How one longtime baseball man views the Orioles' new direction - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

How one longtime baseball man views the Orioles’ new direction

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The Orioles’ massive trade deadline makeover, which culminated with the unexpected July 31 trades of starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, reliever Darren O’Day and second baseman Jonathan Schoop, has been debated among Orioles fans.

Many fans and people inside the game expected the Orioles to trade shortstop Manny Machado, relief pitchers Zach Britton and Brad Brach, and possibly center fielder Adam Jones, but weren’t expecting such a radical makeover.

One longtime baseball executive and scout who closely followed the Orioles moves, evaluated what they did.

“They were in the position where when you have that many free agents, and you’re having the kind of season they’re having—it happens to everybody—but when you’re in that position, it’s pretty obvious what you need to do,” he said.

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“You’ve got some attractive free agents that they could still try and sign in the [offseason], the ones they’re interested in, but it’s pretty obvious that they have to trade those guys, get as big a return as they can.”

With Schoop not scheduled for free agency until 2019, and Gausman for a year after that, their deals weren’t expected.

“I was a little surprised with Gausman and Schoop having years left [before free agency],” the longtime executive and scout said. “I was not expecting them to be traded. I was expecting Brach and Britton and Machado, and possibly Jones if he OK’d it. I certainly understand Adam Jones’ desires, and he’s earned that right.”

The scout believes it might have been better to wait until the season ended to think about a trade for Gausman and Schoop.

“You could have more people to talk to maybe in the offseason,” he said. “That’s the other alternative, but certainly their free agents needed to be moved. Some of the other guys, like [Danny] Valencia, there wasn’t a match there, but he does have some value, like a Steve Pearce does against left-handed pitching.”

The Orioles could still trade Valencia or Craig Gentry, who played in a rehab game for Double-A Bowie on Tuesday night, this month. They’ll surely pass through waivers, but the return for either won’t be great.

For Machado, Britton, Brach, Gausman, Schoop and the injured O’Day, the Orioles received 15 players, three of whom — Jonathan Villar, Cody Carroll and Breyvic Valera — have already played for the team.

With so many players, it might seem that the Orioles are nearly guaranteed some good players.

“You can miss. You can miss,” the scout said. “You’d better get quality. You better feel that you can really point to a few guys that these guys are going to be good. You can miss, for sure. It happens all the time. Everybody makes mistakes.”

The centerpieces in the Machado and Britton trades are Cuban outfielder Yusniel Diaz and right-handed starter Dillon Tate, who are both at Bowie.

Where do all the trades leave the Orioles? Can Orioles fans expect them to be competitive in 2019 or 2020?

“You’ve got to go day-by-day and year-by-year, just progressively try and get better every chance you can,” the scout said. “Hopefully, they put enough good players on the field. They certainly need to find some pitching.”

After the Machado trade, Orioles executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette said the Orioles were going to re-enter the Latin American market and spend money on scouting, analytics and player development while moving funds away from the major league roster.

“They need to improve … their Latin program, they’ve got to get that up and running,” the scout said. “You’re always looking to get better, whether it’s amateur or pro scouting, waiver claims. They’ve been good in the Rule 5 draft.”

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Eldersburg Enigma

    August 8, 2018 at 8:44 am

    They’ve been GOOD in the Rule 5 draft!?!?!?

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 8, 2018 at 9:36 am

      That’s his evaluation, and I can understand that, Enigma. In the Rule 5 draft, you’re not going to find stars. You’re looking for what your farm system hasn’t produced–a utility infielder in Ryan Flaherty, a left-handed long man in T.J. McFarland, and outfielders in Joey Rickard and Anthony Santander.

      Since the Orioles took Rickard and Santander, they’ve developed more outfielders, but these players are filled supplementary roles–not starting roles.

      Even though fans may scoff at it, they’ve probably been better at it than any team in baseball. With a better farm system, they shouldn’t need it as much.

    • ZantiGM

      August 8, 2018 at 1:37 pm

      I thought the same thing…What???????? Flaherty, McFarland are fringe players who are now gone with nothing in return….and a whole bunch of misses….Santander has a long way to go and very far from a sure thing..if anything he has regressed before he got hurt.

  2. deqalt

    August 8, 2018 at 9:37 am

    That sounds very politically correct. He didn’t sound like he was thrilled with what was done.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 8, 2018 at 11:58 am

      I think he was being realistic, deqalt.

  3. PA Bird Lover

    August 8, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Well, that was simply a rehash of what we already know. DD got the best players that were offered from the trade partners. Don’t think it was DD first dance. It wasn’t. It’s almost a given that PA himself halted all activity with the international market, so yes, any activity will be a plus. No, they will not be contending next season. First real pitching needs to be developed. There aren’t any “real” ones for sale. Our hope is the future.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 8, 2018 at 11:57 am

      You make some interesting points, PA Bird Lover.

