Taking a stab at your questions: Rotation, Machado, Showalter, Duquette, Stanton - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Taking a stab at your questions: Rotation, Machado, Showalter, Duquette, Stanton

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

It took me nearly a month in the offseason, but it’s finally time to break out the old “Twitter questions” blog entry. I know you missed it. I did.

Free agency is about to start, the hot stove will get warm soon enough, and it’s time to ask you what you want me to write about.

My Twitter followers never let me down. There were some really good questions – some silly ones, sure – and several repeats.

The big topics, of course, are Manny Machado’s future, management’s future, management’s offseason plan, starting pitching and pizza.

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I appreciate all the questions – I tried to pick ones that I felt best represented the group (except for the pizza one). Some questions are edited for clarity. Obviously, we’re a little early into the offseason, but here’s some perspective, or at least some solid guesses.

Q: Do we have a legitimate shot at signing Manny, or should we begin the painful process of saying farewell? (from @SaraG7409)

A: Don’t light the candles yet. But at least buy them and some matches. This offseason is crucial in terms of Machado’s future as an Oriole. Executive vice president Dan Duquette doesn’t like to negotiate during the season, and why would Machado want that distraction in his walk year? I haven’t heard that there has been any serious discussion yet, but I do expect the Orioles to take a shot. My gut says an extension won’t get done, but I didn’t think the Orioles would bring back Chris Davis, either, so I guess you never know. One Twitter follower asked if a three-year $75 million extension would be realistic, because Machado then could be a free agent again at age 28. In a word, no. Or two words: No shot. Think seven years or beyond.

Q: Best chance of being extended this offseason: Dan Duquette, Buck Showalter, Machado, Jonathan Schoop? (from @grindt)

A: I had several extension questions, but I like this one. I think Showalter is with this organization next year, but I don’t know exactly what the role will be. I wouldn’t be surprised if there isn’t already an understanding that he can return in 2018 and beyond if he wants to. So, I wouldn’t think he is a lame-duck manager, even if something official isn’t announced. Therefore, I guess I’d go with him in this particular heat. Duquette and owner Peter Angelos also seemingly have a good relationship, but I don’t see a determination being made with Duquette’s contract now. Again, Machado will be tricky. Schoop, in my opinion, makes the most sense, but extensions two years before free agency don’t happen often in Baltimore – though they should.

Q: Where does Ryan Mountcastle start and end the season in 2018? (from @primetimeMitch)

A: Mountcastle doesn’t turn 21 until February and he’s already played 39 games at Double-A Bowie. I was actually surprised the Orioles moved him up from High-A Frederick when they did, and that shows they’ll be aggressive with one of their top prospects. But the obvious question about Mountcastle is, what position will he play in the field? When he was promoted to the Baysox he was moved from shortstop to third base. There are some within the organization that believe he’ll end up at first base or maybe even the corner outfield. So, there’s obviously some development still needed there. My assumption is he starts at Bowie and plays at least a half there. But if he looks good, he’ll get moved to Triple-A Norfolk. I could see him in Baltimore for a cup of coffee in September – like Austin Hays and Chance Sisco this past year – if all goes well.

Q: Does pineapple go on pizza? (from DAtkinsonOU)

A: Only in desperate times. I’m not opposed – I think it’s well-documented I embrace (or inhale) pizza — but I’d never purposely choose pineapple/Hawaiian. It’s kind of the Rolling Rock of pizza. I’ll grab one and be contented if I have no other choices. But I don’t seek it out.

Q: The obvious…who will the O’s go after for starting pitching for next year? (from ShowTime_32)

A: This is the biggie. They need to add three starters, in my opinion. Gabriel Ynoa and Miguel Castro are fine guys to plug in at the back-end of the rotation in a pinch, but they shouldn’t start the season that way. So, how do the Orioles get three bona fide starters? Well, obviously specifics are hard to come by in October. I imagine they’ll get one through free agency, but it won’t be the ace they truly need. The Orioles never win a bidding war for a top-line starter. Ownership doesn’t believe in megadeals for pitchers (and, to be fair, those contracts rarely pan out) and mid-level starters with suitors aren’t choosing Camden Yards unless they are grossly overpaid (see Jimenez, Ubaldo). So, you can forget about the two free-agent aces, Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish, and an Alex Cobb, for instance, will have too many other options in better pitcher’s parks. So, look for someone in the second tier whom the Orioles could overpay (an Andrew Cashner/Jason Vargas type). I also fully expect Duquette to try and tap the international pro market for the next Wei-Yin Chen. And I could see some recycling going on, too, whether it is a Chris Tillman or a Miguel Gonzalez. I don’t expect Wade Miley to be back, though. It makes no sense for him to take a one-year contract in Baltimore when he could get a better “pillow contract” elsewhere – like the NL. They’ll also be looking to pick up at least one starter via trade, even if it means taking on an unwieldy contract.

