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Orioles sit out otherwise hectic 2019 MLB Trade Deadline

Orioles sit out otherwise hectic 2019 MLB Trade Deadline

Last season, the Orioles underwent a complete makeover, swinging deals involving Manny Machado, Kevin Gausman and Jonathan Schoop, among others.

This season, they opted for a quieter, less-chaotic deadline.

Rather than trade any of their controllable assets, the Orioles held on to players like Trey Mancini, Mychal Givens, Dylan Bundy and Jonathan Villar. None of these players were likely to bring back major prospect hauls, but all could have played valuable roles for contenders around the sport if teams were willing to pay.

Clearly, GM Mike Elias didn’t feel any received offers were worth pursuing, and now the O’s will push forward with what they have in-house. 

It makes sense from Baltimore’s perspective. Last season, Machado was in the final year of his contract. Nearly every tradeable asset on this year’s roster is under team control beyond 2019, which gives the team flexibility moving forward. Mancini and Givens can still be traded in the offseason, if Elias is so inclined.

Of course, it may just be that the Orioles didn’t have any interest in trading some of these players, period. Trey Mancini is showing signs of a legitimate power breakout and the front office may be reluctant to risk seeing him shine in another city.

One of the trickier aspects of a major rebuild is timing. Mancini is under team control for multiple seasons, but will he still be a quality contributor by the time the Orioles are ready to contend again? It’s a question without an obvious answer, so Elias is making decisions based on incomplete information. How he views the team's timeline certainly informs his decisions on which players to keep and which to trade away.

It was unclear how the new, singular MLB Trade Deadline would impact decision-making around the league. While it was a slow day in Baltimore, many trades made splashes around the league. Zack Greinke is an Astro, Trevor Bauer is a Red, and Noah Syndergaard is (still) a Met.

The Orioles are certainly looking forward to the day when they are once again buyers, not sellers. But fans should take heart that the front office is unwilling to make trades just for the sake of creating headlines. 

Elias’ top priority is upgrading the overall talent pipeline within the organization. If the offers weren’t there, then his inaction represents a successful day for the franchise.

Plus, now fans get to enjoy a few more Trey Mancini bombs and Mychal Givens strikeouts for at least the next couple months. That’s a win-win for everybody.

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Orioles announce family-friendly time changes to their regular season schedule

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Orioles announce family-friendly time changes to their regular season schedule

The Orioles announced significant changes to their regular-season schedule Thursday, making it more family-friendly during non-summer months. 

According to Joe Trezza, the Orioles will start at 6:35 p.m. ET for games that occur before Memorial Day and after Labor Day. Home games during the summer will retain their 7:05 p.m. ET start time.

Major League Baseball saw a record 3:05:35 average run time for games in 2019 despite changes made before 2018 to cut mound visits without pitching changes. 

With the average length of a game longer than ever and the fact that the Orioles have finished last in the AL East in three consecutive seasons, this is seemingly a smart move to get more fans out to Camden Yards. 

John Means finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting after a surprising season, so the Orioles days as the butt of most baseball-related jokes could be nearing an end. 

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Orioles' John Means falls short in AL Rookie of the Year voting

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Orioles' John Means falls short in AL Rookie of the Year voting

It was always going to be an uphill climb. Now? It’s reality.

John Means did not become the first Oriole to win the AL Rookie of the Year award in 20 years.

The surprising ace finished second behind Yordan Alvarez in this year’s voting. The result is less of a surprise, as Alvarez utterly dominated opponents at the plate all year long. From the moment he was promoted in June, Alvarez was one of the best hitters in baseball. 

By wRC+, an all-encompassing offensive metric, he was actually the second-best hitter in baseball behind only Mike Trout. And he owned the best OPS for a rookie in MLB history.

He accomplished all this while hitting in the middle of the most formidable lineup in baseball, a Houston unit that carried them to the American League pennant.

Alvarez didn’t enjoy the most prolific postseason of all-time, but he still pitched in with a few big hits against the Nationals in the World Series. His hot streak in the Fall Classic actually allowed him to lead the Astros in both batting average and OPS against the Nats.

For so many reasons, Alvarez earned his unanimous first-place finish. But don’t let that diminish Means’ year.

A non-prospect who was made the Orioles roster out of Spring Training, Means was the team’s lone All-Star representative this season. He held his own in the vaunted AL East, and was the clear-cut second-best rookie in the AL in 2019.

Means’ great season helped him receive 16 second-place votes, while no other candidate received more than six.

In a long, trying season, Means stood out as one of the most pleasant surprises for the Orioles in recent memory. The organization has long struggled to develop starting pitching, which has constantly placed them behind the 8-ball in their division. If the front office can unearth a few more hidden gems in the coming seasons, the rebuild may just work out after all.

Brandon Lowe of the Rays rounded out the top three finishers, while Eloy Jimenez finished fourth.

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