Revisiting my six 'reasonable moves' for the Orioles - and adding another for good measure -

Dan Connolly

Revisiting my six ‘reasonable moves’ for the Orioles — and adding another for good measure

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

About six weeks ago, when the Orioles hadn’t done anything besides add some minor leaguers and Rule 5 picks, I put together a list of six things I would do if I were in charge of the club.

I called them “reasonable moves,” because I understand the Orioles are working under a budget, although we’ll never know what that budget number is and, frankly, those in Orioles’ management often aren’t exactly sure what that budget number is, either.

Under current ownership, roster construction has often been handled on a case-by-case basis. For instance, Dan Duquette, the club’s executive vice president, didn’t have $161 million to spend how he wanted in 2016. But that money ultimately was allocated by ownership to keep Chris Davis in an Orioles’ uniform. That’s how it typically works in Baltimore. Call it a fluid situation.

Taking that into consideration, my six moves attempted to be realistic; transactions I thought would be approved by the entire Orioles’ management team this winter.

Two have come to fruition; two appear like they won’t, certainly not before March 29. The other two are unlikely, but not impossible, I suppose, at this late date.

Six weeks later, I’m revisiting my list, and updating it with current thoughts. And I threw in a bonus idea considering the free-agent market is still plodding along.

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  1. Ben1

    February 24, 2018 at 7:30 am

    So … your wish list accuracy rate is 33%. Not bad, not great. Better than most fans that wish for a 1st place finish in the East and more. We’ll probably be at 0%

    • Dan Connolly

      February 24, 2018 at 3:19 pm

      I’m not wishing, really. I’m saying what should be done assuming they aren’t spending much money.

  2. Orial

    February 24, 2018 at 8:00 am

    All legitimate and proper propositions on your part. Manny situation is beyond any of us,Schoop is alarming,agree on Cashner,would have preferred Vargas over Tillman,trading Trumbo would have been huge. Now John Jay. I,like yourself,have been a strong proponent of his addition for the same reasons mentioned. By trading Trumbo the logjam could have been opened by moving Mancini and opening the outfield for athleticism. A two year deal for Jay(6mill per) with flexibility in LF and RF would have been ideal. Once again I fear that Angelos is rearing his head and telling Dan to back off. Oh what coulda been.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 24, 2018 at 3:20 pm

      I don’t think it’s Angelos saying back off. It doesn’t really work that way. I just believe Duquette is working from the premise that they aren’t gonna spend a lot.

    • Jbigle1

      February 26, 2018 at 12:51 am

      I don’t think Jon Jay is worth 12 million dollars. He’s a professional hitter, but he’s a part time player that doesn’t offer that much pop or speed. He gets on base and the orioles severely lack that but I don’t know if he’s the guy. I don’t think jay is looking at a 2 year deal anymore anyway. Would be surprised if he got more than a year at this point.

  3. Dblack2508

    February 24, 2018 at 8:00 am

    I think the were reasonable with the exception of trading Manny. With Jonathon Schoop, it’s going to be Manny 2.0.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 24, 2018 at 3:21 pm

      I’m advocating the deal of Manny only because letting him walk for nothing is foolish.

  4. JoeFundo

    February 24, 2018 at 8:16 am

    Good job.

    My thoughts (hope?):
    Lynn to MN
    Arrieta to MIL
    Cobb to BAL

    • Dan Connolly

      February 24, 2018 at 3:21 pm

      Again, I don’t see Cobb to the Orioles. At all.

  5. Bancells Moustache

    February 24, 2018 at 9:37 am

    The ship has sailed for Schoop as well. It’s the Machado influence. Manny has been an elite prospect since he was a High School sophomore. He has had winter 2018 circled on his calendar (in green marker with dollar signs) since 2011. Even with the injury I doubt there was a strong inclination to sign as he was supremely confident in his abilities, always the case with elite players. Plus he’s an infielder, not a wide receiver. A knee injury in your early 20s isn’t the career killer in baseball that it may be in other sports. Schoop has had a front row seat to all of this and will soon see the colossus of a contract Machado will sign. Does anyone believe he is thinking ‘gee, I could never do that. I better sign an extension because Manny is WAY better than me’? Nope. O’s waited too long. He gone.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 24, 2018 at 3:24 pm

      I disagree here Stache. If Schoop is offered a deal that will provide security and not force him to go through contract instability, he’d do it. But as time goes on that risk lessens to the point free agency makes the most sense.