Q: Should the Orioles trade for Giancarlo Stanton. Think Machado and minor leaguers (Stewart, SP)? (from @NateWardle)

A: Unless you are talking Dave Stewart – in his prime – I don’t see it. Seriously, the Orioles don’t have the prospect package to land Stanton, even if they included a home trip for Machado and the Florida State University product, outfielder DJ Stewart. It’s gonna take a couple top-tier prospects to get Stanton, even while absorbing that contract. Other teams have more to offer. Besides, if the Orioles are putting a legitimate package together, it better be for a starting pitcher.

Q: Does the postseason make you feel any differently about how the Orioles should approach the offseason? (from @lawlornfl)

A: This is a great question (really, there were a lot of excellent ones. We’ll do this again at some point). I think the playoffs again have shown that top-end starting pitching can do a whole lot to get you to the promised land. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros wouldn’t be in the World Series without Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel. But we’ve also seen how important bullpens are. And how home runs can play (and that everyone has power these days). But, make no mistake, there is no substitute for an ace or two. And, so, yes, that should be a priority for the Orioles. I just don’t realistically think that will happen, for various reasons.

Q: Who’s your first overall pick in a hypothetical game between Orioles beat writers? (from @kyleandrews1994)

A: I know I’d take Jim Henneman in his prime. Heck, I might still take Henny now.

Q: Is there a possibility that you will perform the national anthem at a game next year? (from TakeMe2Florida)

A: No shot. I hear there is some jerk in the press box that reviews each performance. I refuse to be criticized by some amateur.

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. GooseLu

    October 31, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    great column as always! I’d love a column on pizza alone. Speaking of which: where’s your favorite place for a slice in Baltimore?

    • Dpsmith22

      October 31, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Hey Goose; Maria D’s on light street

    • Dan Connolly

      October 31, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      The sad truth is I almost never eat pizza in Balmer anymore. We live over the line in Pa now. When I was growing up, Genova’s in Parkville was my go-to place. Boy, it was good. The place is still there, but it’s different ownership/new name. Now, our go-to place in York is Parma’s. There are a couple of them, one near me. But anyone who went to York College knows the Parma’s on the edge of campus. Hole-in-the-wall greatness.

  2. Dpsmith22

    October 31, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Hey Dan, as usual I agree with most of what you said.

    IF Duquette is brought back, it will set this organization back the length of his contract. 90% of his acquisitions have been beyond bad, let alone helpful to the big club.

    My main point is adding a starter like Andrew Cashner/Jason Vargas will not get it done in this division. This team needs at least 2 of these Tier 2 type starters. I would prefer Chatwood over those 2.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 31, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      I think Chatwood should be in play. But there are no secrets. He’s under 30 and had to deal with pitching in Coors Field. He’s gonna be on a lot of radars. And I never feel good for the Orioles chances in those situations.

      • Dpsmith22

        October 31, 2017 at 2:21 pm

        True. Especially with the speed in which they move….Maybe for once, they show a potential FA a little love, like they did with Carl Pavano about 10 years ago.

  3. GooseLu

    October 31, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Thanks DP!

    • Dpsmith22

      October 31, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      Sure Goose. Be warned its original hand tossed greasy pizza. But damn good lol

  4. Birdman

    October 31, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Agree that an extension for Schoop, through 2022 or 2023, should be a top priority, especially with the likelihood that Manny will be gone after next season.

    At only 26, Schoop’s next 5-6 seasons figure to be the prime of his career – as Adam Jones reaches the later part of his career, Schoop looks like a good fit to take over Jones’ role as the core leader of the team.

    • Dpsmith22

      October 31, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      Couple opinions about Schoop.

      1) No reason he is not extended yet. The O’s just don’t get the fact that when a player goes to arbitration, they no longer need that guaranteed, home discounted, contract.

      2) It tells me ALOT when Buck has been talking Schoop up for years now, he has that break out season, but still no extension. Makes ZERO sense.

