Welcome to the Tap Room. The theme in this joint today is getting away – whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Umbrellas and fruit pieces in your beer are optional.
I’m going on a family beach vacation for a week – something I try to give my family once a year during the summer. They deserve it after dealing with me and my baseball job/obsession all year round. Unfortunately, I also had to take a little more time away from the ballpark in the past week to deal with a family situation.
All is OK, just one of life’s crappy curveballs. Luckily there are some tremendous people bringing you great content at BaltimoreBaseball.com on a daily basis, so, even if I’m not writing or if I’m trying to sneak away for a week, we’ll still have plenty of stuff for you to peruse here. And I’m never really gone anyway (which sounds kind of sinister).
Much of this upcoming week on the site will have a draft flair. Our minor-league guru, Dean Jones Jr., gets giddy this time of year. I mean it, seriously giddy. It’s kind of odd — in a good way.
The draft starts Monday at 7 p.m. and lasts for parts of three days, finishing Wednesday, when the final pick of the 40th round is selected.
Dean will give you a sense of local guys that might be drafted, and he’ll keep tabs on the Orioles’ selections (they have three picks in the first two rounds on Monday, 21st, 60th and 74th. It’s impossible to predict who they’ll take that deep, but collegiate pitchers and shortstops are obvious targets).
The thing about the baseball draft is you likely won’t see any of the picks helping a major league team immediately. Ben McDonald in 1989 was the last Oriole to appear in the majors the same season he was drafted. He is the last No. 1 overall pick to do that in all of MLB. (Before you look it up, David Price was drafted first overall in 2007 and debuted in 2008).
So, yeah, the Orioles have to win with what they have this year (barring July and August trades) without help from the June draft.
There were some worries Wednesday that they’d be without one of their most important players, third baseman Manny Machado, who was spiked in the left hand and is dealing with a left wrist strain that kept him out of the starting lineup Thursday.
The Orioles felt like they dodged a bullet with Machado, after X-Rays were negative and a MRI showed only a strain. So, he’s day-to-day.
It’s funny, the Orioles have actually done OK in the past with Machado temporarily out of the lineup. But you can make the argument, especially with how he plays defense, that Machado is the most indispensable Oriole.
Then again, after the ripple effect in the bullpen caused by closer Zach Britton’s prolonged absence, you can make the case that he is the most difficult current Oriole to replace. Although when center fielder Adam Jones is out (like Thursday, when he was dealing with sore legs), there certainly seems to be a spark missing.
In the past, the Orioles’ win-loss record has dipped when shortstop and defensive glue J.J. Hardy is on the shelf. And you have to wonder where this 2017 team would be if right-hander Dylan Bundy wasn’t pitching every fifth day or if rookie Trey Mancini didn’t float down from another galaxy.
So, there you go. Lots of choices for our ‘Wanna get away?’ theme today (if you know anyone from Southwest Airlines that’s looking to sponsor a blog, let the bartender know ASAP).
I’m curious as to whom you think is the most indispensable 2017 Oriole. Yes, I know it is a team sport, but some players are simply harder to replace than others.
I’m not talking long-term — that the Orioles may go into the tank in 2019 without Machado or Jones or Britton. I’m not even talking about who is the best Oriole.
I’m asking, who is the guy whose absence would make the most negative impact on the Orioles right now?
Tap-In Question: Who is the most indispensable 2017 Oriole? Why?