We haven’t written anything in a long while, I’m sure the only people who noticed that was us. The simple fact is the Orioles are a lot less fun to blog about when they are winning and stuff. The sun may be rising over the horizon however. If you ask this kind of blogger who doesn’t know shit about shit, the franchise is not in very good shape at present.
The farm system is a barren wasteland, devoid of any top end talent except for two players who have issues with their arms being permanently detached from their bodies. Below the top end, some decent talent has also been moved for current roster stalwarts Andrew Miller and Gerardo Parra.
Wait a second, I may have to check my facts on that.
I know a lot of Orioles fans fell in love with Trey Mancini after the season he had last year, but scouts still don’t like him. It might have something to do with that minor league walk rate under 5 percent. He is a first baseman, and not a very good one either according to reports, so he’s going to have to be a serious offensive player to stick. Take a look at the first basemen in the majors the last few seasons and show me a productive guy with a walk rate under 5 percent. I’ll wait while you check it out.
SPOILER ALERT: There aren’t any.
Chance Sisco is highly thought of as contact/discipline type hitter and could be a good player if he can stick behind the plate…which doesn’t seem likely. If he has to move to first, which is likely, the bat won’t play without more power.
The major league roster is also pretty damn mediocre on top of it. The team is coming off a .500 season, stands to lose it’s best starting pitcher in 2015 from an already terrible staff, and their slugging first baseman to go with him. As of now, the Orioles are worse than they were last year. Yes, they added Mark Trumbo. Let me tell you a little something about Mark Trumbo: Mark Trumbo is not good. Yes, I know how much people still fall in love with home runs like they are the ultimate measure of a player. They aren’t. Power is Mark Trumbo’s only tool. He doesn’t hit for average, he doesn’t get on base enough becuase he swings far too often, and he is not a good defender anywhere but first base, and his only slightly above league average bat doesn’t play very well there. Mark Trumbo’s ceiling is that of a league average first baseman. Exciting yes?
But wait, they’ve re-signed Darren O’Day and they’re seriously trying to bring back Chris Davis! Fantastic. They gave a 4 year deal to a 33 year old reliever, I see no possible scenario where that doesn’t play out well. The bullpen was already going to be pretty good without O’Day so it seemed like another waste of significant resources to me. Unless of course they were going to get creative and move Zach Britton while moving O’Day to closer. Of course, that isn’t the case as they have already vehemently denied any interest in taking calls on Britton, who will soon get expensive and could get quite a haul. The Orioles only seem to employ any sort of creativity when they are figuring out how to maneuver their roster to keep Delmon Young on the team as long as possible.
As for Davis, who the hell actually knows what is going on there? They made a “competitive” offer, then the offer comes out as 7/150, then it’s rumored it’s upped to 7/168, then that’s shot down, then it’s off the table, then it’s not really off the table. Seriously, what was going on at these meetings? Boras shenanigans, that’s what. Boras/Davis are looking for a contract in the 8 year, 200 million dollar range apparently. My guess is there isn’t another suitor for Davis currently and Boras is trying to get the Orioles to bid against themselves to up the already lofty price. For me, it doesn’t matter which offer was right, pull it. I want no part of a 7 year deal for Chris Davis. Chris Davis is a pretty extreme three true outcomes hitter. Looking over the last couple of decades at these type of hitters, I was only able to find 2 who remained productive into their mid-30s. Jim Thome, a potential Hall of Famer, and Jose Bautista, whose career path is an obvious outlier. Almost every other example was completely washed up 32 or 33. Additionally, Davis has already not been worth a 24MM annual salary in 2 of the last 4 seasons and these are his prime years by baseball standards. It’s not a good bet, and I’d put the odds around 25 percent that he would be worth even the original 7/150MM offer. It’s time to move on.
Matt Wieters is back too!
We get to pay him ~16MM to replace an already adequate catching situation and miss out on the draft pick!
Yes, I’m disappointed about it, but still think extending the qualifying offer was the right move. Still, it does kind of feel like the Orioles are now saddled with him, rather than excitement that he is returning.
So, what should they do? Well, I would have moved their current free agents at the trade deadline last season for prospect and begun “retooling”. Since that is obviously no longer in the cards, they are going to have to increase payroll substantially and focus on multiple players, then get lucky because it still probably won’t be enough. I don’t have as much faith in guys like Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez as others do, I like Kevin Gausman’s arm as much as the next guy, but he still hasn’t shown enough for me to assume he is going to be great. I expect nothing from both Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson. Ubaldo Jimenez? Psssssh. The starting rotation will still be bad, even if they add someone like Scott Kazmir or Yovani Gallardo, both of whom probably don’t move the needle all that much. I have little faith that J.J. Hardy is good ever again. Was Jonathon Schoop’s step back defensively last season a knee issue or is that what he really is? He is unlikely to keep that offensive pace for an entire season if he doesn’t improve his plate discipline. The outfield corners are currently empty and there are no decent designated hitter options either. There’s lots of hole to fill, which will require lots of money since there are no internal options available. Even if they spend what it takes to fill them all with 2nd tier type options, would it even be enough? Add Yovani Gallardo, Pedro Alvarez, and a Will Venable to this team, are they then good enough? I don’t think so.
We could be headed for a rough go next year, and I’m itching to come back from this hiatus.