      The Orioles front office is just incompetent, from the GM to the Owner. The franchise is run like a big market, just doesn’t typically spend like one.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        October 31, 2017 at 3:07 pm

        So maybe you can explain how a club can be run like a big market team without spending like one? I’m curious… how’s that work?

        • Dpsmith22

          October 31, 2017 at 4:23 pm

          Sure.
          A couple really good examples of how the O’s are run like a big market club are:

          1) You do stupid things like re-signing your own free agents, instead of trading them before they go FA. Big markets can afford to restock from free agency, we can’t. See…O’Day, Davis, Trumbo, etc – All overpays.

          2) You don’t EXTEND your young players early in their few few seasons. Schoop is a great example of this. IF he is not extended before arbitration, he will be gone.

          The O’s are in this situation with Manny for reason #2. IF Manny was approached about an extension and gave us the bird, then he needed to be dealt. Manny ALONE, could have been a partial rebuild, with the right deal.

          Thoughts?

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            November 1, 2017 at 7:13 am

            Thoughts?

            #1 makes absolutely no sense. How is that operating like a large market team? & When should the O’s have traded Davis or O’day? Can you tell me exactly which star players nearing free agency you have in mind that the Yanks, Sox, Dodgers or Cubs have traded before they hit the open market in recent times? Hell, the cubs are riding the backs of young players right now that are outperforming their contracts. Should they trade them all before they hit free agency?

            #2 .. I agree about signing Schoop sooner rather than later. But small market teams must LIVE on the backs of young players outperforming their current contracts (see Pittsburgh Pirates). I DO agree that now is the time to sign Schoop … but I have no problems with O’s waiting until now. The past couple of years the O’s payroll has been tied up with the Jones, Wieters and Davis contracts among others. So according to your small market strategy ..you sound like you’d trade Schoop now? Before he’s a free agent? No way I would. I’ll pay him next year.

            And no way Manny would have signed a lesser deal a couple of years ago at the home town discount. He’s been waiting for his big payday .. and he’s about to get it. Nothing the O’s could have done about it up to now other than throw $30 large over a 10 year period. They’re in this situation now because Manny is a supposed Superstar. You can’t spend every year rebuilding.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 31, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      My two cents: The Orioles rarely extend their talented young players. That philosophy should change. Needs to change.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        November 1, 2017 at 7:20 am

        Small sample size. They haven’t really had that many young talented players to extend.

      • Dpsmith22

        November 1, 2017 at 9:45 am

        Absolutely it does. The silly “small sample size” argument has no bearing here. It only takes one lost player to free agency to prove that point.

        BRR: Maybe it makes no sense to you but your responses don’t even back your argument.
        -You tell me how signing O’Day / Davis to big contracts is not acting like a big market club? (Both bad signings AND their OWN FA.)
        -Yea look at the teams you named. CUBS / YANKS / SOX. They don’t care if they lose players because they will retool with FA’s. They are NOT the O’s, nor do they operate the way we SHOULD.
        -I would attempt to EXTEND (caps) Schoop now yes. If I cannot come to an agreement, I WILL trade him before he is a free agent, NO MATTER WHAT. I don’t care if he hits 50 homers. Comp picks won’t sustain a winner. Period. He would have already been extended in my world.
        ( I totally understand what your saying about not being able to extend all your young players. However, when you as an organization NEVER do this, there is an issue. The right time is BEFORE arbitration starts.)
        -Manny might have take a deal coming of the injury we don’t know. The O’s were in a bad spot with him and his injuries.
        -Of course you don’t spend every year rebuilding. But when you draft and develop like we do, you had better find another way to obtain prospects.

        The O’s functioning the way they do brought on that long losing streak and the long one coming, unless Harvey comes back better than advertised.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          November 1, 2017 at 10:06 am

          This whole debate is regarding your statement that the O’s operate like a big market team .. and yet I quote you here:

          “Yea look at the teams you named. CUBS / YANKS / SOX. They don’t care if they lose players because they will retool with FA’s. They are NOT the O’s, nor do they operate the way we SHOULD.”

          I stand behind my statement that your explanation of how the O’s operate like a big market team doesn’t make sense. The Big market teams ARE the Cubs/Yankees and Sox. How do the O’s operate like them? They simply don’t. And isn’t that what we’re debating here? You contradict yourself.

          You also dig on Duquette … and yet our winning years are with him at the helm.
          Name one young talented player that we didn’t extend … and then lost to free agency since Duquette arrived? Just one?

