert Pujols.

Gausman then settled down, throwing just seven pitches to get through the second inning.

The Orioles’ offense was quiet until the fourth inning. Adam Jones led the inning off with an infield single after Kinsler lost a pop-up in the sun. Machado then hit a 398-foot missile into the stands to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead.

Trumbo followed Machado to the plate and promptly homered to right, barely clearing the out-of-town scoreboard in the process after the ball caromed off the railing on top of the wall. McGuire, visibly shaken after allowing back-to-back home runs, fell behind Chris Davis 3-0 before Davis got the green light on a 94 MPH fastball and doubled off the wall in right.

After a wild pitch moved Davis over the third, Chance Sisco walked and Mike Scioscia came out of the dugout to make a pitching change in favor of Hansel Robles, who then allowed an RBI double to Steve Wilkerson and an two-run single to Tim Beckham. Adam Jones, the inning’s tenth batter, struck out to end the frame, but not before six runs had crossed to leave the Orioles with a 6-1 lead.

Gausman’s efficiency continued in the fifth inning as the righty needed just nine pitches to retire the Angels offense in order. Machado led off the bottom half of the inning with a ground ball into the five-hole that shortstop Simmons made a fine backhanded play and throw on to retire Machado by half a step.

Then the fireworks started back up.

Trumbo got ahead in the count 3-1 and then dropped an absolute bomb to left-centerfield for his second home run of the game, this one traveling an estimated 444 feet. Davis followed with a deep fly out to left which Upton caught up against the fence before Mancini hit his 11th home run of the season into left-center that provided an 8-1 margin.
Gausman allowed a two-out home run to Calhoun in the top of the 8th inning before striking out Mike Trout to end the inning.

Miguel Castro closed out the ninth and the Orioles salvages what otherwise would have been a winless home stand. The team starts a brief two-game series in Philadelphia on Monday before heading to Minnesota for a four-game series.

The Birds return home on July 9 to begin an eight-game home stand with a doubleheader against the Yankees that will take them into the All-Star break.

Game Notes
— INF Corbin Joseph cleared waivers and was outrighted to Double-A Bowie prior to the game.

— Machado’s and Trumbo’s back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning marked the fifth such occurrence on the season for the Orioles, and the first since Trumbo and Danny Valencia did it on June 17.

— When Trumbo homered in the fifth inning, it marked his 13 th career multi-homer game, and his first this season.

— The Oriole scored six runs in the fourth inning after scoring five runs in their previous three games. As MASN’s Steve Melewski noted on Twitter, the Orioles had scored six runs in a game just five times the previous 32 games.

–After going winless against the American League in June and 0-for-the-season against the AL West, the Orioles picked up a win in both categories on July 1.

— Paid Attendance: 18,351

— Time of Game: 2:29

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The O’s Woes Won’t Get Me Down

Trey Mancini catches a ball at first base.

The Orioles got swept by the Seattle Mariners. Their 4-2 loss on Thursday is their 57th to-date, and the Os have secured themselves a nice cozy spot at the very bottom of the well that is the AL East. Buck and the crew are laying at the bottom, looking up. But the well is so deep that they don’t even see a ring of light at the top, and there is no Lassie to alert rescuers of their plight.

 

A Disappointing Season

To say that the Orioles’ 2018 campaign has been disappointing is an understatement. I had high hopes for Baltimore this season. Not to win the pennant, but to fight for a playoff spot; to be in the mix. At this point in the season, it is safe to say that they might be the most disappointing team in the league.

And news abounds on Adam Jones potentially leaving. Manny Machado is on the trading block as well. Zach Britton could go, but his stock is plummeting, so how much can we get? Then, to keep in mind with all of this is that there is a silver lining. From here, especially if the Os have a Marlins-like fire-sale, the only place to go is up.

 

So What Can We Do?

For starters, Chris Davis needs to pull out of his slump. The Orioles organization is so heavily invested in him that they can’t just throw him out. How does this happen? The squad was projected to have one of the most powerful hitting seasons in history, yet we’ve only managed 94 ding-dongs. Is it Scott Coolbaugh’s fault? Do we fire him? I mean, it isn’t just Chris Davis who isn’t producing; it’s the entire team. We are at the bottom of the league in just about every offensive category that you don’t want to be bottom in.

Do we continue to pull our hair out at what seems to be poor management decisions? No, we turn lemons into lemonade and have a little fun … especially now that it is sweltering hot.

 

A Little Bit of Fun

When we check top sites like Heritage Sports, we see that the Os are +500,000 to win the AL. Ok, so that is 5000 to 1 and totally worth a 1 dollar bet that would pay you $5000 if the Orioles just happened to have the most glorious comeback in sports history.

And if the Orioles’ Slide continues, we can make a little bit of money at their expense. If we are going to be bummed out about our team, we might as well make a few bucks in the meantime. For example, the Angles are -140 to win the weekend series against the Orioles. Those are surprisingly good odds, considering the Orioles have not beaten an AL team in how long … over a month?

We can also make the Orioles games more interesting by picking Run Line spots to spice things up. Like, on Wednesday. The Orioles put forth a valiant 8-7 effort against the Mariners. If we had taken the Orioles on the Run Line, which is to keep the game within 1.5 runs, the Orioles would have been winners in our eyes on that day.

We’ll have plenty more to worry about during the trade deadline and the offseason, so for now, let’s just do whatever we can to make this bearable. And not let the Os’ woes get us down.

 

submitted by Juan Andrade

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I Don’t “Like Our Guys” Anymore

I have a T-shirt. It was a freebie that I picked up on arrival at Camden Yards. Many of you probably have it as well.

It says, “We Like Our Guys”. You know what? I don’t anymore, no matter the insistence of The Warehouse. Let’s break it down.

Chris Davis – The worst player in MLB

Jonathan Schoop – Amazingly almost as bad as Chris Davis. He’s really bad.

Manny Machado – Awesome but his value is completely tied up in what he can bring back in a trade. If the dysfunctional Front Office can figure that out. Otherwise he’s just leaving in free agency for nothing. I’m getting pissed off now.

Third base – Now I’m going to start getting really angry.

Corner OF – Trumbo? Mancini? I mean you know the Orioles are starting two DH’s who are not really good hitters at the corner OF spots? Right?

CF – Adam Jones has been a great representative of the team and the city. He isn’t a center fielder anymore. He’s still a productive major leaguer (though he’s having quite a power outage recently). He is playing hard. He’s trying. But here we are.

C – Yeah. A disaster.

SP – Dylan Bundy is actually good. Kevin Gausman? He could be good. Otherwise it’s a tire fire.

RP – Here’s the thing. Other than the freaks, relief pitchers have a short shelf life and the Orioles have sat too long on their assets.

It’s going to be a long cold lonely winter. The Orioles have no leadership and no assets. They are 23-57 which is historically bad.

A few months ago, I said that it’s really hard to only win 60 games.

Now I’m wondering how the Orioles even get to that level.

I don’t like our guys. Not one bit.

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Series Preview: Orioles (23-57) vs Angels (41-41)


sunset view of oriole park at camden yards

After getting swept by the Mariners for the first time in a four-game series, the Orioles will conclude their home stand by hosting the Angels for a three-game set over the weekend.

The Orioles (23-57) are trying to snap another five-game losing streak in tonight’s series opener. It’s the seventh time they’ve lost five in a row during the first half of 2018. With a 6-18 record during the month of June, the O’s will also be looking to avoid their second 20-loss month.

