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. (Today we have a Billy Ripken version) – A.S.
Before we get going with this week’s Thoughts, I want to do a real quick shameless plug. I spoke with Justin McGuire of the Locked On Orioles podcast yesterday about a piece I wrote earlier this week over at MASNSports.com. We discussed the O’s offensive philosophy heading into the rebuild as well as Chris Davis and what exactly to do with him. Listen to it here.
1. I don’t think anyone would’ve come into this season expecting Dylan Bundy to be barreling toward September with an ERA of 5.31, but everything is awful and now here we are.
Bundy has been especially abysmal in August, posting an ERA of 9.74 along with seven homers in 20.1 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting .387 off him in August. It’s just all bad.
When the Orioles traded Kevin Gausman last month, I was a little puzzled as to why Bundy wasn’t also exiting. I don’t think the O’s would’ve dealt Gausman (who has pitched to an ERA of 2.00 in his first 27 innings in Atlanta, so, yeah) if they expected his value to increase come this winter. The same should’ve gone for Bundy, who is obviously seeing his stock fall, and not just fall, but plummet. Bundy has just one more year of team control than Gausman, but at this point, none of that matters.
It was supposed to be these two guys leading the charge in this rotation for years to come. Now one of them is gone, and the other is showing no signs of being a competent big league pitcher, much less front-line starter.
2. Many were up in arms the other day when the Orioles claimed 28-year-old outfielder John Andreoli and it took him just a few days to get on the roster. Why are the Orioles wasting their time on a veteran journeyman rather than calling up one of their outfield prospects? There were a lot of people angered by this, in a season that I’ll remind you, does not matter.
I get it, on the surface. The Orioles have once again gone “dumpster diving” for a player, claiming him off waivers and immediately sticking him in the lineup. But there’s also no real benefit to bringing up a top prospect like D.J. Stewart or Austin Hays at this point, either. The Orioles can trot out Andreoli for now and see if he’s capable of being the 25th man on the roster next year. I’m sure we will see more prospects come up once rosters expand in September.
There’s also something to be said for not exposing young players to this type of dreadful atmosphere around the team.
Regardless, I’m not going to be the guy complaining about who is on the roster right now.
3. There’s been fans trashing roster construction over the past week, but there’s also been fans still choosing to trash Adam Jones over the past month. That’s something I won’t really stand for. Fans are still on this wacky bit where they are mad at Jones for exercising his rights to veto a trade at the deadline. I don’t really understand why fans believe that it’s Jones’ job to help the club from within the front office as well as on the field.
He signed up to a long-term extension when things were bad in Baltimore, and he helped make them good again. He’s done everything asked of him on the field and everything he didn’t have to do off of it. Jones is looking out for himself in his career, and for his family. I see nothing wrong with that. I only see fans complaining about it.
It’s silly and it needs to stop.
4. The Orioles got word on their 2019 schedule yesterday, and personally, I like it. I see opportunities to travel to a few west coast cities I haven’t seen baseball games in. There’s potential for me to head to Denver for a weekend series in May against the Rockies as well as a trip for a weekend series in June in Seattle.
Selfishly, the Orioles will also make a return to Arizona, where I reside. That happens in late July. The last time the O’s were in Arizona, it was ugly. Three straight games, three straight walk-off losses. I was at each game, and each one hurt a little more. This was in mid-August of 2013, and it probably sent Jim Johnson packing. The O’s ended up missing the postseason that year, despite managing an 85-77 record.
What I noticed about next year’s schedule, is that it includes two west coast swings, which is not uncommon. The first is in June, with three in Oakland followed by four in Seattle. The second is the late July trip that starts in Arizona, then heads to Anaheim to face the Angels for four followed by two games in San Diego. But the O’s trip to Colorado is sandwiched between two home series against the Yankees and Tigers.
So the O’s will play on Thursday, head to the Mountain Time Zone for three against the Rockies during the weekend, and then be back at Camden Yards for a game on Monday. That’s a tough scheduling break.