A third of the season is officially over - and the Orioles need to face reality - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

A third of the season is officially over — and the Orioles need to face reality

The Orioles have officially made it to Memorial Day, which is the unofficial, first-review point of the Major League Baseball season.

Because a third of the season – 54 games – are usually completed by now, Memorial Day is kind of an unspoken time for teams to start looking deeply at their rosters.

This year, it wasn’t even unspoken. Orioles Executive Vice President Dan Duquette specifically mentioned Memorial Day earlier this season when asked about when this club consider who it is and what it would be.

And, on this Memorial Day, the Orioles did what they do in 2018 – lost in a lifeless, ho-hum manner, 6-0 to the Washington Nationals in a stadium that was roughly equal parts orange and red.

Thankfully and mercifully, the Orioles showed Monday that the first 53 games of this year weren’t a fluke.

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This is a bad team in plenty of ways. Not much roster reviewing needed here.

Right-hander Alex Cobb, the Orioles’ big offseason acquisition, fell to 1-7 after allowing three runs – all on an Anthony Rendon homer – in seven innings. That performance should be solid enough to win, except the Orioles’ offense continued its mostly season-long holiday.

They were blanked by Washington’s Gio Gonzalez and have now strung together 17 consecutive innings without scoring a run. Terrible. Again.

“We want to win ballgames, not on a personal level. It’s just more the team overall. We’re trying to win games out here every night. That’s not what’s happening,” said Cobb, whose ERA dropped to 6.80. “There’s more that we can do as pitchers in picking up the offense when they have tough nights. Collectively, as a team, we’re clicking on different cylinders.”

The only good thing about the Orioles being 17-37 after play on Memorial Day afternoon is that they are not leaving the competitive door open, even a crack.

They are 20 games under .500 – they haven’t been that terrible since the end of 2011.

They are now 20 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East and it’s MEMORIAL DAY.

The Orioles finished in last place in 2017, and were only 18 games behind the first-place Red Sox at season’s end.

Consider this: Since the Orioles were 29-25 through 54 games in 2017 – one-third of last season – they are 63-99.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he’s never really thought about Memorial Day as a significant marker. He evaluates this team daily and there’s one conclusion.

“I don’t listen to a lot of that stuff that says, ‘Hey, by this day it’s 100 percent exactly what this is going to be.’ There’s too much of the human element here,” Showalter said. “I’m always evaluating kind of where we are and where we have the potential to head. Just gotta get better. I think our guys know that. It’s very frustrating for them right now and I’m sure for everybody, including the fans.”

The real frustration will be if this team – for some reason – is kept together all year.

We all know it. Showalter knows it. Duquette knows it. Perhaps this isn’t the exact time to execute the full blow-up. But it’s time to know that a significant sale must occur in July, when other clubs are ready to deal. Then the Orioles need to sell whatever won’t be a part of the extended future.

A third of the season is over. It’s Memorial Day.

It’s time to bury the Orioles’ 2018 season and begin building real plans for the future.

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Wade Warren

    May 28, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    before the season started I could never fathom a season like this. There is a group of talented ball players. Something is not right is it club chemistry? is it because so many potential free agents that were never asked to be extended? At this point I don’t know if Showalter or Duquette or Jones Brach Britton or even Schoop with be there next year. I am completely dumbfounded by the Orioles. I defended Buck and Dan now I have no clue what is wrong. Please bartender please enlighten me.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 28, 2018 at 9:32 pm

      There are some obvious things to point to. A one-dimensional offense that does little when it’s not hitting homers. A rotation that is better but still exceptionally inconsistent and a banged-up bullpen and subpar defense that used to be strengths but can no longer mask the other deficiencies. Still, like you said, Wade, lots of talent. But poor construction.

      • Odetta240

        May 29, 2018 at 8:48 am

        I’m reminded of something I once read. When you start out to make a large watermelon, it’s best to start out with a small watermelon versus a bunch of pieces of a large watermelon. The pieces rarely go together efficiently.

  2. boss61

    May 28, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    I’ve been watching the Orioles avidly since 1965 and I can only occur one time period when the team performed as it is now. For a 2.5-year period mid 1986 through 1988, remnants of the talented O’s from the early ’80s played listless, undignified, losing baseball. This reminds me of that team, then.

    What was the solution, then? Blow it up. Trade everyone who would not still be at or near their career primes when the rebuild was complete. Guys like McGregor, Boddicker, Flanagan and Murray were traded. Other guys were released, for they had no trade value.