The Angels (41-41) come into town on a six-game losing streak after getting swept by the Red Sox at Fenway. As a result, Los Angeles will be looking to get their season back on track after hitting a lengthy rough patch. They’ve gone just 4-13 over their last 17 ball games and find themselves 10 games out of the wild card picture.

David Hess (2-4, 5.44 ERA) will take on Felix Pena (0-0, 5.40 ERA) in tonight’s series opener.

Hess took the loss after allowing five runs on seven hits over just four innings in his last start against the Braves, and he will be looking to find his rhythm against the Halos. He’s allowed 15 runs over his last 12 innings pitched and owns an 8.00 ERA through four starts in June.

Pena did not get a decision in his last start against Toronto after allowing three runs on eight hits over five innings. The former Cubs prospect will be looking for his first win of the season in just his third start on the year against the Orioles. Pena was thrust into the rotation after Garrett Richards went on the DL with a hamstring injury.

Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.70 ERA) will match-up against Tyler Skaggs (6-5, 2.69 ERA) on Saturday.

Cashner pitched well enough to win yet again after allowing three runs on four hits over six innings against the Mariners, but took the no-decision in the Orioles eventual loss. Cashner owns an impressive 3.68 ERA over 22 innings combined through his four starts in June, but doesn’t have a win to show for it.

Skaggs took a tough-luck loss during his last outing in Kansas City after allowing just a single run over seven innings, but will look to stay in red-hot form at Camden Yards. Over his last seven starts, he’s gone 3-3 with an outstanding 2.30 ERA over 43 innings. Through four starts in June, he’s went 3-1 with a microscopic 0.67 ERA over 27 innings combined.

Kevin Gausman (3-6, 4.20 ERA) will go up against Deck McGuire (0-0, 6.08 ERA) in Sunday’s series finale.

Gausman took the no-decision despite allowing just one run over six innings in his last start against the Mariners, and has been steadily returning to form. He’s posted a sparkling 2.96 ERA over 24 1/3 innings combined during his last four outings, but doesn’t have a win to show for all of his hard work.

Acquired on June 19 from the Rangers, McGuire will be making his first start as an Angel on Sunday. The former Blue Jays prospect allowed three runs over four innings during his last appearance as a reliever in Boston on June 26, and will be hoping for a better result against the Orioles.

That’s it for now, folks!

Here’s to ending the losing streak.

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Thursday’s O’s Links: The O’s Haven’t Beaten An AL Team in a Month

Zach Britton gets up after making a tag on the first base line, as Chris Davis Watches.

I dunno, guys. I keep saying there’s no bottom, and the Orioles just keep proving me right. Did you know that they have now lost 14 straight games against American League teams, and haven’t beaten an AL team since May 25, over a calendar month ago? Seems impossible right? I assure you, it’s not…not for these Birds.

These Birds, who have now managed to surpass even the 1988 Orioles in ineptitude!

To some depressing links, I suppose…

Meet Chris Davis 2.0, Same as the Old Chris Davis

Chris Davis was good in his first game back from his benching, walking and hitting a home run. The next game, he hit a bases-loaded double. After that, he was awful again. But last night, he hit the go-ahead three-run home run onto Eutaw Street in the bottom of the eighth inning. It was awesome!

Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to have ANY FUN this season, so Zach Britton got exactly zero outs before the Mariners tied the game in the ninth with a homer of their own.

Davis & Britton Storylines Combined, and the Negative Won Out

Dan Connolly has more on those three minutes of ecstasy and misery that transpired between the eighth and ninth innings at OPACY last night.

Bird’s Eye View Episode 243: Anger Translator

Last week, Scott was out. This week, Jake is sittin’ on a sack of beans, sittin’ down in the New Orleans, so @Gwodzilla joined Scott to wallow in misery.

Dodgers Favorites to Acquire Manny Machado

Bob Nightengale says the Los Angeles Dodgers are the frontrunners for Manny Machado. Perhaps the Anaheim Angels will enter the bidding, as Zach Cozart just hit the DL for an extended period. The guess here is that Pete wants Manny representing the Birds at the All-Star Game, so nothing will happen until at least then, if not longer.

The Orioles Stink, but There Are Still Reasons to Go to Camden Yards

I’ll take “Darkest Timeline Headlines for 500, Alex.”

 

Maybe the Orioles won’t get swept again (they will)?

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Bullpen Arms Lead Tides to Four-Game Sweep of Stripers

A trio of pitchers who normally pitch out of the Tides bullpen combined for 12 strong innings during a four-game series against the Gwinnett Stripers, helping Norfolk kick off what could be the most important homestand of the year by sweeping all four games. Pedro Alvarez had five RBIs in three games, including a walk-off two run double in the tenth inning of the series finale.

TIDES SEASON TO DATE

The Tides (40-35, 2nd in the IL South through Wednesday) returned home on Monday after stumbling their way through a six-game road trip with a record of 1-5. On Wednesday morning, three Tides – outfielder D.J. Stewart, third baseman Drew Dosch, and pitcher Jimmy Yacabonis – were selected for July 11th’s AAA All-Star Game in Columbus, OH.

The four-game set against the Stripers began a grueling homestand in which Norfolk will play ten games over nine days, including four against the division-leading Durham Bulls.

 

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: GWINNETT STRIPERS

MLB Affiliate: Atlanta Braves

Record: 34-43, 4th place in the IL South

Top 30 Prospects: LHP Luiz Gohara (No. 4), LHP Kolby Allard (6), LHP Max Fried (8), OF Dustin Peterson (15)

TOP TIDES PLAYERS OF THE SERIES

Pitchers Matt Wotherspoon, Joely Rodriguez, and Reid Love: 12.0 IP, 2 R, 13 K, 2 BB

Wotherspoon, Rodriguez, and Love each threw four innings and allowed a total of two runs while striking out thirteen Stripers hitters. Wotherspoon and Rodriguez started the second and third games of the series, respectively, – even though both traditionally pitch out of Norfolk’s bullpen. Love, a 26-year-old lefty, recorded the win on Tuesday night in relief after being called up to AAA for the first time in his career.

INDIVIDUAL GAME RECAPS

Tides 4, Gwinnett 1 (7 innings, game 1 of a doubleheader)

Asher Wojciechowski battled through five innings – allowing baserunners in each frame but managing to hold the Stripers to just one run – as the Tides took game one of Monday’s doubleheader by a 4-1 score.

The Norfolk offense played small ball to push across the first run of the evening in the bottom of the third. Adrian Marin doubled to lead off the inning, slapping a ground ball down the third base line and into left field. Cedric Mullins then dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move him to third and Steve Wilkerson lifted a sacrifice fly to plate Marin.

Gwinnett tied the game in the top of the fourth when former mega-prospect Ronald Acuna (playing with the Stripers as part of his major-league rehab assignment) lined a two-out RBI single to left field. He has been sidelined from the major leagues since May 27 with a sprained ACL.

The Tides retook the lead in the bottom half of the inning after Joey Rickard’s one-out single sparked a rally. Garabez Rosa followed Rickard with a line drive double to put runners at second and third and Andrew Susac walked to load the bases. The next hitter, Ruben Tejada, hit a chopper back to the mound that pitcher Miguel Socolovich couldn’t handle, allowing Rickard to score.

