Myriad Orioles Thoughts: Schoop's Fanfest skip will blow over; Machado's position switch; tonight's York talk; radio show begins - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Myriad Orioles Thoughts: Schoop’s Fanfest skip will blow over; Machado’s position switch; tonight’s York talk; radio show begins

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

I think we all can agree that The Great Orioles Fanfest Snub of 2018 was an unnecessary and unfortunate situation for all involved.

The Orioles, who haven’t done anything to improve a last-place team, didn’t need another reason for fans to be ticked off.

Orioles’ fans, who feel like they are constantly taking it on the chin, certainly didn’t deserve a double blowback when Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop skipped Saturday’s annual event at the Convention Center.

Machado, who, according to manager Buck Showalter, had a solid personal reason for missing Fanfest, didn’t need to offer his detractors more ammunition that he’s selfish or not focused on being an Oriole.

And Schoop, whose reputation has been pristine during his time in Baltimore, didn’t need his first orange-and-black eye, especially when Showalter opined that Schoop buckled to bad advice from his agent and didn’t have a sufficient excuse to stay home.

For those who follow this team closely, it just provided another opportunity to use the old joke, “You can’t spell dysfunction without an O.”

But here’s the deal: This shouldn’t have any far-reaching implications in regards to Schoop.

At some point, Schoop, who is never easy to reach in the offseason, will talk publicly and be contrite about his decision that left fans hanging.

And fans will forgive him – I’m sure a few, though, will boo him on Opening Day – because he has always been a good citizen. And because fans forgive good players for minor indiscretions.

And if Schoop wants to sign an extension, and the Orioles offer the right amount of money, he’ll sign an extension.

And if the Orioles don’t offer up sufficient money, he won’t sign an extension.

That’s how all of this works. I know the emotions might be a little high right now, and fans, understandably, feel slighted. I get all the reasons you’re upset. You aren’t alone.

I know the organization was miffed; Schoop and his people probably felt that the arbitration process was cutthroat and it was best to remove Schoop from the spotlight until it is over.

But to the fans that think that this is an indication that Schoop will be gone as soon as he becomes a free agent after the 2019 season, relax. Or to those who have demanded – seriously – that the Orioles ship out Schoop because of this, double relax.

Don’t get me wrong: Schoop may be gone within two years. Maybe sooner. But that will be almost solely for financial reasons, not because of a Fanfest nose-thumbing.

There’s nothing else to read into this. Bad decision. An olive branch eventually will be offered. And everyone will move one – well before it’s time for Schoop to move on.

Reiterating thoughts on Manny to shortstop

I wrote my opinions on this before it became official, but I’ll reiterate.

I don’t see the decision to move Machado from third base to shortstop as a major risk.

If it works out, then Machado has improved his stock as a pending free agent and as a potential July trade chip. If it doesn’t work out, he’s still gonna generate major interest in the trade market as a third baseman and he’s still gonna land a hefty payday next winter.

I do have some concern that he won’t be as good at short as he is at third, and so the left side defense could take a hit. But, frankly, he’ll probably be at least as good as Tim Beckham was at short in the second half of last season, and I don’t think anyone would be surprised if Machado is better. Certainly, Beckham at third will be a dropoff from Machado, but nearly anyone would be.

If Beckham is adequate at third and Machado above-average at shortstop, any decline shouldn’t be particularly noticeable.

In addition, I have no problem with Machado requesting to play shortstop. That’s his natural position, his first love. He deferred to veteran J.J. Hardy for parts of six seasons. With Hardy a free agent, it made sense for Machado to revisit the issue. He’s earned that right – at least to ask.

Oh, and one last thing: Appeasing Machado with a switch to shortstop shouldn’t be viewed as a sign of goodwill to keep him in an Orioles’ uniform in 2019. What’s going to keep him in an Orioles’ uniform, or send him packing, is a mind-numbing amount of money. That’s what happens for talented, 26-year-old free agents. He’s earned that right, too.