    The youthful team of 1989 won our hearts, and 89 games in a fun season. They proved not to be the guys who would carry us to sustainable contention (they could have been if not for the Glenn Davis trade), but the no-names played well fundamentally and for we fans, that was good enough.

    It’s late 1986 or 1987 all over again. The O’s next played in the post-season a full decade later. This probably will be no different.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 28, 2018 at 9:33 pm

      I think there is a solid enough core IF they can make the right moves on July. But that won’t be easy.

  3. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    May 28, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    This team is painful to watch. I don’t think anyone could have forecasted this level of futility. The Orioles management has a long road ahead of them to rebuild a competitive team. Some of the current players may bring some talent via trades but not enough for a quick turn around.

    It will likely take years to become a contender again. They must draft better and use international money to sign young prospects instead of trading them for marginal prospects. This has severely limited the positional depth in the organization.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 28, 2018 at 9:34 pm

      Pretty well said, Grand

  4. jkneps63

    May 28, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    It is time to unleash the 1st annual jkneps63 post-Memorial Day suggested Orioles roster (followed by rosters for the AAA, AA, and two A league teams – Frederick and Delmarva).

    Orioles starting pitchers (5):
    Bundy (R)
    Hess (R)
    Gausman (R) candidate to be traded
    Keegan Akin (L)
    Michael Baumann (R)

    Orioles bullpen (9):
    Araujo (R)
    Bleier (L) candidate to be traded
    Brach (R) candidate to be traded
    Cashner (R) candidate to be traded
    Castro (R) candidate to be traded
    Cobb (R) candidate to be traded
    Givens (R) candidate to be traded
    Hart (L) candidate to be traded
    Wright, Jr. (R) candidate to be traded

    Orioles catchers (2):
    Sisco (L)
    Wynns (R)

    Orioles IF/OF (9):
    Alvarez (L) 3B candidate to be traded
    Davis (L) 1B/3B/LF/RF candidate to be traded (lol, please God!)
    Jones (R) OF candidate to be traded
    Machado (R) 3B/SS candidate to be traded
    Mancini (R) 1B/LF candidate to be traded
    Rickard (L) OF candidate to be traded
    Schoop (R) 2B/SS candidate to be traded
    Trumbo (R) 1B/LF/RF candidate to be traded
    Valencia (R) 1B/3B/LF/RF candidate to be traded

    DFA Gentry | Replace with DJ Stewart
    DFA Caleb Joseph | Replace with Corban Joseph
    DFA Peterson | Replace with Ryan Mountcastle
    DFA Rasmus | Replace with Cedric Mullins
    DFA Sardinas | Replace with Ryan McKenna
    DFA Tillman | Replace with Akin
    DFA Vielma | Replace with Chris Clare
    DFA Yacabonis | Replace with Baumann

    Option Scott to Norfolk
    Option Susac to Norfolk

    Fire Buck Showalter and entire coaching staff
    Fire Dan Duquette

    • Dan Connolly

      May 28, 2018 at 9:36 pm

      Now that’s a post.

    • Mau

      May 29, 2018 at 8:12 am

      Yeah. What he said.

      • joecap1946

        May 29, 2018 at 8:32 am

        Excellent post…have to agree

    • VICTORTEE

      May 29, 2018 at 8:51 am

      I agree with a lot of your suggested moves, but why option Scott? He is our future closer or at least set-up man. 99 mph fastball and a swing and miss slider.

  5. JParsley

    May 28, 2018 at 9:01 pm

    Reality is they suck. At least we have Manny!

  6. PA Bird Lover

    May 28, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Dan, absolutely, but sad. On paper this team, in my opinion, is not this bad. I’m positive Buck, Dan and the others in the FO realize this team, in reality, are underachievers. I feel Davis is responsible for a lot of the let down. He, being the big money guy who lets the offense down night after night, demoralizes mental motivation. Other than Bundy, Gausman and maybe pay Schoop, the rest should go at an absolute auction like deals. Start the thing over again.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 28, 2018 at 9:40 pm

      They have to do a lot of something.

  7. Churchton

    May 28, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    There is a huge leadership problem. The three stooges needs to go. That is the two angelos boys and brainless Anderson

    • Dan Connolly

      May 28, 2018 at 11:04 pm

      My guess is the three you mention will be bigger factors going forward.

  8. Cmorris7450

    May 28, 2018 at 10:31 pm

    Not sure I have ever seen a situation where a team cannot afford to keep its 26 year old superstar. Very disappointing. How can we ever win if that is the case? Do we, as customers, pay outrageous ticket prices, parking prices, gift shop prices, concession prices, Extra Innings prices, in the hope that a team of Ryan Flaherty’s might gel? Even more disappointing is that the press seems to fall in line with this thinking? Is the ownership group not making more money with full seating, TV audiences, and playoff monies? And if they are not… then is that in itself not the problem?