A bases-loaded walk from Mullins and another sacrifice fly by Wilkerson added two important insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth, pushing the score to 4-1.

Ryan Meisenger pitched a scoreless sixth inning in relief of Wojciechowski and Jhan Marinez worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh for his ninth save.

Tides 7, Gwinnett 4 (7 innings, game 2 of a doubleheader)

A terrific start by Matt Wotherspoon and three first-inning runs helped propel the Tides to a doubleheader sweep on Monday night.

Mullins singled to left field to open the bottom of the first and eventually came around to score the game’s first run on a passed ball. Drew Dosch followed with a two-run double to give the Tides an early 3-0 lead.

The Tides added another run to their lead in the second inning after yet another sacrifice fly from Wilkerson and made it a 5-0 game in the fourth-inning on a home run by D.J. Stewart.

Wotherspoon, making just his third start of the season, struck out seven hitters and yielded one hit in four scoreless innings.

Andrew Faulkner threw a scoreless fifth inning in relief but ran into trouble in the sixth, allowing the first four hitters of the inning to reach while walking in a run. Paul Fry entered the game with the bases loaded and no outs and would surrender three runs, all credited to Faulkner, before tight roping out of danger with a one-run lead.

Interestingly, Gwinnett summoned catcher Rob Brantly to pitch the sixth inning with the score still 5-4 Tides. Brantley gave up two runs on RBI hits from Alvarez and Chance Sisco while throwing the majority of his pitches within the 55-60 mph range.

Lefty D.J. Snelten tossed a scoreless seventh to seal the win for Norfolk.

Tides 3, Gwinnett 2

For the second straight game, the Tides received a strong pitching performance from a spot starter and used it to squeak past Gwinnett by a 3-2 score on Tuesday night.

Joely Rodriguez – making his first start since 2015 on account of the Orioles’ promotion of the evening’s scheduled starter, Jimmy Yacabonis – tossed four innings of one run ball.

Wilkerson blasted a solo home run into the bullpen in right field in the bottom of the first to give the Tides a 1-0 lead.

Rodriguez allowed just one hit through the first three innings, but got into trouble in the top of the fourth after Rio Ruiz floated a bloop single into left field to score Michael Reed, who had doubled to lead off the inning. He finished the fourth inning having struck out three while walking none.

Reed came back to haunt the Tides again in the sixth when he lifted a fastball from newly-promoted lefty Reid Love that barely cleared the right field wall for a home run. Love managed to escape the inning without any further damage.

Wilkerson led off the bottom half of the sixth with a double and Stewart followed with a walk. With two outs, Alvarez hit a fly ball to right field that Gwinnett’s Dustin Peterson appeared to lose in the lights (though it was scored a double). Alvarez’s hit plated both Wilkerson and Stewart and allowed the Tides to retake the lead.

Love remained on to pitch the seventh and eighth innings and retired all six hitters he faced. He finished his AAA debut having thrown four innings out of the bullpen while striking out three and allowing only one run en route to earning the win. Meisenger pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save of the season.

Pedro Alvarez in the batter's box.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

Tides 6, Gwinnett 5 (10 innings)

Alvarez emerged as the hero of the series finale by belting a walk-off, two-run double with two outs in the tenth inning as the Tides swept Gwinnett on Wednesday afternoon.

Means retired the first six batters he faced in order, but the Stripers offense used four hits in the third inning to take a 3-0 lead. The Tides answered immediately in the bottom half of the third, using a pair of doubles by Ruben Tejada and Mullins as well as a seeing-eye single from Rickard to close the deficit to 3-2.

Means and Gwinnett’s Michael Mader each put up zeroes on the mound in the fourth and fifth innings before Alvarez lined a base hit to right field in the bottom of the sixth to score Mullins and tie the game at 3.

The game remained tied until the tenth inning, when the Stripers scored twice off Tides reliever D.J. Snelten on a walk and a wild pitch. Not to be outdone, however, the Tides’ Adrian Marin doubled home Renato Nunez to begin the inning (thanks to the new MiLB rule that starts every extra inning with a runner at second base). After Mullins and Rickard were retired, things began to look bleak with two outs and Marin, the would-be tying run, still stranded on second base.

A walk by Stewart extended the inning for Pedro Alvarez, who then smashed a line drive to center field for a double that scored both Marin and Stewart and somehow sent the Tides home with a wild 6-5 victory, a series sweep, and the club’s fourth straight win.

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Thursday Thoughts: Buck Showalter On the Way Out of the Dugout?

This is a weekly column that dives into some random thoughts about the Orioles/MLB. I used to do eight as a nod to Cal Ripken Jr. As of last year, I cut it down to four or five, so consider it the Earl Weaver/€“Brooks Robinson era of Thursday Thoughts. – A.S.

1. When I woke up this past Sunday morning and heard about a weekend column by The Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck, my eyes glazed over. Schmuck took to writing about rumors that the Orioles could be relocated, and it made me very skeptical at first.

Let’s be clear that there is no validity to these rumors, and Schmuck does a good job of dispelling them throughout the piece. But anytime you talk about a team moving in the city of Baltimore, ears perk up. The largest issue surrounding these rumors, and I hesitate even giving them the validity to call them that, remains the ongoing MASN dispute with the Washington Nationals. No one knows how that is going to turn out. But if it turns out poorly for the Orioles, it really would reshape how the franchise looks and operates.

Many want to blame the Orioles for being cheap despite raking in a ton of money through their network, but the franchise has been far from frugal in recent years. This season, they rank 14th in MLB payroll and just over $5-million above the league average. While that’s down from the past few years, the O’s were up in the top-ten in spending just last season. They haven’t been cheap, they’ve just spent their money poorly.

The other slightly eyebrow-raising factor in all of this is the team’s lease at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which is up in a few years. The city is going to do everything it needs to keep the team in one of the most pristine ballparks in the game. But how long that next lease runs for will be something I pay attention to. Fans will probably want to hear something from Peter Angelos’ sons about these rumors, but that likely isn’t coming soon.

Schmuck’s piece cited a “no comment” from ownership, so right now, that’s all we have to go on.

2. Elsewhere on the non-Manny Machado rumor mill, we have managerial candidates galore. Remember that Buck Showalter is still in place as the O’s skipper, but there are still plenty of names being thrown out there as potential replacements. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports this week threw out a few names that got fans all twisted. The one that seems to have generated the most fervor is Bill Ripken. Heyman shot down the notion of Ripken leaving MLB Network to take the job, and also shut down speculation around Rick Dempsey and Mike Bordick as well. In fact, Bordick himself shot down the rumors in an interview with Glenn Clark Radio earlier this week.

I think one thing is pretty safe to say – Showalter is sticking around for now. If the Orioles are going to make a change in the dugout, or in the front office for that matter, they are going to wait until the offseason. That gives them a much wider pool of potential replacements to choose from. Fans will be uncomfortable with Dan Duquette being in charge of the front office leading up to the trade deadline in about a month, but truthfully Brady Anderson is going to be heavily involved there. In fact, in a separate interview with Pressbox’s Clark, Heyman noted that he wouldn’t rule out one of Showalter or Duquette coming back but it would be “up to Brady and the (Angelos) brothers.”

That’s very telling to me as to how much of an influence Anderson has, and how much he’ll have going forward. When it comes to Ripken, I don’t really know what to make of speculation that he could be in the mix. We’ve also heard rumors in the past that Showalter wants more of a front office role, so perhaps a Ripken/Showalter duo could work in some way.

