Tap-In Question: Do you agree with Duquette that the Orioles have a legitimate playoff shot? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Connolly's Tap Room

Tap-In Question: Do you agree with Duquette that the Orioles have a legitimate playoff shot?

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

I gave you a little time to think about it, to decide whether you’re OK with what the Orioles did – and didn’t do – at the trade deadline.

I gave you a little time to read some articles, listen to talk radio, converse with fans at other blogs.

You can even check out my WOYK radio show from Tuesday – click on the arrow at the end of the piece or the station’s link — that featured MLB.com’s Orioles reporter Brittany Ghiroli and I talking about the Orioles and the trade deadline.

My point at the Tap Room today: You should be well-versed in the Orioles’ transactions this past week. You should be ready to opine when the time comes.

To recap:

The Orioles sent outfielder Hyun Soo Kim, Double-A lefty reliever Garrett Cleavinger, 23, and international bonus slots to the Philadelphia Phillies for veteran right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, who makes his Orioles debut Wednesday night against the Royals.

They then dealt Short-A right-hander Tobias Myers, 18, to the Tampa Bay Rays for shortstop Tim Beckham, who made his O’s debut Tuesday night in the Orioles’ 7-2 win over the Royals.

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Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette did not sell any of his coveted pieces for prospects and instead said the Orioles still are in this whole, pennant-race thing.

And the Orioles have kept their part of the agreement by winning four straight, including their second consecutive against the Royals, who currently hold the second AL Wild Card spot. A 52-54 record is nothing to get excited about, but the Orioles were seven games under .500 on July 16, when they were swept by the Chicago Cubs to kickoff the season’s second half.

And now they are within two games of an even record for the first time since July 3. Starting Thursday, 17 of their next 20 games are against clubs that are currently below .500.

So, are you a believer that they are trending in the right direction? Or are you waiting for another inevitable downturn? Are you stuck in the middle?

I’ve told you how I feel; I think they missed an opportunity to rebuild the farm system at the trade deadline. But if they were going for it, they should have further addressed their starting pitching issues. I feel like they stayed in neutral, didn’t plan one way or the other.

Now, the bartender is all ears. I want your thoughts here:

Because, these Orioles are inching closer to the Wild Card’s second spot. This can’t be answered definitively right now, but did it make sense for the Orioles to stay the course?

Or, let me put it another way:

Tap-In Question: Do you agree with Duquette that the Orioles still have a legitimate playoff shot?

43 Comments

43 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 2, 2017 at 7:27 am

    Absolutely they have a legitimate playoff shot!! Why not?

    And I absolutely disagree with you Dan, in that I believe Duquette DID address the starting pitching to the best of the organizations reasonable ability. If they would have gone after a Darvish or Gray, they would have had to have sold the farm. And isn’t that what most around here bemoan the Orioles for .. a lack of players down on the farm?

    Abso-freaking-lutely our O’s have a legitimate playoff shot! And let those of you who disagree with me drink sarsaparillas the rest of the season.

    Go O’s!!

    • Creatively_19

      August 2, 2017 at 8:49 am

      I think we need to have a get together at the bar for an O’s game for this forum. Menu is coffee with bourbon and sarsaparillas.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 2, 2017 at 9:29 am

        I have to admit … that’s indeed a creative idea.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 2, 2017 at 9:31 am

      I agree that they didn’t have what it took to get Gray/Yu. But if you are going for it you’ve got to get better starting P and there were guys — Straily for instance — reportedly on the block. And they have 3 slots open next year and don’t spend big $ on free agent P. A rotation trade now and for the future would have benefitted a team that is going for it. Again, that wouldn’t have been my direction. But a third-in — not even half in — bothers me.

      • Creatively_19

        August 2, 2017 at 9:52 am

        Straily though would have been a stretch for the O’s. The Marlins were on the fence about dealing him in the first place, and they’re not exactly gearing up for next season, plus the ownership thing they got going on right now is confusing things, so I wouldn’t have called him a realistic target for the O’s.

  2. Beeb

    August 2, 2017 at 8:06 am

    As a fan, it’s fun to think that there is still a chance. This is the time of year when Buck does his best managing. It looks like the hard call on Tillman will need to be made soon. Logically, “so there’s a chance” is only because winning resulting from good pitching springs hope eternal. Will that fall back to earth?

    • Dan Connolly

      August 2, 2017 at 9:33 am

      My gut says yes. Because you don’t pitch to a near 6.00 rotation ERA in four months by accident.

  3. UpTheOs

    August 2, 2017 at 8:07 am

    They have a relatively small, but just about there chance of making the playoff, singular.