    February 24, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Is it possible all of us have been overrating machado? I watched a show on mlb the other day and they ranked the top 20 players in baseball. Machado was not on the list. If he isn’t one of the top 20 players in baseball, how much of a demand will there be? I wish he would just play ball and keep his mind off money. I know that’s not going to happen but I am so look tired of hearing about him.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      February 24, 2018 at 11:48 am

      It IS certainly possible. There’s no question the physical tools are all there, but that’s no guarantee he’s ever going to be a superstar. The years have produced a cornucopia of high school phenoms that never lived up to expectations. Todd Van Popple, Clint Hurdle, David Clyde, Carl Everette, Billy Beane, Kerry Wood & Mark Prior are a few that come to mind.

      • Bancells Moustache

        February 24, 2018 at 3:24 pm

        I’m with GSIS and have been for some time. I keep hearing words like “superstar” and “once in a generation” attached to Machado and I’m wondering what everyone has been watching. Talented, sure. But mentioning him with Harper and Trout is downright laughable. He hasn’t come anywhere near either of those players. Not even the same galaxy. Gifted defender? Whoopedy doo. So was Rey Ordonez.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 24, 2018 at 3:25 pm

      There’s a key number you are all missing. 25. His age. Guys like him rarely become free agents so young. That makes all the difference.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        February 24, 2018 at 5:23 pm

        That number (25) IS exactly why I wonder if he’ll ever live up to his physical gifts. Guys like Mays, Harper, Trout, Ted Williams, Jim Palmer, George Brett, Al Kaline, BABE RUTH, Brooks & Boog … they were ALL superstars well before their 25th birthdays. (OK Boog is a stretch … but I had to include him) These are the once in a generation players. I’m with GSIS & Banmo on this one Mr. Connolly. For heavens sakes, the boy is only hitting .279 for his career. To borrow a phrase from Bill Parcels, let’s hold off on the anointing oil for a while.

        And this is NOT to say he’s not going to get paid … he most certainly will. My argument is simply that he hasn’t earned it … yet.

        • Bancells Moustache

          February 25, 2018 at 8:55 am

          It’s his 6th full year in the league. Ripken had a ring, MVP and ROTY trophies and three Silver Slugger awards by year six. What’s the hold up?

    • beege57

      March 1, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      I think someone has really missed here!! Premier defensive player indeed!! Just because Manny went through a mini slump last year, never under estimate this man at the plate!!! I grew up on Brooks and I see alot of similarities!! As good as Harper he is and or will be and better!!! The orioles are making a BIG mistake here of not keeping the best one two punch in baseball together!!! Actually sickens me!!! Get off your wallet for Gods sake Angelos!!! Oriole fans have waited long enough!!!

  7. bickel57

    February 24, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    As for some explained reason this organization chooses not to want to sign extensions when they can be had realitivly cheap. It could save money for a team that wants to be frugal. The pitching staff will be selected from what we have in camp. Unless someone is cut or DFAd. This team as it stands now doesn’t seem ready to compete. They may start off well but how long it last who knows.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 24, 2018 at 3:26 pm

      And they have a brutal schedule to start

  8. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    February 24, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    It is a reasonable list – several were spot on.. As I have said before the Orioles need to extend Schoop. They missed that opportunity with Manny. Some of that may have been due to the prior two knee injuries. Howvever, he is one of the games best players and they should have taken the risk.

    Hopefully, extending Schoop would at least give the Orioles a slim hope of retaining Manny. Since they are close friends – fingers crossed. I would like them like them to acquire Lynn as well. However, this seems unlikely because of costs and losing a draft pick.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 24, 2018 at 3:27 pm

      Yeah. I just think we make too much of the friendship thing. Bottom line is this is a business.

  9. speedbump210

    February 24, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    I just wish the club would stop meandering a make a choice as difficult as it is. It may be unwise, but there is no problem with making another run for it with your current roster. But Cashner? Hoping for a bounce-back from Tillman? Andrew Pressley and Rasmus? Are these the moves that a club shooting for the playoffs makes in a retooled division? Not really. It sounds more like the club is trying its best not to take the PR hit that the Rays and Marlins have taken, but understand that they have no chance.

    Signing Cashner and Tillman makes a great deal more sense only after making a bigger splash. I’d prefer Cobb for the AL East experience, but any combination of the middle-tier of starting pitching free agents would make that rotation look a bit more respectable. I think everyone understands that the Orioles are not going to make a run at the top tier of starting pitching, nor should they. But even at the MLBTR prediction of 4/$48 million for Cobb would and should make sense for a team with this much payroll coming off the books. I believe this team is still running $20 or $30 million below last year’s payroll. Why are we essentially going for it and not trading our top chips, but then pulling back on payroll? It’s a weird purgatory that probably only the Orioles would ever attempt.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 24, 2018 at 3:30 pm

      Remember, Os went 4/$50 for Ubaldo. Out of their comfort zone and it was a disaster. Can’t see that happening again. These 4+ contracts don’t often work out for starters. Remember, Cobb already has had Tommy John once.