Regardless, I don’t see any of this being resolved for a few months. Until then, it’s just a matter of getting through the trade deadline and getting as much return as possible on current assets.

3. Dylan Bundy is on the disabled list because of a sprained ankle he suffered running the bases last weekend in Atlanta. That’s right, running the bases in an interleague game. Buck Showalter isn’t happy about it, and I can’t imagine anyone wishing to watch Bundy pitch this week is either. In the long run, this doesn’t seem to be a big deal. Bundy is expected back next week at some point, missing only one start or so.

But make no mistake that the designated hitter is going to plow its way into the National League soon. In fact, ESPN’s Buster Olney said this week he believes it’ll happen within the next 3-5 years. Growing up watching the Orioles, I am obviously more keen to the idea of the DH. But I also like the strategy of the NL game. The double switch, pinch hitting, and even bunting in the right situation is and has always been part of the game. I don’t mind it. It evokes more strategy and even gets the ball put in play a bit more in this day and age of the three true outcomes.

But it’s also completely silly that MLB has two different leagues that play by two different sets of rules. Can you imagine if in the NFL, teams in the AFC got three points for a field goal while teams in the NFC only got two? Or if the rim was at a different height in the NBA’s Western Conference compared to the Eastern Conference? These examples may seem a bit extreme to some, but it really is a different game with a different set of rules.

Interleague play has been going on since 1997, and frankly, the idea of a pitcher hitting should’ve died at the same time. This isn’t even about Bundy, either. He wants to continue hitting in NL parks, and honestly he’ll have to until this rule is changed.

My best guess is that once MLB expands to 32 teams (another thing that is coming in the near future), they’ll adopt a universal DH as well. It’s time for the game to get a little more universal.

4. I feel like it has to be a part of one of these columns each year, so let’s do it here. Heck, it’ll probably be the last time I have to do it. Manny Machado isn’t a good baserunner, and that’s okay. Machado dogged it on Tuesday night on a double-play groundout, and eventually apologized for it. He got a wrist slap of a tongue-lashing in the media from his manager, and that’s that.

I’ve heard everything under the sun about Machado’s baserunning. I’ve actually had people tell me that they are happy he won’t be with the Orioles much longer because of it. They say they wouldn’t pay him a lot of money in a long-term contract because of it. Folks tell me it’s plays like the one Machado made (or didn’t make) the other night that is the reason the Orioles are so awful.

All of those folks are insane and should be checked on immediately.

Machado can be a great player and not a great baserunner. It’s possible. Whenever Machado departs (and if “USA Today’s” Bob Nightengale is right, it looks like that may be to the Dodgers, some Orioles fans are sure to boo him whenever he makes his way back to Baltimore. It’s the same thing they did when Mike Mussina left for a big contract with the Yankees. It’s all foolish.

People who think Machado won’t be a huge loss for the O’s are forgetting that this 23-56 team would likely have half that number of wins without him.

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Gary Thorne: Orioles “are Within Shi***ng Distance”

Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer in the O's booth, Gary wearing a mother's day giveaway hat.

Orioles fans have grown to love Gary Thorne and all his goofy exclamations in the broadcast booth (most of us, anyway – I still come across the random fan here or there who despises Gary). There’s even a Twitter account in his honor, @DrunkGaryThorne.

In Monday night’s loss to the Seattle Mariners, Gary may have finally reached his zenith. He was, I assume, trying to say that the Orioles were within striking distance of Seattle headed to the bottom of the ninth inning. (Shocker: they did not strike).

He, instead, said something else.

Behold (don’t play this if you’re around someone you don’t want to hear a curse word):

The Orioles, seemingly, have been within shitting distance all season long, no?

Never change, Gary.

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Let’s Change – and Hopefully Fix! – the Orioles, Starting Now

Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore

Last week in this space, we talked about how one of the biggest frustrations for Orioles fans is the lack of transparency within the organization and an unwillingness–to this point–to make any changes to a ballclub that finds itself with the worst record in baseball at 23-54.

[Related: The Worst Part of All This? O’s Seem Fine with Status Quo]

On a regular basis, the Orioles trot out failing hitters and faltering pitchers as the team descends below mediocrity into what can only be described as a laughing stock.

In the offseason, the team addressed its biggest weakness by signing Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner (or Yovanni Gallardo 2.0). Yes, the moves needed to be made and the starting rotation was the weakest link on a last place ballclub in 2017.

What we didn’t expect was for the offense to be as bad as it has been in 2018.

After a sizzling August where the Orioles averaged 6.03 runs per game, the club stumbled in September, averaging just 2.96 R/GM in the season’s final month (if you count a 6-0 loss on October 1st to end the season), a stretch that saw the team go 7-21 and fall out of playoff contention.

The thinking upon signing Cobb and Cashner was that with a now formidable rotation, the offense would have some of the pressure taken off to do what it does best: slug opponents into submission.

Unfortunately for all of Baltimore, that hasn’t happened. Through 77 games, the offense is averaging 3.68 R/GM and has been held to three runs or fewer 47 times, including two runs or fewer 31 times.

[Related: Orioles Offense Has Been Mostly Bad for A Long Time]

Of the Orioles’ 89 home runs (14th in the majors), a whopping 62 of them have been of the solo variety.

Basically, a team that has been known for its mashing has been mashing at a very pedestrian rate while doing so mostly with nobody on base (because once again the Orioles are dead last in MLB with a .293 OBP).

Rather than continue to lament the Orioles’ shortcomings in 2018, I think it’s high time the team figures out what to do about them. And since we have no idea who’s running the show or when whoever that may be will be making any moves, perhaps I should take it upon myself to get the ball rolling.

Now, before I save the Baltimore Orioles from another 14-year stretch of losing, I would like to reiterate for the umpteenth time that I firmly believe the best course of action is signing Manny Machado long-term and building around him.

But since nobody (myself included) thinks that’s a likely scenario, I’ll leave it out of this piece.

 

1. Relieve Dan Duquette of His Duties

A man in an Orioles uniform and a man in a business suit stand side by side.

Dan Duquette, the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Baltimore Orioles, is in the final year of his contract with the ballclub, a final year that is about three years too late.

After winning Executive of the Year in 2014, Duquette was courted by the Toronto Blue Jays to become their President of Baseball Operations. The move most certainly would have been a promotion with a higher salary, and Duquette was rumored to be extremely interested in the position despite the four years remaining on his contract with the Orioles.

Not only that, but the rumors were leaked to the public the Sunday before the Winter Meetings were set to begin; not exactly the ideal time for your de facto general manager to be taking meetings with a division rival.

Peter Angelos, a staunch and savvy lawyer and businessman, refused to let Duquette out of his contract without proper compensation, namely Jeff Hoffman, Max Pentecost, and Mitch Nay, all of whom were top prospects for Toronto at the time. Unsurprisingly, the Blue Jays balked at the idea and Duquette stayed in Baltimore.

What the Orioles should have done was either trade or fire Duquette on the spot and find an immediate replacement. That brings back the issue of the timing. The team couldn’t very well enter any Winter Meetings in such disarray, let alone the Winter Meetings following an appearance in the ALCS.

