How did it come to this? A review of the missteps, mishaps and miscalculations that led to the Orioles' 2018 debacle - Page 6 of 7 -
Paul Folkemer

How did it come to this? A review of the missteps, mishaps and miscalculations that led to the Orioles’ 2018 debacle

5. They tried to fit square pegs into round holes.

Earlier this month, when asked about the Orioles’ horrendous defense this season, manager Buck Showalter lamented that several players were playing out of position. That’s true — but the Orioles have nobody but themselves to blame for the poor roster construction.

Every winter, it seems, Showalter and Duquette emphasize that the team needs to get better defensively. They also talk about the importance of improving their on-base percentage, the need to bolster their rotation and a few other common refrains. Yet, most offseasons, they haven’t taken the steps to address all those needs. The Orioles have cobbled together some unbalanced rosters recently, exposing glaring weaknesses on the team.

In the field, the Orioles have stuck players in positions that they’re ill-suited for or unfamiliar with, such as Trey Mancini in left field and Tim Beckham at third (though he shifted back to shortstop after the Machado trade). As a result, the Orioles’ defense has steadily declined, hitting a nadir this season as the worst in the league.

On offense, the Orioles have continued to build a lineup based on power but sorely lacking in OBP. Their team on-base percentage has declined the last two seasons, and the Orioles seemingly aren’t targeting the right types of players to correct that imbalance. (Their offseason decision to pursue OBP-challenged power bat Rasmus instead of Jon Jay for the right field vacancy speaks to that flawed process.)

All in all, the Orioles have hamstrung their roster and aren’t putting their players in the best position to succeed. And the results have been ugly.

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