Bullpen Is Key for Solid Rebuild

orioles players in bullpen walking together

The Orioles continued their plan of rebuilding the roster by trading closer Zach Britton to the Yankees for three pitching prospects. The organization now has a week to see if they can move on from Brad Brach, Adam Jones and/or several other veterans.

The trade of Manny Machado marked a new day in franchise history and the comments from Dan Duquette following that trade showed a glimpse in a new way of thinking as well. If anyone had doubts that Peter Angelos is no longer in charge, a trade with the Yankees should put that to rest.

Right-handed pitcher Dillon Tate was the centerpiece of the Orioles deal with the Yankees. This trade will ultimately be judged by Tate’s performance in the Orioles’ system. However, the scouting community is torn on Tate’s role in the big leagues. Some think he can be a number three starting pitcher and others believe he will end up as a backend bullpen. In any event, it looks like the Orioles received a pitcher who will make an impact for the major league roster.

Right-handed reliever Cody Carroll could be the steal of the trade as he has the potential to be a late inning reliever with his power fastball and strong secondary pitches that allows him to be effective against right-handers and left-handers.

We still don’t have a clear idea of who is making the decisions for the organization, but it appears everyone is on the same page and I’m excited to see how this roster shapes up over the next several months.

Building a Strong Bullpen

An organization can accelerate a rebuild by building a strong bullpen and it looks like the Orioles had that in mind with their recent trades. By acquiring Zach Pop in the Machado trade and Carroll in the Britton trade, the Orioles have added two power arms that have potential to be late inning relievers. We’ll see what happens with Mychal Givens, but if he stays around, those three along with Tanner Scott provide high-velocity arms for the backend of a bullpen. This doesn’t include former second round draft pick Branden Kline, who is finally healthy and touched 99 MPH recently and could be promoted to the big league roster soon.

The return of Darren O’Day and Richard Bleier along with the progress of Paul Fry, Miguel Castro, Mike Wright and the potential of future trades gives the Orioles the bullpen depth needed over the course of a season.

Tim Beckham’s Defense is Tough to Watch

We have seen some bad defensive players over the years, but Tim Beckham may rank near the top of the list. As mentioned previously, a team can accelerate a rebuild with a strong bullpen, but that can be wiped out with an awful defensive team. All we have to do is take a look at this year’s ball club to see the impact of breakdowns in the field.

Beckham can hit, but his offense isn’t elite enough to shadow his extremely porous defense. There’s no way he can be the starting shortstop for a rebuilding team so the Orioles have to decide what to do with him. A utility player must be above average defensively at multiple positions and we know that won’t be the case with the 28-year-old. It also appears third base prospect Ryan Mountcastle is not ready to play defense at the big league level, so he could see another position change. If he doesn’t, then that’s a huge risk having two below defenders next to each other.

One solution could be trading Jonathan Schoop, Beckham could slide over to second base, a position he has played 80 times in the big leagues. If there can be one critique of the two trades the O’s have made and they are far from done, they have yet to acquire depth at shortstop, a position they desperately need.

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About Phil Backert

Phil Backert
Phil Backert grew up in Rising Sun, Maryland loving the Orioles, Ravens, and Terps. After going away to college outside Philadelphia and playing baseball for four years, he moved back to Maryland, and currently resides in White Marsh. Phil interned with Sports Talk 1570AM, WNST during college which eventually led...more

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