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O's at deadline: called third strike


O's at deadline: called third strike

All right, you knew this was coming. When the national media start compiling their trading deadline winners and losers, which list do you think the Orioles end up on?

At SI.com, Jay Jaffee doesnt rank the losers; he just lists them in alphabetical order. So that makes the Baltimore Orioles second.

Jaffe writes: Their 51 run differential heading into Wednesdays game still suggests theyre more pretender than contender. With a rotation that ranks 10th in the league in ERA at 4.73, they would have been helped only so much by the addition of Joe Blanton.

But the issues went beyond pitching.

They also missed an opportunity to shore up any one of a number of positions first base, second base, left field that they could have used offensive help. It wouldnt have made sense to deal blue-chippers Dylan Bundy or Manny Machado, but for general manager Dan Duquette to do nothing that would at least increase the odds that they finish over .500 for the first time since 1997 was a missed opportunity.

FoxSports.com came to the same conclusion, that the Os needed to get a move done, given the unexpectedly positive tone surrounding their season overall. Baltimore needed more significant July upgrades than Jim Thome and Omar Quintanilla in order to make a serious playoff push.

And once more, from SportingNews.com: Blanton is nothing special but would have been an upgrade to a Baltimore rotation that has one healthy starter with a sub-4.46 ERA.

Yes, yes and yes. We agree it was extremely discouraging for the Orioles postseason aspirations to see no moves this week. Regardless of how much difference Blanton would have made overall, he would have been something. And that would have meant a sign of trying to take a real shot this year.

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What could the Orioles have done differently with Manny Machado?

What could the Orioles have done differently with Manny Machado?

Brooks. Cal. Eddie. Frank. Earl.

For most Orioles icons, last names aren’t necessary. That will never be the case for Manny Machado.

In failing to extend the most purely talented player in franchise history, the Orioles cost themselves not just another one-namer for Legends Park, but also a chance to stay competitive and reload, rather than be forced into a rebuild.

With the benefit of hindsight, every organization in baseball would love to make certain moves differently. Machado should have either been an Oriole for life or the centerpiece to a franchise-altering trade.

Instead, the front office held on too long, removing the most valuable asset teams covet: years of control. As a result, the O’s found themselves with a star they couldn’t afford and a league unwilling to pay them top dollar for a rental. Halfway through a lost season, in which the team was out of playoff contention by June, the Orioles had no good options.

So, what could they have done differently? The most obvious answer is to avoid the situation entirely.

It’s no surprise to hear the front office bungled negotiations with Machado throughout his time in Baltimore. Reports suggest they were interested in an extension but scared off after multiple knee surgeries (both of which came on fluky injuries). Other reporting claims the sides came close to an extension, but Peter Angelos balked at a difference of $10 million.

Chump change for a man like Angelos, and it may have been all that kept Machado from sticking around.

Make no mistake, the Orioles, who once went more than *1,000 days* without reaching out to their best player to discuss an extension, put themselves in this unenviable position. What could they have done differently? Just about everything, especially in the years leading into 2018.

2012 and 2014 provided incredibly memorable postseason runs that Baltimore fans will never forget. They were fun, exciting and worthy of the resources put into those teams.

But 2014 was four years before the end of Machado’s contract, and the team was never close to contention again. Instead of recognizing when it was time to start over, GM Dan Duquette decided to make trades for other team’s rentals, giving up talented players for veterans who never moved the needle. He decided (or was forced by ownership) to pay an exorbitant amount to Chris Davis, the archetype of a slugging first baseman who in the course of baseball history has never aged well.

The lack of self-evaluation cost them value in the short term and wins in the long term, and it added up to completely take them out of the running to keep Machado.

Which brings us to the trade itself.

The Orioles received OF Yusniel Diaz, SP Dean Kremer, INF Rylan Bannon, RP Zach Pop and INF Breyvic Valera from Los Angeles last July in exchange for Machado.
Five guys is a lot to get back for one, but the truth is, the haul looks underwhelming. Diaz is the only player to appear on any top 100 prospect lists, and even he brings split opinions among evaluators. It doesn’t help that he’s struggled mightily since joining the organization. Kremer is the only other one who looks like a future contributor.

In an era of baseball in which star power is more important than ever, the Orioles settled for a top 100 prospect defined by his floor rather than his ceiling, with no more than depth pieces behind him. Sure, there’s value in depth, especially considering the state of the team’s farm system. But no player the O’s got back will ever come close to the success Machado found in Baltimore, and that’s disappointing.

It’s even harder to swallow when comparing to other recent deals. Just two years earlier, the Yankees brought back Gleyber Torres for three months of Aroldis Chapman. Manny Machado, an infinitely more valuable player than Chapman, topped out with Diaz.

It’s hard to say what they should have done differently without knowing the offers on the table, but it’s clear the O’s weren’t willing to pay part of Machado’s salary or take back any bad contracts, moves that would have brought additional prospects. For a team with no designs on competing anytime soon, and therefore no reason to invest big money in the big league club, that’s another disappointment.

The Machado trade was the most important move in recent memory for the franchise, and they let a lame duck GM coordinate it. When asking what could have been done differently, this is hard to ignore.

It rarely works out to have someone make major decisions for which he or she will not be around to suffer the consequences. Duquette wasn’t trying to sabotage the franchise with this move, but his vision probably doesn’t coincide with Mike Elias’. If ownership knew they weren’t retaining Duquette’s service after the season, which seems like a safe bet, why let him orchestrate such a critical trade deadline?

It all comes back to a disturbing lack of foresight with decision-makers in the organization. Hindsight may be 20/20, but foresight shouldn’t require a microscope. It was obvious to all who followed the team where this was headed, yet the Orioles continued to dig themselves into a hole, and no one came to bail them out.

Considering the situation they were in, the trade doesn’t look like an abject disaster. It certainly could have been worse. But it would have been nice to see the team go after some players with higher upside.

Nicer still would have been avoiding the situation altogether.

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Orioles Roundup: Andrew Cashner earns seventh win this season

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Orioles Roundup: Andrew Cashner earns seventh win this season

The Birds seemed more like spring chickens as they topped the Seattle Mariners. Here are the news and notes from the West coast victory.

Player Notes:

  • Andrew Cashner came to win. After allowing an RBI double in the bottom of the first, the 32-year-old pitcher didn't see another hit until the sixth inning. After six, Cashner's WHIP is down to 1.31 and ERA at 4.37.
  • Jonathan Villar absolutely rocked Seattle. His home run ninth home run of the season gave the Orioles a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning. On two steal attempts (one successful), he stole his 15th base of the season.
  • Although he went 1-for-4, Anthony Santander's two-run home run off Gerson Bautista extended the Orioles lead by two in the sixth inning. Santander tallied his seventh RBI in the past 16 games on his second homer of the season.


  • SP Josh Means (shoulder): 10-day IL, status uncertain

  • OF Trey Mancini (elbow): sidelined, day-to-day

  • RP Josh Lucas (shoulder): 10-day IL, out indefinitely

  • OF DJ Stewart (ankle): 10-day IL, out indefinitely

  • SP Alex Cobb (back): 60-day IL, returns in 2020

  • SP Nate Karns (arm): 60-day IL, out indefinitely

  • DH Mark Trumbo (knee): 60-day IL, out indefinitely

Coming Up:

Sunday, 6/23: Orioles @ Mariners, 4:10 p.m. ET, T-Mobile Park

Tuesday, 6/25: Orioles vs Padres, 7:05 p.m. ET, Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Wednesday, 6/26: Orioles vs Padres, 3:05 p.m. ET, Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Source: Rotoworld