          And we haven’t lost Manny or Schoop just yet.

          • Dpsmith22

            November 1, 2017 at 10:34 am

            -The O’s don’t sign their young players, they let them go FA. That is big market.
            -Signing your own FA’s. That is big market.
            -Trading prospects for rentals, especially when you have little at the position your dealing from. That is big market.
            3 examples. “nor do they operate the way we SHOULD.” That is what I said. I stand by that statement.

            Oh lord, a Duquette supporter, got it.
            -Yea love the guy who 90% of his acquisitions have literally been useless.
            -Support the guy who inherited a World Series caliber core and despite 160 million dollar payroll, has been unable to even sustain consistent winning.
            -Support the guy who the majority of his signings, don’t stay on the roster through a season. Let alone become part of the organization.
            -Support the guy who “built” the 26th best farm system in baseball. (Reason given he was fired from Boston)
            -Support the guy who has given away pitching prospects for garbage and yet the O’s had the WORST rotation in baseball and I believe 3rd worst in baseball history!
            -Support a guy who, since he has been in charge, has a rotation ERA of almost 5.00!

            -I guess your right. Thinking about it there hasn’t been anyone worth extending. I will give you that. However, that also means he hasn’t done a very good job with the farm system.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          November 1, 2017 at 11:10 am

          I’m done arguing with you. I asked for ONE YOUNG PLAYER THEY LOST TO FA under Duquette. JUST ONE.

          You couldn’t name one.

          And as far as Duquette being fired in Boston for the lack of a farm system? Really? Who built the Farm system that carried Epstein and the Sox to 2 championships … the 1st being in the 1st year he was there?

          Buh bye

  5. Orial

    October 31, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    I’ll go a little further beyond. Does Adam Jones resign and if so will he willingly or not move to RF?

    • Dpsmith22

      October 31, 2017 at 2:27 pm

      He won’t if Duquette signs turds like Miley.

      • Dpsmith22

        November 1, 2017 at 11:14 am

        I guess reading is hard for you. I wrote this to you.

        “-I guess your right. Thinking about it there hasn’t been anyone worth extending. I will give you that. However, that also means he hasn’t done a very good job with the farm system.”

        Really? Young players led the Sox to a championship? How about a 200 million dollar payroll….

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          November 1, 2017 at 2:45 pm

          1st off … you replied in the wrong place…
          2nd Reading is fundamental.
          3rd …. since “you’re” getting personal …. it’s “You’re” … not spelled “your” … Writing must be hard for you.
          4th .. I never argued that he’s done well with our farm. The argument was how the O’s operate like a large market team as you originally claimed.

          And you never have explained how our O’s operate like a big market team. That’s all I ever argued.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 31, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      I’m not sure I’d put it that way. But the sense remains the same. He definitely wants to win and has never been to a World Series.

      • Dpsmith22

        November 1, 2017 at 10:35 am

        Sadly, I have been an Angelos supporter, but until he and this front office are gone, Jones might look elsewhere….

  6. bv22

    October 31, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Dan-
    Not everybody tweets. ….is it possible you could hold a version of your twitter questions blog for those without twitter? Maybe solicit questions you could answer on your website for a future blog entry?

    • Dan Connolly

      October 31, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      Sure. Although I will say I usually answer questions here regardless. But never in as much length. So we could try that, like a special blog for it

  7. bmoreoriolesfan2

    November 1, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    I am still of the opinion that we need to go after top notch starting pitching, first and foremost and then we need to go after top notch starting pitching, I know I am repeating myself, (for a reason). Trading Zach Britton and Adam Jones should absolutely get you at least one of those pitchers. The orioles will not win by keeping those two players and adding second and more likely third tier pitching. We will need to go after a FA pitcher as well. Signing Miguel Gonzalez or resigning Tillman will not be the answer.

    Need to keep the infield intact and extend Machado and Schoop at all cost. Davis is here to stay, like it or not, but he is a very good fielder. Beckham is the other part for now, but concerned about his glove. Otherwise this infield can be very good and help attract some better pitching.

    Defense, Defense, Defense has to be a major priority especially in the infield and the catcher position.

    The outfield will most likely be Mancini, Hays and possibly a veteran through FA or Santander if he is ready.

    Again, just my opinion!

  8. bmoreoriolesfan2

    November 1, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    By the way I am going to guess that Duquette and Showalter will both be back, but it will not matter much unless major improvements are made.

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