Talking in York tonight with McGregor, Antonen

One last reminder that tonight is my annual Hot Stove Baseball Talk at 7 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church, 2215 Brandywine Lane, in York, Pa. My special guests are former Orioles’ standout pitcher Scott McGregor, who is now the organization’s minor league rehab pitching coordinator, and Mel Antonen, MASN panelist and Sirius/XM radio commentator.

There is no admission fee, but a freewill offering will be taken to benefit the church’s youth ministry program, which is sending a contingent to Houston this summer for the ELCA’s National Youth Gathering.

It’s a great cause – and the event is always a great time taking baseball. Hope to see you there.

First Baltimore Baseball radio show of 2018

I’m happy to announce that we are partnering again with WOYK 1350 in York to air the weekly “Baltimore Baseball Show.” The 30-minute program will run at 6 p.m. on most Mondays this season (with the exception of a few Tuesdays from late February through March).

The show can be heard live on the station’s website and is archived there. It is also available on iTunes as part of BaltimoreBaseball.com’s podcasts.

This week’s edition – the first of 2018 — is below. It’s a wrap-up of Fanfest as well as an interview with Antonen about the Orioles, the slow free-agent market and his Hall of Fame ballot. Check out the show today and throughout the season.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Dblack2508

    January 30, 2018 at 9:58 am

    When I posted yesterday about considering moving Jonathon Schoop at the trade deadline if they were out of contention, only if he didn’t accept a fair offer. I do believe if the O’s do not sign him before that window he would be inclined to test free agency.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 30, 2018 at 10:03 am

      I’d tend to agree. This is the time they really need to act.

      • thebookdoc

        January 30, 2018 at 5:10 pm

        It isn’t this time… it is many times. not bid themselves out like on Chris D. I don’t understand why this gets so complicated and why the Os and baseball don’t just make things function. Millions are enough. I had half a mil once and I had to TRY to blow it. I mean WORK HARD. It took like 3 years. If you are making 9 mil a year you have to keep buying houses and islands and lots of crap (my own private plane, etc.). There has to come a point where the players realize the difference between 20 and 30 is almost nothing. I already know it and I’ve never been there.

        • Paul Folkemer

          January 31, 2018 at 8:51 am

          I beg to differ. There’s plenty of difference between $20 million and $30 million. And between $200 million and $300 million. I agree that any of those amounts is enough to live comfortably off of, but they certainly make a difference in a baseball context. I can’t blame players for wanting to maximize their value.

  2. Carl

    January 30, 2018 at 10:41 am

    Manny’s move to shortstop makes perfect sense, but it seems like the Os are without a “Plan B” if Beckham can’t handle third.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 30, 2018 at 12:42 pm

      Agreed. Part of that depends on who makes the club as a utility infielder. And Dosch is a guy that can play third at AAA. Not sure if he’ll hit in the big leagues. Opposite seems true for Mountcastle, who should start at Double-A

  3. Orial

    January 30, 2018 at 11:11 am

    I have to wonder how much of the Manny fiasco is affecting Schoop’s thought. Big brother/little brother syndrome. We talk about up n coming Free Agency but neglect to comment on the Buck/DD free agency. Just wondering Dan if there’s any detriment in their status and why it hasn’t it been addressed? Being LameDucks can’t be beneficial.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 30, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      My belief is that Buck will be back if he wants to be back — which we presume he does. I think Dan’s future employment is tied to team. performance in 2018. My sense anyway.

  4. wirpls

    January 30, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    So Dan, it’s a snowy day up here in western PA. I’ve got a subject for you to write about sometime and take all of our minds off the lack of action and turmoil surrounding this off-season!

    Who might be the next deserving Oriole, past, present or even future to earn a statue or even a number placed outside Camden Yards?

    We need to lighten up a bit before pitchers and catchers report in a couple weeks!!

