This off-season has been relatively quiet for the Baltimore Orioles besides a few minor signings. Of course, fans have heard about the Manny Machado trade rumors all off-season.
Jonathan Schoop contract extension talks were hinted a couple times then faded away. And the occasional “Orioles are interested in [insert starting pitcher name here].” But let’s go over a few realistic resolutions for the Baltimore Orioles:
Finish 3rd in the AL East:
While the Boston Red Sox are in full pursuit of outfielding powerhouse J.D. Martinez, and the Yankees looking to build on top of the Giancarlo Stanton trade, the Orioles are going to have an extremely difficult time beating either team for the division title. The Red Sox and Yankees are both loaded from top to bottom, despite some pitching concerns.
The Tampa Bay Rays traded Evan Longoria to the San Francisco Giants earlier this off-season. And if the rumors are true, the Rays will be looking to deal Chris Archer which eleveates another boulder off the Orioles shoulders. The Blue Jays have also been quiet this off-season doing nothing major to improve the team outside of acquiring the former all-star short stop Aledmys Diaz.
The Orioles were only five games behind the Rays for 3rd place in the AL East and one game behind the Blue Jays for 4th place. And if the Orioles don’t make any drastic moves involving their starting rotation then they’re easily aiming no higher than 3rd place this year, which could be just enough for a wild spot.
Trade Manny Machado ASAP:
For the love of the Baltimore Orioles fan base just trade him. Each day that goes by teams will just decide to wait out the 2018 season to throw money at Machado in the off-season when he’s a free agent. And the longer the Orioles wait, the less flashy trade offers will become.
It’s unfortunate any Orioles fan is talking about trading a player that has the potential to be the greatest in team history but they aren’t the Yankees. They can’t just pay a player $300 million and have everything be alright, especially with that lucrative Chris Davis contract holding back the entire organization.
Rumors swirled around a deal with the Cubs that would send Addison Russell, Mike Montgomery, and a few prospects to the Orioles for Machado. If this is truly the best deal the Orioles can get then just take it and make the most of it.
Sign One Solid Starting Pitcher:
The Cubs trade I mentioned earlier would give the Orioles the ability to spend money elsewhere on a solid pitcher without hesitation and put Montgomery in the fourth slot of the rotation. This will leave the fifth spot open for competition within the organization which is actually fine. It might motivate those given the opportunity to pitch better and work for a higher paying contract.
So the Orioles having a rotation of: Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Lynn/Cashner/ Alex Cobb, Montgomery and a pitcher within the Orioles organization isn’t necessarily terrible. It’s not flashy but it would suffice for a possible wild card spot.
If the Orioles have zero intention of trading Machado then they need to pull out all stops this off-season. And by that I mean they need to go get two solid starting pitchers to put behind Bundy and Gausman so the team could actually make a run for the playoffs.
No, there’s not much being asked here of the Orioles. Expectations are as low as they have ever been since Dan Duquette became the General Manager of the Orioles. The same old song and dance of building a lineup full of power hitters, trading prospects for half-year pitching rentals, and not being able to sign anybody with any true worth (besides players like Nelson Cruz), is getting old.
I’m actually getting tired of hearing about all of this because I just have this odd feeling they’re not going to do squat to truly improve the team. It’s almost like they have a history of doing such things.