  4. bats in the blefary

    August 8, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Well, any one of us could have said what that “long time baseball executive and scout” said. He offered nothing.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 8, 2018 at 11:59 am

      Thank you for your comment, bats. I’m looking forward to hearing from you often.

  5. Orial

    August 8, 2018 at 10:45 am

    Solid if not surprising evaluation. I did agree with one particular–hold on to Schoop till winter meetings. Makes me wonder if Schoop wasn’t really mentally into the current O’s and it showed to them. Gausman seemed to hit a wall so maybe the timing was right. International market should curtail the Rule 5.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 8, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      Schoop was on a 12-game hitting streak when he was traded and was the reigning American League Player of the Week. I think he realized the best way to create a market for himself was to play better, Orial.

  6. Ekim

    August 8, 2018 at 11:36 am

    The recent “haul” of minor leaguers reminds me of an old saying… “Throw enough pies against the wall and maybe one will stick…” I follow the four O’s “top” (and I use the term advisedly) minor league teams and have followed the “progress” of our recent additions. I know it’s way too early to asses their future value and I expect to get “flamed” for this post but I’m already asking myself what’s the difference between what we got and what we already had. The two “ prizes” have certainly not performed with anything that would indicate future stardom. Tate… two starts… 11 innings… 17 hits and an ERA of 7.15. Diaz… 15 games…52 ab’s… 10 hits and a .192 average. I also noted he strikes out at a 1 in 4 ratio.

    Others in the “haul” also have underwhelming numbers… Bannon hitting .154… Valera at .226. Kramer has shown some early potential carrying over his strike out potential from single A to double A with 17 in 16 innings and a 2.25 ERA.

    Just something to keep in mind..

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 8, 2018 at 12:04 pm

      Your point in the first sentence is one of the questions I asked of the longtime executive. With 15 players, can they miss? I’m following the prospects as well, and it’s important to add to your farm system, too, Ekim.

      The more decent players you get the better. Not all of them will be major leaguers, but some of them, if they don’t make the majors, may provide organizational depth.

  7. Borg

    August 8, 2018 at 11:37 am

    The only deals I questioned was Schoop and Gausman. What was the hurry to deal either of them? I would have rather they made a serious run at extending Schoop in the off season, and if he didn’t bite, then deal him. I still don’t understand how they could have let a young, proven second-tier (and therefore cheaper) star move on without at least trying to sign him. Schoop is making $8.5 million this year, if they offered a five year $80-90 million extension, they should have had a real shot at getting what would have been their player to build around. And that’s the rub with this rebuild anyway–if they do find the next Manny or Schoop are they just going to trade them when their contracts come close to being up rather than ponying up the money to keep homegrown talent? My bet is we’ll see a repeat of Schoop with every single gem they do manage to find-trade them before extending and get cheaper players in return.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 8, 2018 at 12:06 pm

      Borg, I don’t know the answer to your concluding point, though it certainly is a fair statement.

      I believe Schoop was determined to file for free agency no matter what. The time for extending him came in the past and was acted upon.

      • Borg

        August 8, 2018 at 5:50 pm

        Was there ever an offer? I thought I remember reading a quote from Schoop saying the Orioles never made any offers. I

  8. Birdman

    August 8, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Like others who have commented, the Schoop deal strikes me as puzzling, especially considering the apparently modest return the Orioles received. At only 26 years old, Schoop would have seemed the logical player to “rebuild” the team around. Why not at least make an effort to extend Schoop’s contract, before trading him? No indication the team ever made him an extension offer,

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 8, 2018 at 7:25 pm

      Birdman, I would have liked to have seen Schoop extended a few years ago, He’s certainly missed.

  9. ZantiGM

    August 8, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    The Schoop deal needed to be better..needed a better pitching prospect than Ortiz, the rest of the deal i have no problems with but will should have gotten Burnes or Garcia instead of Ortiz even if it meant they kept Carmona.A better deal would have been:
    Burnes
    Villar

    Nothing against Carmona but he is a long way from the majors and i was just not happy with Ortiz being the headliner of our return.
    Ortiz reminds me of Gallardo and i sure hope i am wrong…………

    In the Gausman deal i would have demanded for more than Cumberland as the last part of that package:
    I would have got this or no deal:
    Wentz-LHP
    Contreras-C
    Phillips-RHP
    Jacob Webb-RHP

  10. Rich Dubroff

    August 8, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Phil, I always enjoy your evaluations, whether on Twitter or here.

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