    Have a great day!
    Bill

    • Dan Connolly

      January 30, 2018 at 12:49 pm

      That’s a good one. Mussina is the easy answer — if he goes in the HOF as an Oriole

      • wirpls

        January 30, 2018 at 4:11 pm

        I’m coming from left field with this one but what about Boog!!

        If I remember correctly, he even played leftfield for the O’s back in the early 60’s.

        Not only was he a World Series champion and AL MVP but since 1992 he’s been synonymous with Camden Yards. Probably holds the World record for signing autographs!

        He may be from Florida but he’s a Baltimore icon.

        • thebookdoc

          January 30, 2018 at 5:27 pm

          The difference between Boog and Mussina is Boog was an Oriole, always. What i think they need to do is start a lesser series of statues… half or quarter the size… And put some other great players out there, like Belanger, Bumbry, D. johnson, guys who played and made a difference in baltimore but will never be in the hall.

          • Paul Folkemer

            January 31, 2018 at 8:46 am

            Isn’t that basically what the Orioles Hall of Fame is? Those guys (Belanger, Bumbry, Davey, etc.) are in the Orioles HOF and have their plaques on Eutaw Street. I don’t see a need to create small statues for all of them.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 30, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      Absolute Baltimore icon. But the Rule has been retired numbers and statues are for national Hall of Fame Orioles only. That’s been the stipulation.

  5. Birdman

    January 30, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Dan, you wrote yesterday that the Orioles made an attempt a couple of years ago to sign Machado to an extension. Do you know whether these were just exploratory discussions, or did the Orioles ever actually put a realistic (comparable to Trout’s extension) offer on the table?

    • Dan Connolly

      January 30, 2018 at 1:49 pm

      I can’t imagine it was comparable to Trout’s, no. But I don’t know exact numbers. I was told it wasn’t particularly close. But don’t know if it was lowball or the expectations were sky high.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      January 30, 2018 at 2:46 pm

      Are you saying that Machado is a comparable player to Trout?

      • Birdman

        January 30, 2018 at 10:06 pm

        Not quite, but very close … I realize these type of ratings are subjective, but a leading sports web site (don’t want to give publicity to a competitor of baltimorebaseball.com, so I won’t mention the name) ranked the top 50 players in MLB at the start of the 2017 season — they had Trout at No. 1 and Machado at No. 3

        • thebookdoc

          January 31, 2018 at 2:31 am

          No.3 … based on what? I’ll have some of those drugs. Where do I get them?

          There are 3 people on his own team he didn’t outplay.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          January 31, 2018 at 7:03 am

          Not to disrespect Manny, but it’s not even remotely close in my opinion. Machado is all about potential. Trout has been HOF since the moment he first took the field. Machado seems to have the million dollar talent to go along with a 10¢ head. (OK…so I guess I did disrespect Manny after all)

          • Birdman

            January 31, 2018 at 7:48 am

            Over the past three seasons, Machado has averaged 35 home runs and 92 RBIs. He has won two Gold Gloves. And he is only 25 years old. I think that’s more than “potential.”

  6. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    January 30, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    I now could see the Orioles making a strong effort to sign Mike Moustakus. He solves their need for a left handed bat and is solid defensively. Beckham could be their utility man who could help the team in a variety of roles.

    The Orioles need to sign Schoop to an extension as soon as possible. Otherwise they will find themselves in the same situation they are with Manny.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 30, 2018 at 1:51 pm

      Moustakas is a fit in some aspects. But it comes down to what he can get in the free agent market. And whether the Orioles want to spend more money on offense.

  7. Delsym

    January 31, 2018 at 7:19 am

    If we can’t replace his glove, and the is not another out there who can…then get a bat that isn’t a liability, Mustakas fits, don’t think Beckham does, and Schoop is good as gone, Beckham is a second baseman, he must hit or sit! Or, sign Jonathan and move him leftward, the arm will play!

  8. Dpsmith22

    February 9, 2018 at 11:21 am

    I would prefer they move Beckham to the OF and get a 3rd basemen.

    Yes Schoop is gone.

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