    There’s no chance of being the division winner, very little chance of being the first wildcard, so the very best case scenario, based on them being several games better than the three teams ahead of them and the Angels just behind over the rest of the season, they’re in a one game crapshoot at to get into the Divison series.

    FiveThirtyEight has the odds at 12%, up a bit with four wins in a row, but still, that’s only one in eight. It would be a pretty incredible achievement from where they were, and pretty frustrating if after all that they get beaten in the wildcard game.

    Even if they win it, who do they come up against in the Divisional series – the Astros. Good luck winning that one. If the decision at the trade deadline was what was best to do to get to the playoff(s), I can see why they didn’t sell, but if it was how to bring a World Series to Baltimore, they had to sell. This team cannot, will not win a World Series, so they need to rebuild into one that can.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 2, 2017 at 9:33 am

      Nicely put. Drink chip.

  4. The Wedge

    August 2, 2017 at 8:32 am

    I’d say it made sense to stay the course only because that’s what we’ve come to expect here. This is not a regime that believes in giving up. As we know, they “like their guys” (for good reason) and there was little doubt they’d ride it out with this cast for as long as possible. I’m still not convinced they were that serious about dealing Zach, either. Personally, I love the stubborn refusal to concede and am glad the team is more or less (sorry, HSK) intact.

    Now, do I agree with Duq about their playoff chances? Yep, without question. Mediocrity abounds throughout the whole AL. Honestly, I’m not even that impressed by Houston; O’s really should’ve swept them here. Let a couple of these teams in front of the O’s beat up on each other, while the O’s handle their own business and knock around a team or two in front of them -as they’re currently doing – and they’ll be right there. I won’t dismiss their division chances just yet, either; they’ve long proven they can hold their own with the Yanks and Sox, and neither of those teams looks like they can sustain a hot streak so far this year.

    If this SP continues to roll (need Tilly to at least get to about 75% of his old self, with UJ duplicating last year’s 2nd half clutchness), their PS chances become more than “legitimate” – I’d dare say they’d be in the driver’s seat, at least for one of those slots.

    First things first, though – let’s sweep KC out of here and beat up on this stretch of tomato cans we’ve got coming up on the sked.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 2, 2017 at 9:25 am

      I LIKE this guy! Where’ve you been Wedge?

    • Dan Connolly

      August 2, 2017 at 9:36 am

      Holy Optimism, Wedge. You have a new best friend in Boog. And you can buy him a fake drink with a fake drink chip I’ve tossed your way.

  5. general81

    August 2, 2017 at 8:43 am

    I’m with Boog on this one. Yes, it’s a big if for our starters to continue pitching they way they have recently, but as we all said in 1989, Why Not? And who knows? Manny is starting to warm up, Beckham may provide an offensive spark, Britton is healthy … and given our schedule, it’s not far-fetched to see us make some noise in the pennant race.

    As for the moves we didn’t make, I am absolutely, 100 percent behind Duquette for not making trades just for the sake of making them. Why deal Britton or Brach for a pair of middling Double A guys? He was basically in a no-win situation – if he did trade them, he wouldn’t get maximum value. If he didn’t, he is labeled as naive. He’s gotten us this far, and Buck has proven himself time and again, and they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 2, 2017 at 9:32 am

      And this guy’s alright too!

    • Dan Connolly

      August 2, 2017 at 9:37 am

      Again, I totally agree if that’s the direction and the value for your pieces isn’t there. But then improve more.

      • general81

        August 2, 2017 at 10:39 am

        The issue with improving more, though, goes back to what I said here a few weeks ago. My fear was trading a few legitimate prospects for a has-been pitcher who wouldn’t help, and next year we would be in even worse position. We can debate whether Tobias Myers is a significant loss, but as I see it, we got two very usable pieces at the cost of one player from the active roster., and didn’t have to part with Hays, Mountcastle, Mullins, Sedlock, Scott, et. al.

        I suppose we REALLY could have gone all in and traded for Gray and Darvish, but then what? We would have been in the baseball dark ages for probably five years. Does anyone want that?

        Let’s see where this re-constructed team gets us, and make some more decisions over the winter.

  6. Creatively_19

    August 2, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Well yes, I do believe they have a shot. Its not a great one, but in 2014 the Orioles beat Justin Verlander, David Price and Max Scherzer to advance to the ALCS. Once you get in, you never know whats going to happen. No team is perfect in the AL East, though honestly the Yankees got closer to it on Monday. Still, there’s plenty of baseball left to be played and injuries can happen to anyone at any time. Did the Orioles have an opportunity to improve the ball club immeasurably? You bet they did. Was that the last chance to do so? Not by a long shot. Selling guys at peak value is great, but what about less than peak? Do we know what was offered for Britton? Was it potential ace starting pitchers? We might never know. Meanwhile the O’s offense appears to be on cruise control and the pitching is finally effective. You’re telling me that we should have sold all of it and not competed in 2017 or 2018? Did that work in 2001? No thanks, I don’t want to go back to those 96 game losing seasons, do you?

