Though the Baltimore Orioles are reportedly interested in Kansas City Royals pitcher Danny Duffy, they shouldn’t let it distract them from their main goal.
Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports was the first to report Baltimore’s interest in Duffy, who is currently signed through 2021 on a 5-year, $65 million deal.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 14, 2017
Duffy, 28, is the solid pitcher that Baltimore would want in their rotation. He is a lefty veteran, who has a career ERA of 3.73. He will keep the team in games and fight past adversity. However, the Orioles need to focus on their current project: re-building or reloading the team.
The 6’3, 185 lbs. Elephant in the Room
As good as Duffy is, Orioles general manager Dan Duquette, manager Buck Showalter and owner Peter Angelos will most likely meet this weekend to decide on what to do about third baseman Manny Machado. Will they trade Machado, 25, and grab prospects, or will they attempt to ride this season out with uncertainty that Machado will even look in their direction after the 2018 season?
Baltimore has to get as many young pitching assets as they possibly can. They cannot afford to balk on a deal with the Chicago White Sox because their time is almost up. If Baltimore were to acquire Lucas Giolito or Michael Kopech and another starter, along with a prospect, the Orioles could re-up without having to destroy their team in the long-term.
Moving On From Others?
The other issue is, what will Baltimore do about the expiring contracts of closer Zach Britton, center fielder Adam Jones and setup man Brad Brach? If they do decide to move someone, who will it be? Will they keep Jones and trade the others, or will they do the unexpected and trade the heart and soul of their team?
If Baltimore were to move Britton and Brach, their return would be solid. Last season, the Orioles dangled Britton in trade talks, but he was unhealthy. If he proves that he can bounce back with a solid season, it’s a possibility that he gets moved before the MLB Trade Deadline. The Orioles have to continue to attempt to pry young starting pitching away from teams that covet their top two relievers.
Jones probably won’t get moved and he will be in an Orioles uniform for the remainder of his career. Luckily for Baltimore, with his presence still intact, they won’t miss a beat in the locker room.
Baltimore also has first baseman Chris Davis and designated hitter Mark Trumbo on the roster, who both had down seasons. Despite that, I fully expect both players to finish their contracts with the team. Trumbo only has two more seasons left on his deal and Davis has five more seasons. They both can go hot and cold, but when both are on, Baltimore’s offense explodes.
If Trumbo can return to any semblance of his 2016 campaign with Baltimore, where hit a league-high 47 home runs and drove in 108 runs, Baltimore may be able to move his contract to contending AL club. Trumbo isn’t going to play in the field for a contending team, so that may cut into the return that the Orioles could receive.
Davis isn’t going anywhere, but he could still strike for 40 home runs at any time. He has the ability to play at a high level, though it shouldn’t be banked on. Angelos decided to put his funds into Davis pocket because of his ability to hit home runs and if Davis delivers, Baltimore rejoices.
The Orioles’ brass has a lot of decisions to make, but they have to make sure it will benefit their future. They cannot afford to mess this season up because of the amount of personnel in contract years.
This is it.