The Orioles will attempt to shape the future of their organization over the next three days with the MLB Draft beginning tonight. This should continue over the next two months as Dan Duquette’s recent comments to the Baltimore Sun indicate he is ready to embrace a rebuild. I emphasize he as we really don’t know who is calling the shots, but at least it appears Duquette understands this season is a disaster and that now is the time to pivot.
We know (well, we hope) the organization can’t screw up the Manny Machado trade and hopefully Zach Britton proves he is healthy before the deadline as well. It will be interesting to see if they would move Adam Jones and if they can get anything of value for Mark Trumbo.
Jones Is Not a Centerfielder Anymore
Speaking of Jones, it has become painful to watch him patrol centerfield. Moving Jones off centerfield isn’t a new idea and at the age of 32, it really shouldn’t be a surprise. It was roughly around this age that Torii Hunter was moved to a corner spot. Jones’ inefficiencies could be hidden a little if he didn’t have corner outfielders who were inadequate on a nightly basis. It was only a couple of years ago that Jones talked about needing more help in the outfield and that fell on deaf ears as the outfield defense for the O’s continues to be subpar. I think there are flaws with defensive sabermetrics, but those stats and our eyes agree here. Jones ranks near the bottom in all the key stats and the outfield as a whole is embarrassingly bad.
This could all be a moot point as there’s a chance Jones will be moved before the deadline and an even greater chance he will leave via free agency after the season. I am actually on board with bringing Jones back as I think he brings more to an organization and community than just his on-field production.
Also, Jones can still hit which these days in Birdland is hard to find. However, he would have to sign off on moving to a corner spot and with Cedric Mullins inching closer to the big leagues, that decision is coming sooner than later.
Mancini and Schoop’s Offensive Struggles
If I wrote down all the things that I thought could go wrong this season, I’m not sure I would have written down the offensive regression of Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop. You could use injuries as an excuse as Schoop landed on the disabled list and Mancini has dealt with a knee injury. Mancini has become a different hitter since crashing his knee into the brick wall, but Schoop has pretty much struggled since the start of the season despite a strong spring training. Hitting can be contagious in either direction and unfortunately, two of the most consistent hitters from last year have been part of the problem in 2018.
It remains to be seen if the organization will try to lock Schoop up long-term and we may be having trade conversations about him beginning in the off-season. Mancini is here for the long haul and the team needs to make it a priority to get him back on track.