    • Dan Connolly

      August 2, 2017 at 9:41 am

      Excellent point about the Tigers. And anything can happen is absolutely true. But let’s not forget that rotation had an ERA in the mid 3s for the 2014 season. This group is near 6 for four months. I guess I just don’t believe anything can happen with bad starting pitching. So you have to believe this rotation turns it around. And I’m not there. But good stuff. Drink chip.

  7. karks

    August 2, 2017 at 8:56 am

    It’s not the greatest shot, but it is a shot. I guess I agree with Ken Rosenthal in that the approach is a bit short-sighted. But it probably isn’t fair to judge until we see how this year’s team turns out and then what they do in the offseason.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 2, 2017 at 9:42 am

      True. 2018 isn’t over. But so many important calls this offseason.

  8. Osfan73

    August 2, 2017 at 9:23 am

    I think they have a better shot at a playoff spot now than say a month ago. They’re showing life now….starting pitching better, offense producing more evenly, bullpen back together. With games against teams below .500 now is the perfect time to get hot, but have to remain that way. No room for error, cannot play down to the competition as I think has sometimes happened in the past.
    I think the Hellickson trade was the attempt to help this team get to the playoffs this year. It’s an awful indictment on the state of the farm system though that Hellickson is really all we could afford as it were to trade for.
    If the Os continue to progress towards a WC spot….Yay!! Go get em!! Ill be watching. Had they decided to go the other way and sell some for prospects I would’ve supported that too due to the obvious need.
    Really glad to see this-turnaround?-and hope it lasts!!!

    • Dan Connolly

      August 2, 2017 at 9:45 am

      They have a better shot because the rotation has been better and no one has run away. But the math is getting more difficult. Like you said, the question is can they sustain some success all the way thru September? I dunno. Not a believer given how this season has gone.

  9. garyintheloo

    August 2, 2017 at 9:32 am

    My answer is “NO” for the reasons we have discussed the last few months but I appreciate the hopes of the faithful. Last night I bought a subscription to mlbtv to see for myself what gives for the future but we are not going to the playoffs without a ticket. We did not improve anything as even the 14 year drought Orioles had good weeks.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 2, 2017 at 9:46 am

      Hey, I’m the one here giving out shots of reality. Drink chip.

  10. tomfink31

    August 2, 2017 at 9:40 am

    I absolutely believe they’ll have a better 2nd half. But even if the O’s go on a crazy run to sneak into the postseason (they won’t)…what is the team going to do when it gets there? Trot out Wade and Ubaldo against teams like Houston & Cleveland?!?

    The window is closing. Could’ve worked on the future without quitting on ’18 by selling one of Britton/Brach and moving Seth and Castillo. I liked the Beckham trade, but it wasn’t enough.

    Side note…don’t go to the Astros Top 30 prospects page. It’ll make you mad how many arms they could’ve sent us. Apparently we couldn’t do without one of the OFs (Tucker/Fisher), and I think it was a mistake.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 2, 2017 at 9:49 am

      One thing here Castillo and Smith will get thru revocable waivers I’d imagine. So they’d be movable in August.

  11. Marshall

    August 2, 2017 at 10:52 am

    *Do you agree with Duquette that the Orioles still have a legitimate playoff shot?*

    In a vaccum, 3.5 GB from a wild card spot certainly looks like a legitimate chance.

    Above us right now are TB, SEA, KC, NYY. We have 23 games remaining against those teams. Technically, “we control our own fate”.

    Gausman, Bundy, GoodUbaldo can hang with anyone. Wade Miley & BadUbaldo are so damned confounding. Tillman cannot be counted upon this year. That puts a ton of pressure on Hellickson to be the inspiring rallying cry.

    I’d bet a case of beer we can get in but not a good bottle of scotch.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 2, 2017 at 11:33 am

      What kind of beer are we talking?

      • Marshall

        August 2, 2017 at 1:09 pm

        Your choice. Something flavorful, darker, maybe a brown for me.

  12. seannyob

    August 2, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Man there are a lot of smart baseball fans on this blog.

    Ok, look, our guys began the season way over-performing against the mean and dove in legendary fashion to underperforming; they should regress to the mean.

    To do this they will go on a hot streak. The bats will come alive, their brain chemistry will shift and confidence will go up, which will have a non-trivial positive impact on pitching performance. We can see this trend happening now.

    What will the move do for Hellboy? Was his 2016 WAR of 3.2 (the highest of his career by far) a statistical anomaly? We’ll see.

