More so than perhaps any other team in the majors, the Orioles like to keep their cards close to the vest when it comes to transaction rumors. After the Dexter Fowler fiasco in 2016, media members are lucky to get anything out of the decision makers in Baltimore. There’s nothing wrong with the philosophy, but it can be frustrating as a fan.
With the Orioles nearing the deadline, fans are getting thirsty for any sort of information as to which way the club is planning to go. Unfortunately, with tight-lipped executives, it’s hard to get a sense of what the hell will happen.
Most of the fan base is wishing for at least a partial rebuild, but even in an era of media that turns organizational strategies into public information, the Orioles have been sending mixed messages left and right. It’s hard to follow to say the least.
- July 8- Ken Rosenthal says Orioles are unsure how they’ll approach the deadline
- July 16- Ken Rosenthal says Dan Duquette is informing teams that he is willing to deal his top relievers and Seth Smith
- July 17th- Roch Kubatko reiterates that the Orioles are willing to move Smith, Castillo, and Kim, but that while they’ll listen to offers for relievers, they aren’t officially “available.”
- July 18th- Rosenthal reports that Angelos has given Duquette his approval to explore trades
- July 22nd- Dan Duquette speaks to fans at the State of the Orioles event, and it doesn’t sound like he plans on selling. He added that the second wild card spot brings hope.
- July 26th- Jerry Crasnick says the Orioles are prepared to go either way at the deadline.
What to make of all of this
It’s hard to tell what the Orioles are thinking at the moment, and even more difficult to try to get an idea as to what they’ve been doing behind the scenes. From the outside, it appears they don’t even have a plan themselves, but you have to imagine that they’ve certainly been exchanging calls with teams at the very least.
If you follow the timeline as it pertains to the Orioles on the field, you can see the logic developing, as misguided as it may be. Shortly after every source out there started announcing the Orioles’ partial rebuild, the team went on a four game winning streak and Duquette began to sing a different tune.
Fans have to hope that the front office couldn’t have possibly been swayed by a four game winning streak. Since the team’s last four-game winning streak in early May, the O’s have gone 26-43. Pretty much the pace of a 100-game loser.
It makes no sense not to try to sell guys like Kim, Smith, and Castillo given the Orioles excess in platoon outfielders and the hot bat of Chance Sisco in AAA. But, given recent comments, don’t be surprised if the rest of the team stays the same.
With Britton’s value seemingly nowhere near what the team expected, the O’s may decide to wait. After all, they do have another year to deal everyone else if they don’t see the returns they were expecting in the coming days.
Pray the O’s don’t become buyers
Fans need to hope that “going either way” at the deadline refers to a spectrum that ranges from selling to doing nothing. No further. Even though the Birds sit only a few games out of the second wildcard spot, their starting rotation doesn’t resemble a playoff team, or even a .500 team.
The Orioles rotation doesn’t even resemble the 2003 staff led by Jason Johnson, Pat Hentgen, and Sidney Ponson. And that team went on to lose 91 games. Omar Daal started 17 games with an ERA of 6.34 that year, remember him? Well, he’d be an improvement over Tillman and Ubaldo at this point. Rick Helling started 24 games with an ERA similar to Gausman’s and Miley’s. I repeat, the 2003 team lost 91 games with a superior rotation.
The O’s aren’t a deadline starter away from contending, at this point they need four. Heck, if the team monitors innings to protect Bundy’s arm, the only one with a WHIP under 1.60, they’d need five. There’s no way the front office doesn’t see this. At the very least, it sounds like the Orioles won’t be buyers despite Duquette’s speech at the State of the Orioles.
Are you guys fine with standing pact to give it another run in 2018? Is that the worst idea in the world, or do you think we should sell anyone and everyone? Is there anyone left that thinks the Orioles should be buyers? Pop in the comments and let us know.