KNEE-JERK REACTIONS: O’s Deal Gausman, O’Day, Schoop to ATL/MIL

The rebuild is on! The O’s completed their fourth and fifth trades this July, and for the first time dealt guys with deals expiring AFTER 2018.

First, they traded Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to Atlanta.

Just a few minutes later, they flipped Jonathan Schoop to the Brewers.

ESR staff react to this crazy flurry of moves here…

Phil Backert

My reaction is my head is spinning and it will take awhile to sort all of this out, but the Orioles said they were in full rebuild mode and they continue to show that with the trades of Kevin Gausman and Jonathan Schoop. The Orioles received more international bonus money to prove once again they are serious about adding talent through that avenue for the first time ever.

All in all, the O’s received 15 players and international money for six players and if they can hit on half of the players in the trades they made and then whomever they sign internationally, Dan Duquette and company would have done an amazing job ushering in the next era of Orioles baseball.

Derek Arnold

Holy crap. Do you think Adam Jones is regretting his decision to exercise his 10/5 rights today?

We all knew this needed to happen. We all said we WANTED it to happen. At the same time, I don’t think many of us thought it actually would. Around 2 PM today (two hours before the deadline), there were crickets on Twitter surrounding the O’s. Then, at like 3:30, rumors everywhere…we figured we’d see a repeat of the Zach Britton non-deal at the deadline last year. Nope! It really is a new day around here.

Folks more plugged in to prospect lists and minor-league systems than I will have to chime in on the hauls the O’s got in these deals (read the other writers’ thoughts in these here knee-jerks). I will say that I’m excited about all the new faces in AA/AAA.

I know many of the Dan Duquette haters are out in full force, adding this to their list of grievances against him. Look at it this was – either these deals are commended, Duquette and the Orioles praised, and the Birds’ future secured….OR…the deals are widely panned, baseball people start whispering about Duquette getting fleeced, the Angeloses catch wind of it, and he’s definitely gone after this season. Fair enough?

It wasn’t just lip service. The rebuild is ON. Even if it doesn’t work like we’d hope…the other way of doing things has produced five playoff appearances and no World Series berths since Pete took over in the early 90’s. Let’s try something else.

(P.S. Gausman is going to be very good in the NL East. It’s like pushing the easy button after being in the AL East all these years. Prepare yourselves now. Don’t be mad later.)

Matthew Pyne

On the surface, the return for Gausman and O’Day doesn’t look like much. But, the $2.5 million in international bonus pool money is the story here. Dumping the O’Day contract also saves $8 million. Gausman is under team control for two more years after this year, so the Braves are banking on turning him into a top-tier starter. Dom Chiti and Dave Wallace both know him and his skillset which should encourage Braves fans. Although the Braves have the No. 2 overall Farm System, they only parted with two Top-30 guys in their system.

If we look back on this trade and see the extra $2.5 million allocated to Victor Victor Mesa, this was a steal for the O’s. The Orioles have clearly shifted into a full-on rebuild, they saved $35 million and added 15 new players to the organization…cant ask for more than that.

As for Schoop, that return I like, upside-wise. Ortiz is a good pitching prospect, with a really nice slider. Jean Carmona further provides infield depth, and Jonathan Villar, although not playing the player he once was, offers this team speed and the chance to flip him at some point if he performs. Schoop needed to be dealt of they weren’t going to re-sign him. I don’t exactly get this from the Brewers perspective, but Duquette did well here. I would’ve liked Hiura or Corbin Burnes, but they were long shots anyway.

Schoop may not have warranted the same return if the offseason for only one year of control. The Orioles seem to have learned from their mistakes and have a *gulp* plan moving forward.

Joe DiBasilio

I honestly didn’t know the Orioles had more than one phone available in the warehouse. We are talking about the organization that was too inept only eight months ago to process the signing of their well-known utility man (MVP). Today, Duquette navigated two moves that will, one way or another, shape the future of this franchise for years to come (not to mention, two pieces that were referred to as “untouchables” for years by the MASN crew).