    All we have to do is get in. Once we’re in, we can play with anybody. So Dan is right, getting in looks mathematically hard, but once we’re in we’re in and the season is wiped clean and it becomes about baseball games. That’s the sheer and perfect beauty of this highly engineered game: in October, you got your guys and the moneyball is over and all you can do is play. If our starters pitch well, if our guys hit the ball and catch the ball, we can win. We. Can. Win.

    general81’s analysis of Duq’s no win situation is spot-on.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 2, 2017 at 11:42 am

      Sean: First, I absolutely concur with your assessment of this forum. We are attracting a great group of rational, educated, passionate fans here. The only rule is be respectful, no need for personal shots — of me, us or even of those in the Orioles organization — criticize the actions or opinions all you want, and be passionate without being a jerk. Somehow that’s worked so far. So welcome aboard. Join the growing family. As for your thoughts on the Os, my only concern is the rotation is what it is — maybe not as bad as it has been, but not good enough to consistently carry its weight.

  13. Bancells Moustache

    August 2, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Playoffs?! Don’t talk about playoffs! Playoffs?! You kidding me? Playoffs?!

    Show me they can beat a non-last place team on the road and we’ll talk. And as I’ve said ad nauseum, I don’t care about the playoffs anymore. The parade down Pratt St. Only thing that’s acceptable.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 2, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      OK ..the O’s just beat the Rangers in Globe Life Park 2 out of 3, So I’m with BanMo.

      Let’s talk about a parade down Pratt St!

  14. Marshall

    August 2, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Speaking of legitimate…

    Can we take a moment to acknowledge the Mancini and Schoop. Pretty sure nobody had either one of these guys as the top two offensive players on the squad for this season given past performance as well as expectation of Machado, Jones, Davis, & Trumbo.

    If it weren’t for the Judge anomaly up in the Empire, Mancini would be talked about at a national level with great consistency.

    Schoop is clearly the team MVP this year.

    • Bancells Moustache

      August 2, 2017 at 2:33 pm

      I would just like to point out that I said that Judge may run out of gas in the second half and Mancini could slip back into the ROTY conversation. Judge is batting .179 since his otherworldly display in Miami. This relates to the TapRoom subject because, should Mancini remain Mr. Clutch and Orioles miraculously make it back into WC contention, the bold visionary who is BanMo could very well redeem himself after the Gausman/Cy Young debacle of 2017

      • Marshall

        August 2, 2017 at 2:46 pm

        Consider your words marked. Yarr!

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 3, 2017 at 7:35 am

        Dream on. Mancini has no shot. It’s an N.Y.C. vs. Charm City popularity contest.

  15. Steve Cockey

    August 2, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    I’d never claim to be one of the aforementioned ‘smart baseball fans’ posting here. But here’s my take regardless.

    At 52-54, the O’s would need to go 34-22 in the remaining 56 games to finish with 86 wins and have a reasonable shot at the WC. That’s a .607 winning percentage the rest of the way. I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t see that happening with this SP group.

  16. Raymo

    August 2, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    I’ve been sitting at this bar for sometime now quietly imbibing and listening to all the chatter. I don’t know if it’s the booze or the blog, but man oh man the optimism has me truly enthusiastic. Even Steve Cockey’s math isn’t enough to deter me. Let’s go O’s!!!

    • Steve Cockey

      August 2, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      Keep that faith! 2.5 games out and 5 straight wins. Life is good in the Land of Pleasant Living.

  17. Strovel

    August 2, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    They have a puncher’s chance like any of the other teams near .500. Hellickaon is better than Miley or the Ubaldo Surprise we open up every 5th game. Beckham is getting better each year in the bigs and his versatility will allow for several options in ’18 after Hardy’s option doesn’t vest. They were improvements, and considering I’m sure ownership thinks ’18 is still part of the window, The Duq, as usual, did what he was allowed to do.

  18. GSISDANNO

    August 3, 2017 at 8:57 am

    Even though I thought it was prudent to sell off some players at the Trading Deadline, I think they have a decent shot. Sweeping the red-hot Royals spoke volumes to me. I don’t know why and I don’t know how. But, all of a sudden, the Orioles are getting decent starting pitching. Even Ubaldo Jimenez is keeping the Orioles in games. I think Tim Beckham could be an absolute steal. The Orioles are also hitting together and putting together rallies and not waiting for someone to hit a home run. A few weeks ago, this team was hard to watch. The American League East is up for grabs. Led by David Price’s stupidity and his teammates’ willingness to support him, the Red Sox will be imploding soon. Since their great start, the Yankees have been very beatable. The Rays are a tough team but the Orioles can compete with these teams. At least the last two months are going to be enjoyable.

  19. Jonathan

    August 6, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Yes

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