    • Dan Connolly

      May 28, 2018 at 11:07 pm

      Hmmm. I guess I’m most interested here in how the press is in line with this thinking.

  9. OsFanStuckInNY

    May 28, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    It’s not just the Os…

    It’ll be interesting to see what Manny and Harper eventually sign for as FAs. They’ve been saying $300,000,000.00+ for some time now — but who WILL pay that much? How many years?

    Attendance is down in MLB. More Ks than hits two months in a row! Five teams on track to lose 100 games. Tampa Bay can’t even field 5 starting pitchers and the entire league needs better pitching — yet they talk about expanding two more teams?!?

    Here is how bad it has gotten: I’d rather watch soccer! :-O…
    (Shoot me now.)

    • Dan Connolly

      May 28, 2018 at 11:08 pm

      Say it ain’t so, Os Fan.

  10. Orial

    May 29, 2018 at 6:14 am

    Just go with an OF of Mullins,Hays(regardless of his minor league avg),and Jones. Give Stewart his ABs. Then let Duquette/Brady do their dealing. People will be shocked how mediocre the trade returns will be but so be it. Sadly it’s time.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 29, 2018 at 8:54 am

      I still think you need to earn a promotion. But otherwise I hear ya.

  11. 54orioles

    May 29, 2018 at 8:04 am

    That means the only player left would be Davis. I’m sure we can build around him. If Duquette is still around this evening he could raid the York Revolution. That would be a significant upgrade.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 29, 2018 at 8:56 am

      The Revs are over .500 in the tough Freedom Division.

    • 54orioles

      May 29, 2018 at 9:57 am

      Show off. You follow real B.B.

  12. OrioleMaze

    May 29, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    As an avid O’s fan I have to say I enjoyed watching the Rays this past weekend. It seemed like every player was motivated and ‘raking’.

    On the Oriole side, all I saw was frustration.

    From the position players point of view, how can they expect to get a rally going when u have the worst player in the league batting 5th or 6th every game? I’ve read every post concerning ‘Crash’ Davis (and I do mean Crash) but if we’re talking about what’s ‘salvageable’ and what’s ‘not’, he’s the main piece that has to go first. You can’t have a major league player batting .150 in the lineup for years to come.
    I have two questions Dan. Who ultimately was responsible for signing CD to this gargantuan contract? Were we bidding against ourselves? Did PA sign him against DD’s wishes?
    And on a similar note, what happened when we didn’t sign Markakis? We’ve been searching for a right fielder ever since. He was the first straw inho, followed by not signing Matt Weiters.
    It’s time to go the Rays route

  13. The Wedge

    May 29, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    Thing is, Mr. A – and I’ll extrapolate this out to his sons – Buck, and I’d suspect Brady aren’t wired that way. They just don’t believe in raising the white flag and saying “Uncle”. “Selling” isn’t in their vocab.

    Plus, considering what appears to be a dwindling revenue (certainly at the gate), if I could access Mr. A’s mind for a minute, I’d bet he’s thinking he wants to hang on to his impact guys – namely that one-time hot corner handler now manning the adjacent position – ’til the bitter end to maximize whatever profit he can. Might not be what some fans want, but ultimately, it’s _his_ desire that counts, and if he thinks the fans would rather see their “favorites” than retool/rebuild, and in the process keep those turnstiles a-turning, then the “favorites” will stay.

    So for better or for worse, I think we’ll see this unit for the balance of the season.

    And if that’s indeed the case, I’ve just got to hang my hat on hoping that these guys have a ’02 A’s or ’17 Tribe type of run in them. Sounds dubious (maybe even ridiculous) in the face of a 19-games-under-.500 record, but that’s why baseball is the greatest game. Strange and even stranger things have happened.

  14. Cmorris7450

    May 29, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    The press that suggest fire sales rather than salary caps?

    The most penalized Luxury Tax teams are the teams in the playoffs. Maybe I am wrong, but it sure seems that the teams that spend, win… and they are also the teams with the most cash? Coincidence… maybe?

    I wish I had the answers, but like everyone else, I am left to grope. I guess we can use the Astros as a meter, and watch what happens with all of their young talent?

  15. ubetonit

    May 29, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    “… and the Orioles need to face reality” OR they could go to Old Saint Paul’s Cemetery and wait for Godot. They are better at that.

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