      • speedbump210

        February 24, 2018 at 3:44 pm

        I’ll agree that starting pitching is volatile, but Ubaldo also had (and has) an erratic delivery and a career rife with inconsistency. He only has two half seasons worth of good performance in 2010 with the Rockies (His ERA in the second half is almost double what it was in the first) and 2013 with the Indians and has had declining velocity for a number of years. He was probably the riskiest bet in the 2013-2014 off season and there was a reason he was still in the market come spring.

        Only the Os would sign a record contract to a wildcard pitcher and then when it inevitably blows up, have the gall to say to the fans “See. We told you long-term contracts for pitching are a bad idea.” Not talking about you but about statements from the club.

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        February 24, 2018 at 6:37 pm

        So, how long b4 the O’s 4get the Ubaldo mistake. There was a reason he fell to the Orioles 4 yrs ago, nobody wanted him then, like nobody wants him now. Now, the O’s are making another mistake on not jumping on Cobb or Lynn.

        My feeling: MLB needs to have a salary cap in baseball like there is in the NFL, NHL and the NBA. Or teams like big market Dodgers, yanks, bosox, and both Chicago teams will always make (dominate) the playoffs. We are about to have another (insert yawn here) long run of yanks & dodgers world series run.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 25, 2018 at 12:03 am

      So explain this to me: No one wanted Ubaldo four years ago (which isn’t true) because he was available in late Feb. Yet Cobb and Lynn are available at a later date and the Os are making a mistake not signing them. Well, seems to me that no one wants them either then. I try to work on logic here. That thinking escapes me.

      • Jbigle1

        February 26, 2018 at 12:57 am

        The issue with ubaldo was that he was a strikeout pitcher with shaky command and declining velocity. Those kind of guys typically don’t age very well. Ubaldo keeps the ball on the ground a decent amount but as we all know he can’t find the zone very often. I’m more comfortable with an Alex Cobb type of pitcher on that kind of deal. Cobb has injury concerns and hasn’t came close to 200 innings in his career either. I don’t think he’s a perfect fit either. Lynn’s walks scare me too. I can definitely see the reluctance to give these guys 4 years. I probably wouldn’t go past 3 plus a mutual option for either one of them.

  10. ClyOs

    February 24, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    I agree Dan, I think the window for resigning Schoop isn’t closed yet, but its closing fast. The Orioles need to at least ask what it will take to keep Schoop. If not they will end up with the Machado scenario. And my take on the Machado scenario is the window is closed, locked, and nailed shut. He will be playing for someone other than the Orioles on opening day 2019. I’d hate to see him leave and the team only gets a draft pick, because everyone knew he was leaving months ago. I believe they should have taken the Cub’s offer for Machado last winter, if the offer was legit.

    • Eldersburg Enigma

      February 24, 2018 at 6:45 pm

      I don’t get why everyone wants to extend Schoop! This team needs a serious rebuild SOON. Go for it now and when it doesn’t work out (news flash: it won’t) then trade every legit MLB piece for prospects. There’s no starting pitching on this roster so Schoop has less value on this roster than he does in another lineup.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 25, 2018 at 12:06 am

      Simply put EE. I want cornerstones to build around. He’s 26. That’s build-around material. Heck, he’s 5 months older than Mancini. If you can’t sign him, fine, trade him. But you gotta try.

      • willpatten

        February 26, 2018 at 12:46 pm

        The great unknown is whether Schoop or Machado or Lynn or others want to play in Baltimore. They are in charge and if Machado wants a warmer climate or Schoop wants quicker airfare to Curacao or Lynn wants to be on the west coast, it doesn’t matter what we do.

  11. Birdman

    February 24, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    Agree with all your suggested moves. My only quibble is that I am more skeptical than you about Tillman, but I have no problem with the incentive based deal they gave him.

    Hard to believe that Duquette (or any other competent personnel guy), if left to his own devices, would let Machado, and probably Schoop, walk without getting anything substantial in return. That’s professional malpractice for a baseball executive. Have to believe that in the matter of extensions or trades for Machado and Schoop, as in so many other instances, Duquette’s hands have been tied by Angelos.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 25, 2018 at 12:08 am

      I don’t know if hands are tied. But I know it’s not an open book that Duquette gets to write. Same time, owners get final decisions. It’s why they own things.

