The Orioles wake up on August 1 looking different than they did yesterday morning, with an even greater transformation having happened since the calendar has turned to July. We have now had a little while to get used to Manny Machado and Zach Britton being gone and the dust is starting to settle on moves that also shipped out Kevin Gausman, Darren O’Day, Jonathan Schoop, and Brad Brach.
Like it or not, it all adds up to the Orioles striding boldly in the direction of rebuilding. In an interview blitz across O’s media on Tuesday night, GM Dan Duquette repeatedly likened the series of moves to tearing down a house, noting that sometimes you have to start over rather than try to renovate one room at a time.
Now that it is clear that the great Orioles era from the recent past is staying in the past and that the next good Orioles team will look nothing like the last good Orioles team, how are you feeling about it all?
Before chiming in with your thoughts, let’s quickly run through all of the trades one more time.
Manny Machado traded to the Dodgers for OF Yusniel Diaz, RHP Dean Kremer, 3B Rylan Bannon, RHP Zach Pop, and IF Breyvic Valera
For two and a half months of Machado, the Orioles received five players headlined by the Cuban outfielder, Diaz, who in the opinion of some evaluators immediately became the best Orioles prospect in the system. He was the #57 prospect in baseball in the recent MLB Pipeline top 100 update.
Kremer, Bannon, and Pop were not such high-ranked players, but they were all performing well at their levels this season and the O’s are surely hoping that performance will continue for at least one or two of them. One thing that’s interesting about these four players is that they are all 21 or 22. Valera seems likely to be the latest player the Orioles try to make stick as a utility player.
Zach Britton traded to the Yankees for RHP Dillon Tate, LHP Josh Rogers, and RHP Cody Carroll
A different kind of trade here. Tate is a star-crossed one-time top prospect now with his third organization. He has battled injuries and other problems since being drafted at #4 overall in the 2015 draft. He is already 24.
Carroll, a reliever, is also on the older side at 25. He has already been called up to the Orioles. He throws hard and maybe has a hard time throwing strikes, which probably puts him in the vein of Tanner Scott. Rogers, also 24, is almost the archetypal “crafty lefty” who doesn’t overwhelm with velocity and doesn’t walk many guys.
Brad Brach traded to the Braves for $250,000 in international signing bonus money
This trade made me sad for Brach that he wasn’t even good enough to be traded for a player, but when you’re a free agent-to-be reliever with a 1.769 WHIP... It was of immediate interest because the Orioles actually traded FOR international slot money, which Duquette claims they will actually start using very soon.
Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day traded to the Braves for 3B Jean Carlos Encarnacion, C Brett Cumberland, RHP Evan Phillips, LHP Bruce Zimmermann, and $2.5 million in international $
I didn’t think the Orioles would actually go there and trade the guys with team control beyond 2018. They sure proved me wrong, also unloading O’Day’s salary on the Braves in the process. Was there a version of the trade where better prospects were offered but not O’Day? If so, the Orioles made a disappointing choice.
Disappointing is the word; even Gausman himself acknowledged he felt that he did not reach his full potential here. So even though he had two years of control left after this year, what’s that worth if the Braves don’t know what he will be?
The answer was four players, the highest of whom rated at #14 in the Braves system (Encarnacion), though at least one other publication, Fangraphs, really likes Cumberland and thinks he could be a good bat-first catcher.
Lots of Maryland connections here. Phillips was born in Salisbury, Zimmermann was born in Baltimore and played baseball at Towson, and Cumberland is named Cumberland.
Can they play? Phillips has been a strikeout machine with high walk totals in the minors - again, a Scott type, while Zimmermann was a senior sign last season who piqued the Braves interest enough that they promoted him as high as Double-A this season. Cumberland had a .367 OBP at High-A before getting promoted. What’s not to like about that?
The large amount of international money is going to become a lot more interesting if the Orioles use it on Cuban outfielder Victor Victor Mesa, the #1 prospect in this international signing class, who has not yet been declared eligible by MLB to sign.
Jonathan Schoop traded to the Brewers for RHP Luis Ortiz, SS Jean Carmona, and INF Jonathan Villar
Villar is a six-year MLB veteran who stole 62 bases in 2016, though he has only stolen 14 so far this year.
Ortiz and Carmona are the actual prospects. Before the season, Ortiz, 22, was labeled by Fangraphs as a likely “strike-throwing mid-rotation starter,” which isn’t the most exciting of descriptions, but if it keeps the O’s from having to sign more Alex Cobbs, that’s still a plus. Carmona is only 18 years old and Duquette talked about how the switch-hitter has power from both sides of the plate. I hope he’s right!
Please log your thoughts in the poll below, and if you’d like to go more in depth with how you feel about all of this, the comments are open for you below, as long as you’re not a jerk.
What best describes your feeling about the Orioles rebuilding effort right now?
This poll is closed
This is an exciting time to be an Orioles fan!
I’m cautiously optimistic about all of this.
This could be good and it could be terrible.
I’m nervous that this isn’t going to work out.
The Orioles have made a series of huge mistakes.
I am not emotionally equipped to process these trades.