We all know what happened next. Nelson Cruz signed with Seattle, Nick Markakis signed with Atlanta, the Orioles tried to sell Baltimore on Duquette crush Travis Snider, and the team needed a five-game winning streak at season’s end to finish .500 at 81-81.

My point? The time has come for the Orioles to rid themselves of Duquette. Rumors are again swirling, this time that the Orioles have interest in Ned Colletti, who is currently serving as the senior adviser to the president of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and they have reportedly already interviewed him.

Colletti served as the Dodgers’ general manager from 2006-2014. In those nine seasons, the Dodgers made the playoffs five times and won 14 playoff games. For comparative purposes, the Orioles have won 16 playoff games in the last 35 seasons (assuming they don’t make the greatest run in the history of professional sports this season).

There is no telling just how serious these rumors are, and even if they are true, Colletti would likely want to be the President of Baseball Operations. Furthermore, I can’t imagine he’d agree to take a job with Brady Anderson meddling in the background. My speculation is that he’d want assurances that the club is his to run how he sees fit, and Anderson would have to take a diminished role.

Still, a move needs to be made here, whether Colletti or someone else, and it needs to be made soon. The trade deadline is just five weeks away and the Orioles need people who will be with the club beyond this season calling the shots.

Dan Duquette should not be one of those people.

 

2. Trade Adam Jones and Zach Britton to the Cleveland Indians

Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles prepares to swing.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

I have been on record as saying the Orioles need to trade Adam Jones. He, along with Zach Britton, is in the final year of his contract and a player of his caliber with his veteran leadership could yield a solid return from a contending team trying to make a playoff push. That is where Britton and the Cleveland Indians come into play.

The Indians were eight games up on the second place Minnesota Twins entering play on Monday despite a bullpen ERA of 5.21 and getting next to nothing from any outfielder not named Michael Brantley.

A package of Jones and Britton solves both of those problems. Britton would alleviate some of the pressure put on a rotation that is second in all of baseball in ERA (3.29). Jones would provide veteran leadership and protection to a top-heavy lineup. Plus, it would be nice of the Orioles to give the greatest outfielder in team history an opportunity to chase a World Series ring before he enters the twilight of his career.

In return, the Orioles should center any deal on Indians prospect Nolan Jones. The number five prospect in the organization, Jones is a big third baseman, standing 6’4” and weighing 185 pounds. Though a natural righty, Jones, 20, bats left-handed and should pack on some weight as he matures.

Drafted out of high school in the second round in 2016, Jones has a quick swing that should generate more and more power as his career progresses. In addition, Jones has a keen eye at the plate. In three professional seasons, he has amassed a career OBP of .405, including .387 this season.

Lastly, Jones would appear to be blocked within the organization. The left side of the infield is off limits as perennial MVP candidates Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez are manning shortstop and third base.

If the thought is to move Jones to first, Edwin Encarnacion and his big contract are over there, and the Indians have a powerful top prospect in Bobby Bradley waiting to take over once Encarnacion is off the books.

Yes, the Indians could move Ramirez back to second to create room for Jones, but I doubt the organization chasing their first World Series victory since 1948 would nix a deal that could land them Adam Jones and Britton because of a player who is in high-A ball at the moment.

 

3. This One is Going to Sting

Manny Machado jogs the bases.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

Trade Manny Machado to whatever team offers the absolute best package.

Machado is arguably the greatest home grown talent the Orioles have ever had (apologies to Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken, Jr.). He is also never going to play in an Orioles uniform again after 2018.

While trading Machado will be a gut punch to a fan base that has not seen a World Series in 35 years, it is the one move that could conceivably get a franchise that has zero chance to sign the superstar back into contention. And that gut punch of trading Machado would be nothing compared to the blow of letting him leave at season’s end for nothing more than two compensatory picks.

The most popular teams linked to Machado are, in no particular order, the Chicago Cubs, Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Philadelphia Phillies. If the Phillies put Sixto Sanchez on the table, they will become the front runner. Otherwise, the Orioles could watch those teams get into a bidding war and then have their pick of the best offer.

At 25-years-old with his best baseball still in front of him, Machado leaving is a sickening thought to those in Baltimore. But it is a move that must be done if they have no shot of re-signing him. A deal involving Machado could hasten the rebuilding of this franchise by multiple years, which is also another reason why the Orioles need to get their front office in order.

They simply cannot afford to screw this up.

 

4. Extend Dylan Bundy and Jonathan Schoop

Dylan Bundy throwing a pitch.

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

Like so much in life, losing is contagious. Dylan Bundy, despite a terrible three-start-stretch in May, seems to have the vaccine. Jonathan Schoop, on the other hand, does not. Still, everybody not named Bundy, Jones, or Machado is struggling in 2018. A fresh start in 2019 could cure what ails some of them, especially Schoop.

After three consecutive solid seasons from 2015-17, Schoop has regressed quite a bit in 2018. Voted the Most Valuable Oriole in 2017, Schoop looked to be establishing himself as a $20+ million annual player before the plague that is 2018 took over.

With his value dropping at the moment, the time is now for the Orioles to buy out Schoop’s final year of arbitration and lock him up long term before he re-establishes himself and prices himself out of Baltimore.

Bundy, 25, is under team control through 2021 and is what every team dreams of: a young, workhorse pitcher that gives you innings and a chance to win every fifth day.

I’ve seen a number of people on social media suggest that the Orioles trade Bundy. To me he is as close to untouchable as they come. What would they be trading him for? Younger, less established pitching with loads of potential? Why trade a young, controllable pitcher when that is what you and everybody else is desperately searching for?

The Orioles should be doing everything in their power to keep Dylan Bundy and anchor their staff, not get rid of him.

 

5. DFA Chris Davis, Craig Gentry, and Colby Rasmus, place Trey Mancini on the DL

 

Chris Davis swings his bat

GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

I firmly believe that Colby Rasmus’ days are numbered in Baltimore. It just doesn’t make sense for the Orioles to keep a guy who strikes out more than he does anything else, especially when they have capable replacements at the minor league level knocking at the door.

Chris Davis, on the other hand, would be a huge financial blow. The Orioles have invested $161 million over seven seasons in Davis only to watch a steep decline year after year in every major offensive category.

The team gave Davis eight games off in a row to try to coach him back into the player he once was. Upon his return, he homered in his first game and doubled in his second while collecting five RBI. But that was it. Davis has gone 2-15 with seven strikeouts in four games since returning to the lineup despite his claims that he feels like a completely different player than the one he was prior to his benching (he’s not).

The Orioles need to swallow their pride and cut the fallen slugger. They’re paying him regardless. It truly is addition by subtraction to just eat the contract and move on. His replacement is already on the team (Mancini) and won’t cost them much more than they’re already paying.

Craig Gentry is simply a victim of a roster squeeze. No rebuilding team should employ a 34-year-old fourth outfielder. It doesn’t make any sense. Cut the man and let him see if he can catch on with a contending team that could use the depth.

Mancini was batting .284 when he bashed his knee into the wall against the Indians back in late April. Since then, he’s batting an even .200 in 52 games. It would behoove the Orioles and Mancini to give the man time to rest and regroup. If he comes back from a rehab assignment and still struggles, then it might be time to demote him.

6. Let the Dominoes Fall

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GulfBird Sports/Craig Landefeld

If the Orioles make the preceding moves, then a number of corresponding moves will need to be made. If I’m Buck Showalter, Cedric Mullins and D.J. Stewart would almost assuredly make their Major League debuts, with Jaycob Brugman and Joey Rickard being recalled along with them. No Anthony Santander just yet; he still needs seasoning in the minor leagues.