    • Jbigle1

      February 26, 2018 at 1:05 am

      I really like the Tillman signing. The only thing that is unfortunate is that we have to rely on him. At this point he’s not even the 5th starter. If we had 4 other solid established rotation options I’d be perfectly alright rolling the dice on tilly. If he doesn’t regain his form we’ll be watching Nestor Corte, mike wright, and Miguel Castro trying to piece together a season. Though it couldn’t be much worse than what we saw last year.

  12. Mr Will

    February 24, 2018 at 9:30 pm

    In 3 exhibition games…the Os have outhit their opponent in each one; left 35 men on base; have gotten decent pitching except for a Bundy baddee; shown no clutch hitting and just two home runs (both by catchers not named Caleb.) Good to know there is consistency as Crush Davis has a base hit and 3 Ks;

    I forgot to mention we are 0-2-1 which at least matters little at this point. I like our Rule 5 Guys and I only wish the Os would realize it is time to say goodbye to veterans we did not win with (you know who I mean) and sign Schoop; Lance Lynn and do a lot of praying. Notice number of ex Yankees are with the club so they must have really good scouts as most of them look good. Bet if we paid half of Davis’ remaining salary for remaining years of his contract to some team the Os would realize addition by subtraction. Cannot wait to see what the Norfolk/Bowie/Baltimore shuttle resembles this year (hope it does not run on the tracks of the Baltimore Subway System). Buckle up…it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
    Mr Will

    • Dan Connolly

      February 25, 2018 at 12:11 am

      You lost me at 0-2-1 matters a little. It matters 0. Less than zero. The 2012 team lost a ST game to a college team. Zero

    • Jbigle1

      February 26, 2018 at 1:13 am

      I don’t think we’re going to have the same flexibility this year. If we keep a rule 5 guy and mike wright at the least our shuttle is going to be a little less open. It’d be nice to see a major league caliber pitcher signed. Whether it’s a top of the market guy like Lynn or a bottom tier guy like Trevor Cahill. The ST record doesn’t mean anything but I can tell you Jose Mesa isn’t going to make this team. I’d rather have a legitimate pitcher assuming that 40 man spot in ST.

  13. HOC79

    February 24, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    Why not trade Schoop this July? If he’s having a similar year as last season, see what is out there at the trade deadline.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 25, 2018 at 12:11 am

      You sure could. I’d prefer to try and keep the young talent. But if you get an amazing offer. Sure.

  14. OsFanStuckInNY

    February 24, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    I don’t disagree with any of your proposals, but how much of a difference would it make, even if all of them took place? Finishing 3rd instead of 5th in the division?

    I sure hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see how this team is going anywhere near .500 ball this year. Sad.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 25, 2018 at 12:14 am

      3rd Place teams can still make the playoffs. Can still make the World Series. Heck the 2nd Place team and 3rd Place team could play each other the next day like in 2016. I’m
      Not saying this team makes the playoffs. But third in a division doesn’t prevent that.

    • OsFanStuckInNY

      February 25, 2018 at 7:55 am

      True enough, but do you really see them having any chance of winning enough games to be the 2nd Wild Card? I sure hope so!
      But realistically, winning 81 seems like a dream and a lot of prayers and luck — and more than one Mancini-like development.
      That said, I’m thinking Sisco and at least one OF may very well do that. (Hays, Santander, Mullins.) But will the flailings of Trumbo & Davis neutralize that, and which Beckham will we see offensively, and will the defense be any better, and will Britton return to form (eventually), and will the starting pitching be able to improve on last year’s ERA (if they find 5).

  15. jimcarter

    February 25, 2018 at 11:00 am

    As of this morning, Duquette’s plan is obvious…to revisit the 2017 squad. Last night I read that Flaherty wasn’t signed only because ownership took too long to approve the transaction. The Phils gave Ryan 3 weeks to make a decision. When he didn’t hear from the Orioles, there was no choice. Now I see that Pedro Alvarez is back in the fold. Apparently; the thought process now is for Flaherty to use his opt out with Philadelphia and then he can return home!

  16. deqalt

    February 25, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Great Article!!!! You nailed it..

    Tillman and Cashner are great signings ONLY if the Orioles can get a Lynn. Otherwise this team is battling Tampa for last. I finally have to wonder in light of even a small matter as to waiting to long on a utility guy if Angelos will always be the problem. Common sense has to kick in.

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