I’ve been critical for some time, but there’s an obvious change within the Warehouse. Major moves, acquisition of international funds… if I didn’t know any better, I’d say this has the look of a competent rebuild.

Good for Dan, and good for the O’s. I tip my cap to a job well done!

Jonathan French

If you just look at Top 100 prospect lists, you would immediately question the return for these three players combined, but when you dig into the profile of each and the potential that is there, while there may be lottery tickets, there’s also a lot of exciting potential.

The Orioles now have a much more international flavor in a mix of infield prospects acquiring Jean Carmona and Jean Carlos Encarnacion who could make up the future left side of their infield. Carmona is a 18-year-old switch-hitting shortstop with good defensive instincts who may be able to stick at the position and has power potential from both sides of the plate. Encarnacion is a 20-year-old third baseman who could be the next coming of Jonathan Schoop as he has a tall lanky frame with the ability to fill out and add more power. His K/BB ratio is a little concerning but the tools are there to be a major league regular at the hot corner. Brett Cumberland is a 23-year-old switch-hitting catcher just recently promoted to AA who has a good career OBP (.373) as well as a major flyball split and he also rocks a classic Orioles facial hair policy-era mustache. He may not be able to stick at catcher however as his defense is below average and he also played outfield in the Australian Baseball League last winter so the Orioles might convert him in their system.

As for the pitching in the two deals, Luis Ortiz, 22, has the highest ceiling and profiles to be a mid-rotation starter. Originally acquired from Texas by the Brewers for Jonathan Lucroy, Ortiz has battled some injury issues in college and in the minors, but currently has a 3.71 ERA in AA in 68 IP pitching in 16 games with 11 starts. Evan Phillips is a 23-year-old reliever and will probably end up in the Orioles’ bullpen soon. He had a rough debut for the Braves this season as he’s currently sporting a 8.53 ERA but he dominated in AAA this season with a 1.99 ERA and 59 Ks in 40.2 innings. Bruce Zimmerman, 23, also has quite the mustache, but he’s also a Baltimore native and pitches left-handed, so of course he was attractive to the Orioles. Zimmerman’s number in the minors also are impressive as he’s a compiled a 2.89 ERA between High-A and AA in 113.1 IP with 125 Ks in 2018 and he profiles to be able to stick in a rotation.

The final player in the deals is Jonathan Villar, and while he’s another Jonathan that will likely replace Schoop at second base, he profiles much differently than Schoop as he’s a switch hitter and has a career 8.8% walk rate, 26.8 O-Swing% and plenty of speed. I could see the Orioles try him at leadoff because of that speed even though he has a career .324 OBP. Defensively, he’s also been much better than Schoop with +6 DRS at 2B this season. He’s currently on the DL and rehabbing a sprained thumb but should join the Orioles when they play the Rangers.

Finally, the $2.5 million in international bonus money just gives the Orioles a bigger war chest to go after Victor Victor Mesa and anybody else that they wish to target. Players will have to turn down more money to sign with other clubs as the Orioles now have the biggest stash of international money in this signing period with over $8.25 million.

As for what the Orioles gave up? Gausman never really could put it together in Baltimore in spite of his potential, and going to the NL East, and reunited with Wallace with the time to home plate garbage behind him, I think he’ll finally blossom, but at least the Orioles got far more in return than they did for Jake Arrieta with much more potential future impact. Darren O’Day, while a fan favorite, has spent quite a bit of time on the disabled list over the past few years and the Orioles will be free of his contract. Schoop, also a fan favorite, showed plenty of potential and was heating up. but the odds of him re-signing were slim given how much he’d likely command in free agency, especially with his BFF Manny Machado no longer on the team. I won’t miss Schoop’s swing-for-the-fences approach though even though I appreciated his power, as he epitomized what fans both loved and hated about the Orioles’ offense.