Mullins becomes the everyday centerfielder with Stewart manning left and Brugman in right. Rickard becomes the fourth outfielder. In the infield, I’d move Tim Beckham back to shortstop, play Danny Valencia at third, and make Mark Trumbo my everyday first baseman until Mancini returns, at which point Trumbo goes back to DH.

The Orioles should also recall Chance Sisco and Steve Wilkerson. For Sisco, there is nothing more for him to prove offensively at the minor league level. In four games with Norfolk, he’s 6-14. I get that he has only caught three attempted base stealers since May 1st, but come on already, this team is 23-54.

Caleb Joseph is a 32-year-old career backup who can’t hit. He has no future with the Orioles unless it’s as a coach. Austin Wynns and Sisco should be the catching tandem at this point in the season.

As for Wilkerson, he would become the utility infielder with the rest of 2018 serving as an audition to see if he can stick with the club and possibly even earn an everyday role in 2019 and beyond.

In the bullpen, Tanner Scott should never see the shuttle again, and Jimmy Yacabonis should also be in Baltimore. To get Yacabonis in the fold, the team would likely have to DFA Mike Wright, a move one could argue should have happened weeks ago. Still, Wright has been decent lately, so a move might not be in the cards there just yet.

I don’t know how much the Orioles could get for Brad Brach at this point, so it’s conceivable that he could spend the full season in Baltimore and leave as a free agent at season’s end. He also would seem to have the highest re-signability of any free agent the Orioles have, given his struggles this season.

All-in-all, it’s time for the Orioles to make some drastic changes. Nothing they do will make them better in 2018 as this season is already lost. But the time is now to see what they have in players like Mullins, Stewart, Brugman, Wilkerson, Scott, and Yacabonis.

Fans are clamoring for any reason to watch this team at this point, and an infusion of young talent could be just what the doctor ordered.

Honestly, they couldn’t get much worse.

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Series Preview: Orioles (23-53) vs. Mariners (47-31)

Seattle Mariners players celebrate during their win.

After surprisingly winning two of three in Atlanta, the Orioles will now return home to take on the Mariners for a three-game set.

The Orioles (23-53) have been playing much better in recent times by winning four of their last seven contests. The bats also seem to be heating up as they’ve scored an average of six runs a game during that span, and they’ll be looking for more of the same during their upcoming seven-game home stand.

The Mariners (47-31) head into town in second place in the AL West and currently hold a six-game advantage over the Angels for the second wild card slot in the American League. Despite going just 1-6 over their last seven games, they’ll be confident that the minor snag in the road will come to pass after going 12-3 over the first fifteen games in June.

Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.72 ERA) will take on Felix Hernandez (6-6, 5.14 ERA) in tonight’s series opener.

Cashner blanked the Nationals over four innings before a lengthy rain delay ended his night in his last outing, but he will be looking to pick up where he left off against the Mariners. He’s allowed just six runs over his last sixteen innings combined over three starts.

Hernandez was no-decisioned despite holding the Yankees to one run over five innings in his last start, and has been steadily returning to form as of late. He owns a stout 3.13 ERA over 23 innings pitched through four starts in June.

Kevin Gausman (3-6, 4.38 ERA) will get the nod against James Paxton (6-2, 3.72 ERA) on Tuesday.
Gausman turned in a solid performance by allowing just two runs over six innings against the Nationals during his last outing, and will be looking to keep the ball rolling versus Seattle. Gausman has gone winless over his last seven starts while going 0-4 with a 6.03 ERA during that span.

Paxton took just his second loss of the season after allowing four runs over five innings versus the Yankees, and will be looking for a bounce back at Camden Yards. After going 3-0 with a sparkling 1.67 ERA over six starts in May, Paxton owns a 5.73 ERA through four starts in June.

Alex Cobb (2-9, 6.56 ERA) will take the mound against Wade Leblanc (3-0, 3.26 ERA) on Wednesday.
Cobb was denied a deserved win after silencing the Braves to just one run on four hits over seven innings in his last start, but will be looking for a repeat performance against the Mariners. He’s gone 1-2 with a 6.08 ERA through four starts in June.

Leblanc was lit up for six runs on eleven hits over just 4 2/3 innings during his last start in Boston, and will be looking to avoid the same fate against the Orioles. After going 1-0 with a stellar 1.72 ERA over six starts in May, Leblanc has posted a 4.64 ERA through four starts in June.

Dylan Bundy (6-7, 3.75 ERA) will match up (ed note: maybe not) against Mike Leake (8-4, 4.11 ERA) in the series finale on Thursday.

Bundy earned his sixth win of the season after holding the Braves to two runs over 6 1/3 innings in his last start, and will be looking to stay red-hot against Seattle. Over his last seven starts, Bundy has gone 4-2 with a stellar 2.98 ERA while striking out 53 over 48 1/3 innings.

Leake picked up his eighth win of the season after shutting down the Red Sox to the tune of three hits over eight shutout innings in his last start, and will be looking to continue his current run of excellence against the O’s. Over his last seven starts, Leake has posted a 4-1 record and a phenomenal 2.17 ERA over 49 2/3 innings.

That’s it for now, folks!

Here’s to a few more in the win column.

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The Rundown: Trumbo Heats Up, Davis Returns

Mark Trumbo is heating up at the right time as he has hit five home runs since June 17. At this point, the Orioles need every veteran playing at the top of their game in hopes to showcase them in trades. Obviously, Manny Machado is the franchise changer, followed by Zach Britton, but the organization can still get something of value in return for the other veterans with Trumbo being in that mix.

 

Davis Returns

Chris Davis returned after missing eight games to work on getting back to the basics. The results have been mixed as Davis did hit a home run and just missed another in the Braves series while also walking twice. However, he only collected two hits and struck out four times.

I think the only way we will really know if this has worked is if Davis is driving the ball more consistently. We all know the strikeouts won’t vanish, but it was the consistent weak ground balls into the shift that became worrisome. At least seeing Davis hit a homer un to the opposite field and then pulling the ball off the wall was encouraging.

That is what we need to see more of and that is the only way to grade the newest reset for the first baseman.

 

Showalter to Front Office?

The rumor mill will continue to be out of control involving the Orioles due to their record and uncertainty of many in the organization. The latest rumor involving Buck Showalter comes from Kiley McDaniel of FanGraphs. He says Showalter would like to move to the front office and be head of baseball operations, likely with a President title. McDaniel also says if things don’t go Showalter’s way, he could return to his alma mater Mississippi State and be their head coach.

It’s no secret Showalter seriously considered moving to the front office prior to the organization hiring Dan Duquette, so I’m sure he is once again thinking about it. If it does happen, does the ever-loyal Showalter make John Russell manager?

Not sure I want to think about that right now, but I think it’s clear that as we see the final days of Machado, Britton and Adam Jones in orange and black, the same can be said for the skipper as well.

 

Down on the Farm

The hope of this organization not only relies on the players they get in return for Machado and more, but also their top prospects. I’m still frustrated with how they handled Chance Sisco as I was on record that if he was going to be used as a platoon, he needed to play everyday in Triple-A. That wasn’t the case and Sisco failed to hit consistently and his defense regressed. Sisco did show the ability to get on base which was nice, but at 23 years old, the future is still bright and an offseason hitting the weight room will do him a lot of good.

