submitted by Braden Kletz
At the start of the 2018 season, I along with many others thought the Orioles had a chance to make – or at least get close to – the playoffs. But instead, the Orioles got out to a miserable start, sitting with an 8-27 record at the start of May. With three losing skids of at least five losses in a row in the first two months of baseball, Dan Duquette and ownership had reason for concern for the team. With that in mind, Duquette felt like it was up to him to make a change.
So in the month of July, Duquette traded away some of the best talent Baltimore had ever developed in the snap of a finger. By the end of the month, the likes of Kevin Gausman, Darren O’Day, Manny Machado, Brad Brach, Jonathan Schoop and Zack Britton were gone.
Now, as we approach three years removed from these transactions, I wanted to go and find out how these guys are doing now.
The cork holding this Orioles team together finally burst on the 18th of July, when Machado was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on a rental deal to help LA go for a championship run. We all know how that turned out, and Manny had his choice of destination in free agency. A little less than a month before Bryce Harper decided to go to Philadelphia, Manny made the choice to head to San Diego on a massive 10-year $300 million deal. With a little bit of a shaky start in San Diego, Manny and the Padres are starting to turn it around with the likes of Fernando Tatis Jr. and recent pitching signings. Many have the Padres as World Series favorites, and I really don’t blame them. Manny’s glove is as it’s always been, and if his bat comes around he’ll be back to his standard All-Star level in no time.
After Manny got traded, we knew that there was just about nobody on the team that the Orioles weren’t willing to trade. Although upsetting, Zack Britton coming next was not much of a surprise. After getting traded to the Yankees, Britton still seems to be his consistent self, with an ERA of under 2.00 in both of his seasons in NY. The way I see it, Zack is still his consistent self on the Orioles rival team.
I personally remember Brad Brach being somewhat inconsistent on the mound, but when he was on, he was ON. Brach got traded to the Braves and for the rest of that season, he did pretty well. After that, his outings were a bit more shaky. In 2019, Brach signed with the Mets looking for a fresh start. At 34, he signed a minor-league deal with a Spring Training invite with Kansas City this spring.
The trade that followed is the one that hurt me the most personally: the Jonathan Schoop trade. If you look up nostalgia in the dictionary, there should be a picture of the feeling I get when I picture Manny and Schoop together. Those two were so fun to watch, and my only wish at the time was that those two stayed together. I personally thought Schoop could’ve stayed around for the rebuild, but Duquette thought otherwise and traded him to Milwaukee. Schoop did not have much success with the Brewers in 2018 or the Twins in 2019, but is having more success in Detroit where he’s currently on a one-year deal. Schoop is only 29, and I see a lot of upside in him in the field as well as the plate.
On the same day as the Schoop trade, Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day were sent to Atlanta. O’Day has recently joined Zack Britton in New York, and Gausman just got a one year deal with the Giants worth $18 million. Gausman is coming off of a solid 3.62 ERA season, and O’Day had a nice looking 1.10 ERA over the COVID-shortened season. O’Day is 38, so I’m not expecting many more years out of him, but you never know. Gausman, at 30, could get a big payday if he has a productive 2021, considering how in demand solid starting pitchers are in this day and age.
There’s obviously a lot of debate as to what led up to this blowing up of an entire franchise in a single month, but there’s nothing to do about it now, so I see no point in dwelling on it. All I know is that whenever I see any of these guys playing, I’m rooting for them. Every so often, I check on these guys and see how they’re doing because they were all a massive part of my baseball life just three years ago. There could also be a whole debate as to if these trades got a good enough return, but I think it’s a bit too early to be certain. However, I did see almost all of the prospects the Orioles got on the top 50 Orioles prospects list conducted by Pitchers List, which is the only form of reassurance we have as of this point.
With Mike Elias now at the helm and only two players active that were on that 2018 team, this new era of Orioles baseball will be a journey, and the only way to get by is to have an uncanny amount of hope and patience.