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Wednesday’s Bird Droppings: Where the Marlins now have more international signing money than the Orioles

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In O’s news: updates on the GM search, the future of Duquette and Showalter, and the Birds young lefties should model Keuchel

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World Baseball Classic - Pool E - Game 4 - Cuba v Japan Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Morning, Birdland!

If the Orioles do not sign Victor Victor Mesa. Victor Mesa Jr. or Sandy Gaston should we look at the July 2018 sell-off as a massive failure? It’s impossible to know until those three develop, and it will certainly be disappointing, but my inclination is to lean towards “no.”

Mesa is a good player, and an enticing prospect. It’s no mistake that every team with available international money wants him in their organization. He’s the top foreign amateur on the market. But this is not the same market as in year’s past. Last season’s top target was Shohei Ohtani, a consensus all-world talent that has the chance to be an all-time great both on the mound and with the bat. Mesa, simply put, is not that type of player.

The valuation I have commonly seen put on him is similar to that of a mid-to-late first round draft pick. It would be awesome for the Orioles to add another first round pick to their farm system, but it’s not something that will transform the organization overnight.

On top of that, Mesa is a 22-year-old outfielder. The one area that the O’s minor leagues do not really need help is in outfield depth, especially in the high minors, which is where Mesa would end up. Cedric Mullins just debuted in Baltimore. Austin Hays is expected back there soon after an injury-plagued 2018. Yusniel Diaz is the top youngster in the system. Ryan McKenna is rising up prospect lists. And who knows if left field is Ryan Mountcastle’s eventual home. The club has its fill of outfielders.

Mesa Jr. is also an outfielder and Gaston is a young raw pitcher. Both of them are teenagers, so it changes the math a lot. Will they be good? Maybe. Who knows. It could be worth it to find out, but there is a lot of projecting to be done there.

What must come out of this entire process is that the Orioles develop a plan on the international market. There are relationships to be built and processes to learn. It’s not as if they have come up empty. Baseball America has credited them with two signings, and there may be other agreed to pacts that have yet to be signed. These are the early growing pains of a team still learning how to walk in this arena.



The latest non-update update - MASN Sports
As the title suggests, Roch explains that nothing much has officially happened on any front. He does say, however, that the next braintrust the Orioles hire will “push the analytics agenda.” At the same time, Ned Colletti’s name has been bounded about for a job with the O’s, which sounds counter-intuitive.

Marlins Acquire International Pool Money From Astros - MLB Trade Rumors
You can see the official tallies in the MLB Pipeline tweet above. The Marlins set out to add a ton of international signing money, and they have now passed the Orioles total. If cash is the number one driver, the Fish can now out-spend the O’s, but it still looks to be an insufficient amount to land all three of the remaining big-name talents. Perhaps the O’s will be happy with one out of three. Who knows. The whole process has been fairly opaque.

Will Duquette and Showalter get top jobs elsewhere - The Athletic
Perhaps one day, but it’s unlikely to happen in 2019. The league needs some breathing room from the two men that guided the worst team in the sport.

A model for Orioles’ lefty prospects, Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel - Baltimore Sun
Meoli makes the point that the O’s have a ton of “pitchability” southpaws in their system. That’s the exact way that Dallas Keuchel was defined coming through the Houston minor leagues, and he developed into a Cy Young winner. The 2019 season should be a big year for all of them. Zac Lowther and Alex Wells will be challenged in Double-A. Keegan Akin could make it all the way to Baltimore at some point.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is it your birthday? Happy Birthday!

It is also the birthday of Ken Dixon (b. 1960), a right-handed pitcher that accumulated a 4.66 ERA over 482.1 innings for the Orioles over four seasons from 1984-1987. Happy 61st to Kelly Paris, a utility infielder in Baltimore for 10 games between ‘85 and ‘86. And shout out to Jim Hutto, an outfielder for four games during the 1974 season; he turns 71 today.

1971 - The Orioles are defeated 2-1 in game seven of the World Series by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Roberto Clemente hits a home run off of Mike Cuellar and is named series MVP.

1979 - It happened again. The Willy-Stargell led “We Are Family” Pirates defeat the O’s 4-1 in game seven of the World Series. A Rich Dauer home run was the only scoring done by the Birds.