As for some of the other top prospects, third baseman Ryan Mountcastle continues to show his bat will play at every level. The 21-year-old had a monster weekend as he collected six hits in a double header and is now batting .303 with an impressive .840 OPS. There’s a chance we see the youngster in Baltimore before the year is over and depending on what players come back in trades and the outlook of Tim Beckham, Mountcastle could be on the hot corner as soon as next year.

Centerfielder Cedric Mullins seems to have settled in with the Norfolk Tides as he has raised his average from .188 on June 19 to .224 on June 25. Outfielder D.J. Stewart continues to be consistent with a .372 on base percentage and .827 OPS to along with seven home runs and eight stolen bases. Both players should make their debuts later this summer even though I’m not sure why we still have to watch Colby Rasmus play right field.

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Series Preview: Orioles (21-52) @ Braves (43-30)

After dropping two of three against the Nationals in DC, the Orioles will now head to Atlanta to take on the Braves for a three-game set over the weekend.

The Orioles (21-52) are still stuck in a rip tide as they prepare to take on the Braves, and help doesn’t seem to be coming anytime soon. They’ve won just four times through seventeen games in June and have gone 4-22 over their last 26 contests.

The Braves (43-30) are still holding a firm grip on first place in the NL East as we near the All-Star Break, and will be looking to stay in-form against the Orioles. They’ve gone 7-3 over their last ten games and are on pace for their third straight .500+ month with a 10-7 record in June.

Alex Cobb (2-9, 7.14 ERA) will take on Braves ace Sean Newcomb (8-2, 2.70 ERA) in tonight’s series opener.

It was another rough day at the office for Cobb during his last start as he allowed five runs over seven innings against the Marlins. It was the sixth time in 12 starts in which he’s allowed five runs or more. Since holding the Mets to one run over six innings earlier this month, he’s allowed 14 runs over 10 2/3 innings in his last two starts combined.

Newcomb earned his eighth win of the season after holding the Padres to two hits over six shutout innings during his last start, and will look to maintain his dominance against the O’s. The southpaw went 5-0 with a sparkling 1.54 ERA over six starts in May and has followed up by going 2-1 with a 2.60 ERA over his first three starts in June.

Dylan Bundy (5-7, 3.81 ERA) will match-up against Julio Tehran (5-4, 3.97 ERA) on Saturday.

Bundy wasn’t at his best during his last start against the Marlins, but still notched his fifth win of the season despite allowing four runs over six innings. The O’s staff ace has been red-hot in recent times however, as he’s gone 3-1 with a superb 1.85 ERA over his last five outings.

Tehran picked up his fifth win of the campaign after no-hitting the Padres over six shutout innings. His no-hit bid was cut short due to a high pitch count, but he still managed to punch out eleven batters while walking three in a tremendous performace. He’s also held opponents to two runs or less in seven of his 14 starts this season.

The Braves still haven’t named a starter to take on David Hess (2-3, 4.82 ERA) in Sunday’s series finale.

Hess was tagged for five runs over 4 2/3 innings during his last time out against the Nationals, and will be looking for a bounce back display in Atlanta. After recording four quality starts in his first five outings in the show, he’s now allowed ten runs over eight innings in his last two starts combined.

 

That’s it for now, folks!

Here’s to coming home on a positive note.

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Friday’s O’s Links: A Day Late & A Dollar Short, Just like the Birds

Good morning, Birdland. The O’s narrowly avoided getting swept in the MASN Cup this season, losing just two of three in D.C. after getting swept by the Gnats at OPACY a few weeks ago. They’ll now head to Atlanta (where I’m waiting! See ya jerks soon!) for three against the Braves and old friend Nick Markakis. I had an awful day of traveling yesterday, so this week’s second set of links is getting pushed to Friday. My apologies – I know you’re going nuts without something to read about these friggin’ Orioles.

Get Cedric Mullins up here.

This Isn’t the Alex Cobb the Orioles Hoped They Were Getting

Alex Cobb will be on the bump in tonight’s opener in Atlanta. I was just driving by SunTrust Park on Cobb Drive, so maybe that bodes well! But probably not! Because Cobb has been crap! Camden Depot’s Matt Kremnitzer has the gory details.

(Also, ICYMI, earlier this week, Camden Depot head honcho Jon announced that he was retiring from writing about the O’s & baseball, and that CD will be shuttering its doors after the season. That sucks. There may be a silver lining for ESR fans though, but I won’t spill any beans just yet.)

Could Padres be Surprise Entrant in Machado Derby?

Jon Heyman hears that San Diego is suddenly kicking the tires on a potential trade for Manny Machado. That would be…weird. But hey, the more bidders, the merrier!

This, That, and the Other – Roch Notes

Apparently Chris Davis is expected to be in the lineup tonight, despite Atlanta starting a left-handed pitcher who holds lefties to a .167 batting average. Setting him up for success.

Ryan McKenna is Owning the Carolinas

Frederick Keys OF Ryan McKenna, a 2015 fourth-round selection, currently leads the Carolina league in batting average, runs, SLG, OBP, OPS, wOBA, and wRC+. Read more about him in David Laurila’s latest on FanGraphs.

Trade Candidate: Zach Britton

Over on MLB Trade Rumors, Steve Adams examines Zach Britton and concludes that – surprise! – the Orioles really did miss the boat on trading him at anything resembling peak value. Rest assured that other clubs have noticed all the concerning peripherals that Adams points out here, and remember that when the return for ZB – much like the return for Manny Machado – is very meh.

 

Happy first weekend of summer. Maybe the Boys of Summer will finally show up?

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Thursday Thoughts: Prepare for Disappointment in Machado Trade

Manny Machado follows through on his swing.

This is a weekly column that dives into some random thoughts about the Orioles/MLB. I used to do eight as a nod to Cal Ripken Jr. As of last year, I cut it down to four or five, so consider it the Earl Weaver/€“Brooks Robinson era of Thursday Thoughts. – A.S.

1. The Orioles finally went and did it this week. They benched Chris Davis, and there’s no real clear-cut path to playing time for the first baseman. Davis’ benching comes at a time where it doesn’t really matter. It’s more of a message being sent by Buck Showalter than anything. Davis will likely find his way back to the plate at some point in the coming days.

Showalter says Chris has been working hard since his benching on figuring out what is going wrong. Aside from just pointing to “everything” there must be a lot there.

A quick reality check for those clamoring for Davis to either be cut or traded – neither of those things is happening. He’s making too much money to be cut, and no team would want to take on that contract in a trade. The Orioles are simply stuck with him. He’s their first baseman going forward, even if he doesn’t play all that much.

I don’t anticipate him getting the bulk of the playing time even when he does make a return to the lineup. What’s important to realize in all of this is that the Orioles have absolutely no problem with just sticking Davis on the bench and playing with 24 men, even if they have to do that for the rest of this lost season.

I mean, after all, they did start the season with three Rule 5 players on the roster, so it’s almost like they’ve gained a few spots since then.

2. Over the next few weeks, you’re going to hear a TON of rumors surrounding Manny Machado. The hug watch is officially on for perhaps the most talented player to ever come out of the Orioles organization. There are going to be many rumors about a bunch of teams that are interested, but when it comes down to it, there are probably only three to four suitors for Machado.

