Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Orioles are fascinating

At least to me they are anyways.

See, I remember the playoffs, and even more vividly, the firesale of 1997. I was there for a game in Cal's final year (2001), and have paid attention to the Orioles and their shenanigans.

To me, the Orioles struggled for so long due not to bad luck, but poor choices.

Look at the Orioles roster in times past, and you'll see free agents that weren't worth the money (Miguel Tejada, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, etc.), and for a baseball team outside of New York, you can't really afford to make big bet after big bet on free agents and keep losing those bets. Those roster spots are lost to the prospects that need to develop, and those prospects are what's going to lead you out of the wilderness and into long-term success.

Though I should point out how few of their current line-up/pitching staff they actually developed. And this leads to a second point: trades wherein you dump overvalued (or unsignable) talent onto other teams for prospects, and wait for the results.

Mark Reynolds: Acquired from the D'Backs. He's a true three-outcome hitter, but that power was something we need. Gave up two pitchers to acquire him, including David Hernandez, but I liked this trade.

JJ Hardy: Traded from the Brewers to the Twins for Carlos Gomez and then the Twins traded him and Brendan Harris to the Orioles for ... junk. Seriously, I didn't understand it at the time and I still don't understand it now, when Hardy's power and glove have made for nearly 7 WAR in two seasons, and the Twins have gotten -0.6 WAR from the pitchers they got.

Robert Andino: Fleeced the Florida Marlins for Hayden Penn.

Matt Wieters: Wait, he's one of ours!

Wilson Betemit and Nate McLouth: Vets bought on the cheap. Decent placeholders to keep spots warm.

Adam Jones: This was widely recognized as a terrible trade for the Mariners at the time, and it's only going to get funnier as time goes on. Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, George Sherrill and others for Erik Bedard. Look, I liked Erik Bedard, as I am fascinated by left-handedness, but when I saw what we got for him, I was ecstatic, since we weren't going anywhere for a few years. George Sherrill actually was decent, but it's the SP and OF that mattered for us. While I do recall people talking of Jones being the next Griffey, Jr., that wasn't in the cards... but that's fine, 13 WAR by 26 is fine by me thank you.

Nick Markakis: While some may see him as a disappointment, he's a fine piece to have. Not going to be overvalued anytime soon, but it's nice to have another Orioles-only prospect turn up.

Chris Davis: This is the one trade that, while it made sense on paper, the trade for him and Tommy Hunter in exchange for Koji Uehara (a pitcher with great control and hilarious splits) hasn't panned out yet. And did we need another Reynolds on defense?

For the pitchers:

Wei-Yin Chen: Japanese vet.

Tommy Hunter: Acquired from the Rangers.

Jason Hammel: When he and Matt Lindstrom were traded for Jeremy Guthrie, I thought this might not work out, but Hammel's been a key starter, Lindstrom was swapped for Joe Saunders and Guthrie's already been traded from the Rockies. Clear win.

Jake Arrieta: Actually one from the farm. Yay!

Zach Britton and Brian Matusz: I think there is plenty of potential here, but these two need to step up, though Matusz might still be having injury issues. Both come from the farm.

Chris Tillman: Makes the Bedard trade even worse for Mariners fans.

Miguel Gonzalez: Scooped up from the Red Sox, which amuses me given the state of Boston's pitching staff.

Jim Johnson: Another of ours.

Luis Ayala: Journeyman who started out with Expos.

Pedro Strop: Taken from Rangers for Mike Gonzalez. I was happy we got anything for Gonzalez, and that he's useful is icing on the proverbial cake.

Darren O'Day: picked up off waivers from the Rangers.


So, to conclude, it becomes very apparent that our roster is not full of players who the Orioles signed, developed and played. But if we are better at identifying and picking up other team's scraps, and making something of it, that's the way we ought to go for now.

I am excited to see what Tyler Bundy and Manny Machado do, but I can wait. I've waited this long for a contender, I can wait on a couple more prospects to mature.

No comments:

Post a Comment