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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles aren’t getting better

A bunch of 2019’s worst teams have made moves to try to improve in 2020. The O’s aren’t one of them.

MLB: Game One - Houston Astros at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

You’ve got to give the Orioles credit: they have a plan, and they’re sticking to it, for better or for worse. They won’t let their rebuilding effort be sidetracked by veteran signings or trade acquisitions that might marginally improve the club’s record in 2020. They’re building for sustained success several years down the road, no matter how awful the present-day version of the club might be.

That makes them a bit of an outlier among 2019’s losing teams, many of whom have taken steps — some modest, some dramatic — to improve their rosters for 2020. Take the White Sox, who were 72-89 this past season and have had seven straight losing years. They’ve been among this winter’s most active teams, most recently signing veteran DH Edwin Encarnacion to complement their previous acquisitions of Dallas Keuchel, Yasmani Grandal, Gio Gonzalez, and Nomar Mazara.

Or how about the Rangers? After a 78-84 season, they’re going for broke, restocking their rotation with Corey Kluber, Kyle Gibson, and Jordan Lyles. The Angels (72-90) just shelled out $245 million over seven years for Anthony Rendon. The Orioles’ fellow AL East also-rans, the Blue Jays (67-95), inked ace Hyun-Jin Ryu for $80 million after previously acquiring Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson for their pitching staff. Even the lowly Tigers, the only team worse than the Orioles in 2019, signed a couple of veteran sluggers in C.J. Cron and old friend Jonathan Schoop.

Obviously, many of those teams were in a better position than the Orioles to begin with. With the possible exception of the Tigers, those clubs are closer to contention and already have a solid core in place, something the O’s sorely lack. I’m not suggesting the Birds should have acquired all or any of those players, given the current state of their franchise.

Still, as other teams make incremental improvements, the O’s seem destined for a 2020 club that’s just as bad or worse than this year’s, perhaps putting them on track for the No. 1 draft pick in 2021. It could pay off in the long run. But the short-term future won’t be pretty.


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