The rumor mill within the AL East is churning because both the Red Sox and Yankees will be linked. That’s mostly media-driven if you ask me. I don’t think there’s a chance in this lifetime that Peter Angelos sends Machado to a team within the division. I think a National League team is much more likely, and there are plenty of rumors on that side as well.

The latest involves the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team that would be highly-motivated to acquire Machado. They did something similar in getting J.D. Martinez last season from the Tigers as a rental. The D-backs are leading the NL West, but doing all they can to fight off the Dodgers. Arizona has also gotten little production out of the shortstop position this season. The St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves are also sure to be teams brought up over the next few weeks as potential suitors.

As a fan, it’s also super important to remember that you WILL be disappointed by the return for Machado. They are not going out and pulling off a deal like the Yankees did with Aroldis Chapman a few years ago to net Gleyber Torres. Something like that isn’t in the cards. It’s not in the cards for any player the Orioles are about to trade.

These players are rentals, and the return won’t be close to what you expect.

3. Trades are certainly going to be part of the near future for the Orioles, but the question remains – who is making those trades? Reports surfaced last week that the O’s interviewed former Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti. It could be the first indication that the Orioles are actually planning for the future, but it’s also made a bit more awkward by the fact that he’s interviewing for a position that is currently occupied by Dan Duquette.

Look, no one expects Duquette to be back next season. I don’t even think Duquette expects it deep down. But is he going to be the one making the calls on trades in the coming weeks? All signs would point to yes. What’s more, how are the Orioles going to set themselves up going forward with a new regime in place, if that’s something they want?

What needs to be understood is that any new GM that enters the picture will likely still have to answer to Brady Anderson, or at least have him in the fold. Anderson basically has a job for as long as he wants one with the Orioles, so long as the Angelos family is in charge.

The Orioles will have a tough time convincing someone, much less someone with experience in the industry, to take that kind of role.

view of mostly empty seats with few fans standing watching

Tim Anderson

4. We’re nearly halfway into the 2018 season, and the Orioles aren’t just seeing fewer wins this year, they are also seeing fewer fans at the park. Attendance is way down for the worst team in baseball, which shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Experts claim the biggest issue is that many fans from counties that surround the city aren’t coming in for games. They aren’t spending money before or after games like they have in the past.

While much of this can be attributed to safety concerns that have grown over the last few years, a larger part of it has to do with the fact that going to a baseball game is much more involved than it used to be. The almighty entertainment dollar is being spent in other places these days, and people can just as easily watch the games at home. MASN’s ratings haven’t taken a hit over the last few years. And while the Orioles have made an effort to get more fans out this season by promoting more events, theme nights and promotions, I don’t think they really care how many butts are in the seats.

That’s especially true when it comes to THIS team and as bad as the product has fallen off. The O’s would like there to be more people there, but they are still making their money through their TV deal.

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Having Benched Him, Buck Now Throws Some Shade at Chris Davis

Chris Davis & Buck Showalter.

It may have taken him just a bit longer than it took some of us, but it seems that Buck Showalter has reached the end of his patience with Chris Davis.

Davis has already been sitting for a week, having last stepped to the plate on June 11 against Boston, when he went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.

When asked yesterday if his return was imminent, Buck was quite non-committal:

“It’s getting close,” Showalter said. “I know he didn’t have an off-day yesterday. Trust me. He worked on a lot of things. He worked at Camden Yards.

“It has nothing to do with who’s pitching. Nothing at all. When Chris and we all think that it’s time and he feels like he’s ready, it doesn’t matter who’s pitching, whether it’s a left-hander or a right-hander. When they and we decide that, then he’ll be in there regardless of who’s pitching. It has nothing to do with who’s pitching.”

This morning, FanGraphs posted an article in which David Laurila had sat down with Showalter and got some quotes on the changing game of baseball in general. Now, it’s not exactly clear when Buck said these things, but it seems safe to assume that it was some time over the past week or so.

When speaking about the way front offices have shifted in recent years, Buck dropped this little nugget (emphasis mine):

“But I’ll tell you one thing that did change. This offseason was the first time I saw front offices not do something they’ve done in the past. There was no collusion, no whatever. It was all about looking analytically at a player and saying, ‘He’s not worth X.’ And they stuck to it. Front offices are smarter with their contracts than they had been. Some of these that are held over… I guarantee you, if you sign a guy to a seven-year contract, you’re going to be lucky if you’re happy for four of those seven.

Davis, of course, was signed to a seven-year $161 million contract following the 2015 season. The Orioles were happy with that contract for what looks to have been about one and a half years of the seven.

Is it a coincidence Buck used seven years as his example, and not six or eight? Possibly. But I’ll choose to believe that a certain seven-year contract is gnawing away at him just the way it is at us, as we all think about the future of the franchise, and where Buck may – or may not – factor in.

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Tuesday’s O’s Links: Where We Only Win on “Holidays”

Jonathan Schoop takes a swing.

The Birds can’t even manage to win two of three from the “hey, we got rid of all our good players and we’re openly trying to be awful!” Miami Marlins at HOME over the weekend, so the season of misery rolls on as scheduled. The O’s did win one game, on Sunday, Father’s Day. In a nice bit of dark symmetry, that was their first home win since MOTHER’S DAY! In between, they lost 11 straight at OPACY, tying a franchise record.

And how are things going in the front office? Well, let’s hear from one guy who has toiled under the Angelos regime in the past:

DogSayingEverythingIsFineWhileHisHouseBurns dot gif.

To some links.

Love, Loyalty, Family, Connect a Legendary Mexican Baseball Team to the Orioles

Let’s start with something uplifting, shall we? Álvaro Enrigue penned a gorgeous piece in ESPN the Magazine about his time growing up in Mexico, losing his favorite baseball team when he was 10 (many old Baltimore Colts fans can relate), and then falling in love with the Orioles of 1983 and passing that love onto his son. Take some time out of your day and remember why baseball is great.

Back to your regularly scheduled darkest timeline…

Chance Sisco Deserves to be in the Majors

The Birds’ former top prospect was scratched before Sunday’s game. We heard at the time that he was ill. Then, after the game, he was demoted to AAA Norfolk. Camden Chat’s Tyler Young tries to make sense of it, but there really is no good explanation. If we’re just trying to get a photo op of the Joseph brothers playing together, demote Austin Wynns for a few days. Has Sisco’s bat been disappointing? Sure. But he is hardly alone in that regard. Get him as many ABs as possible in this lost season.

Shocking Names Who Could be Available at the Trade Deadline

Maybe some team will overwhelm the Birds with an offer for Dylan Bundy, but I’d be shocked – and sad – if he were to be dealt. Jim Palmer said it better than I can:

What Happened to Jonathan Schoop?

Slightly lost amidst the “Is Chris Davis Having the Worst Season Ever” talk is just how awful Jonathan Schoop has been in 2018. He isn’t hitting the ball as hard, he’s walking less and swinging more, and the best we can hope for is that his oblique injury is simply lingering. Matt Kremnitzer of Camden Depot has the gory details.

Bird’s Eye View Episode 242: Off the Bench

Jake asked me to pinch hit for Scott on BEV this week, but unfortunately I was unable to. Lucky you! Instead of listening to me, you can hear our own Andrew Stetka on this week’s show. I’m jealous I wasn’t able to participate in Ghosts of Orioles Past – Fond Memories Edition.

 

Please don’t get swept by the Gnats…again. Please?

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