These deals showed the true franchise-building skills Dan Duquette that he demonstrated in Montreal and in in Boston. Duquette and his scouts targeted clubs with deep farm systems and as a result, may have just built the core of the future in just a few weeks. With the stash of international cash, he can continue adding talent like Mesa and others to further boost the system. These deals have the chance to be more impactful than any trades Andy MacPhail or any other GM in the Angelos era were allowed to make. I am thankful that John and Louis Angelos finally seemingly unshackled Duquette at the deadline and allowed him to perform at his best. I think we will all be thankful in 2021 and beyond for what he and his band were able to accomplish.

Paul Valle

The non-waiver trade deadline came and went today, while three Orioles’ favorites simply went. Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day went to the Atlanta Braves, while Jonathan Schoop went to the Milwaukee Brewers. Thank God I was at work and nowhere near a computer when the news came out. My initial reaction was not pleasant. But after researching the players involved and seeing the money involved, I eventually started to come around.

For Gausman and O’Day, the Orioles received C Brett Cumberland, IF Jean Carlos Encarnacion, LHP Evan Phillips, and RHP Bruce Zimmerman, along with $2.5 million in international slot bonus money. Cumberland is a catching prosect whose bat is a bit ahead of his glove despite improved numbers against opposing base stealers. He gives the Orioles good depth at a position that was looking thin behind Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns.

Encarnacion could prove to be the prize piece of this trade as scouts like his raw power. A free swinger, Encarnacion has put up solid numbers at low-A ball this year, though his 100 K’s and .314 OBP aren’t awe-inspiring. Defensively, he is serviceable at third base with a strong arm. At just 20 years old, his is a name to watch out for in the coming years.

As for Phillips and Zimmerman, Phillips is a right handed reliever with local ties as he is from Salisbury, MD. He made his major league debut earlier this year for Atlanta, and though he struggled, his success at Gwinnett this season (1.99 ERA in 40 games) means he could debut for the Orioles sooner rather than later. Zimmerman is an interesting prospect, also with local ties as he pitched two seasons for Towson University. A fifth-round pick, Zimmerman throws a heavy fastball that stays around 90-93, with a curve and change that could prove to be plus pitches. At High-A and Double-A, Zimmerman is 9-4 with a 2.86 ERA this season and could be major league ready at some point next year.

While these players could pay off in the future, the big impact for the time being is in the international slot bonus money. The Orioles are now up to $8.25 million in slot money and are, according to some, the favorites to sign top prospect Victor Victor Mesa when he becomes available. Should Mesa sign, this deal becomes much more valuable.

For Jonathan Schoop, the Orioles received Jonathan Villar, who will immediately become the starting second baseman for the ballclub upon his return from the disabled list (should be Thursday in Texas), SS Jean Carmona, and RHP Luis Ortiz. Villar led the National League in stolen bases in 2016 with 62 and while he strikes out quite a bit, he also is known to take his fair share of walks. More importantly, the 27-year-old is under team control through 2021, which gives the Orioles time to focus on other positions.

Carmona is still just a kid, playing in his second pro season at just 18 years old. He is a switch-hitter that stands 6’1″ with a frame that should allow him to gain some positive weight, which should lead to solid power numbers as he fills out. He has a strong arm at shortstop but will likely move to third base as he matures add outgrows the position. The tools that Carmona possesses have led to his potential to be described as “an impactful player at the highest level.” Given his age, he, much like Encarnacion, is also a player to keep an eye on in the coming years. As for Ortiz, he is a solid right handed starter that gives the Orioles depth in the minor leagues. It would seem his ceiling is a spot starter with back-end rotation potential.

It’s difficult to ascertain how well the Orioles did with these moves, but the financial implications are certainly positive. The team will save $35 million on next year’s payroll, and have added to their already league-high international slot bonus money. The rebuild is certainly in full swing now, and more moves could still be made before August 31st. Come September, the Orioles roster could be unrecognizable. But that’s what happens when the worst team in baseball decides to blow it up. Strap in, O’s fans. We’re in for a long and bumpy ride.


More knee-jerk reactions as they roll in…

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