How's the Orioles' makeover going so far? - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

How’s the Orioles’ makeover going so far?

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

It’s been nearly two months since the Orioles completed the last of the trades that sent six veterans—Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Kevin Gausman, Darren O’Day and Jonathan Schoop away—and brought back 15 players and $2.75 million in international signing bonus slot money.

Although it’s far too early to make a definitive judgment on the deals — check back in 2021 or 2022 for that — we can get an early read because six of the 15 have already played for the Orioles.

July 15: Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Rylan Bannon, Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer, Zach Pop and Breyvic Valera

Because Machado is a generational-type player, this was and will continue to be the most scrutinized of the trades.

The Orioles have high hopes for Diaz, who was dealt immediately after hitting two home runs in the Futures Game at Nationals Park. The soon-to-be 22-year-old Cuban had a rough adjustment to Double-A Bowie.

Diaz hit .314 with an eye-popping .428 on-base percentage for the Dodgers’ Double-A Tulsa affiliate, but wasn’t able to duplicate his success for the Bowie, where he hit just .239 with a .329 OBP.

Although Diaz was considered the centerpiece of that deal, Kremer may emerge as its best player.

Kremer had 178 strikeouts in 131 1/3 innings, leading all of minor league baseball in punchouts. He was 5-2 with a 2.58 ERA in eight starts with Bowie.

Although the 22-year-old Kremer doesn’t have to be added to the 40-man roster this fall, the Orioles will probably want to look at him in spring training. It’s not likely he’ll make the jump from Double-A directly to the majors, but the right-hander’s a candidate for major league work later in 2019.

Pop, who turned 22 on Thursday, is also intriguing to the Orioles. He started the season at the Dodgers’ Low-A Great Lakes affiliate in the Midwest League, jumped to High-A, and was promoted to Double-A when he was traded.

With the Baysox, the right-handed reliever had a 2.53 ERA in 14 games along with a sparkling 0.938 WHIP. He averaged fewer than six hits per nine innings and in his two years in the minors, has given up just one home run in 69 2/3 innings.

The Orioles were disappointed in Bannon, an infielder who hit just .204 in 32 games with the Baysox. He had 20 homers and 61 RBIs at Rancho Cucamonga, Los Angeles’ High-A team, but was challenged greatly in the jump to Double-A. Perhaps the only positive is that Bannon walked nearly as many times (22) as he struck out (24).

Valera has batted .296 in 10 games with he Orioles, and manager Buck Showalter said he’d like to see him play the outfield, but won’t have enough time to do so in the remaining 10 games of the season. The switch-hitting utility man is a candidate for a role on the 2019 Orioles.

July 24: Zach Britton to the New York Yankees for Cody Carroll, Josh Rogers and Dillon Tate

Carroll has a 7.30 ERA in 11 games with the Orioles, and the hard-throwing right-hander has an excellent chance to start next season in the majors.

Rogers is of great interest to the Orioles because he is the highest-ranking left-handed starter in the organization. He was 1-2 with an 8.49 ERA in three starts, and was sent home after Wednesday night’s game because he had met his club-imposed innings’ requirement.

Although Rogers is far from a sure thing to make next year’s roster, the Orioles do need a left-handed starter. He remains the only left-hander to start for the Orioles in 2018.

Tate was the big name in the deal. Three years ago, he was the fourth overall pick in the draft by Texas, but since he’s been traded twice.

His numbers for Double-A Trenton (3.38 ERA and 1.113 WHIP in 15 starts) were far better than his Bowie stats (5.75 ERA and 1.402 WHIP in seven starts).

The 24-year-old right-hander is throwing in Sarasota in case the Orioles need him for the final games.

July 30: Brach to the Atlanta Braves for international signing bonus slot money

Brach has been a great addition for the Braves, but let’s wait on this one until we find out if the Orioles are able to sign the touted Cuban outfielder Victor Victor Mesa with some of the additional international money.

July 31: Gausman and O’Day to the Braves for Brett Cumberland, Jean Carlos Encarnacion, Evan Phillips, Bruce Zimmermann and international signing bonus slot money.

Phillips has an 18.56 ERA in 5 1/3 innings with the Orioles. It’s possible he could contend for a bullpen slot next year.

Cumberland, a catcher, hit just .190 in 15 games for the Baysox. Zimmermann, a 23-year-old right-hander, was 2-3 with a 5.06 ERA in five Bowie starts.

Encarnacion is just 20, and the third baseman hit just .218 in 26 games for Low-A Delmarva. His most worrisome stat was accumulating just three walks to 34 strikeouts.

If the $2.5 million picked up from the Braves helps them sign Mesa, this deal will be a success. Otherwise, the Orioles will point to the approximately $12 million saved on O’Day’s salary through 2019 as a win.

July 31: Schoop to the Milwaukee Brewers for Jean Carmona, Luis Ortiz and Jonathan Villar

For now, this is the best of the five deals made by the Orioles. Schoop is hitting just .193 for the Brewers while Villar has hit .267 with eight homers and 23 RBIs. He’s stolen 15 of 17 bases in 44 games, giving the Orioles a component they haven’t had in years.

The biggest question about Villar is his position for next season. Will he return to second base or will he supplant Tim Beckham at short?

Oritz managed to post an unfathomable 4.86 WHIP in 2 1/3 innings. His season ended a week ago when he suffered a left hamstring injury against the White Sox.

He’s listed at 230 pounds, and that appears to be generous. The Orioles would like to see Ortiz in better shape so he can compete for a spot next year.

Carmona is the player farthest from the majors. He won’t turn 19 until Halloween and hit .226 in 24 games for Short-Season Aberdeen.

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Ekim

    September 21, 2018 at 8:12 am

    Underwhelming!

  2. bigdaddydk

    September 21, 2018 at 8:17 am

    It’s far too early to judge the outcomes of these trades, but considering that Machado, Britton, and Brach are all going to be FAs, there wasn’t much choice in the matter by the time the deadline arrived. Get something or get nothing but a compensation pick. Hmm. Let’s think about that.

    The thing I’m most annoyed by is the lack of vision this club has shown the last few years, choosing to try to rally the troops to contend this year when the signs pointed the other way. Had they done what they should have and made trades in the off-season, perhaps they’d have fared better. Maybe not though. Still, it’s hard to be encouraged when there are not better numbers in the minors. As I said, though, it’s hard to judge the outcomes of these trades so early.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 21, 2018 at 8:26 am

      Check back with me on July 31, 2021, bigdaddy.

      • bigdaddydk

        September 21, 2018 at 8:55 am

        Yeah, that’s kind of where I am with it.

      • VICTORTEE

        September 21, 2018 at 9:08 am

        Yup!

    • VICTORTEE

      September 21, 2018 at 9:12 am

      If any of the prospects we got from the Braves is a success, it will be a surprise to Braves management. The Braves are my NL team to root for and I follow them closely. Braves management NEVER talked about any of the guys we got as prospects. If we don’t sign Victor Victor, all it will be is a salary dump of Gausman and O’Day. WOO HOO!!!

      • bigdaddydk

        September 22, 2018 at 8:45 am

        O’Day I can see letting go. I think that was the big objective but it took Gausman to get them to take him. Not sure what I think of that deal yet. That’s the one that probably requires the longest time to evaluate simply because the return hasn’t truly been established yet.

  3. Orial

    September 21, 2018 at 10:38 am

    Only negatives that could possibly be said are Phillips,Carrol but it’s even early to give an honest assessment on them. Rich you’re correct–2021. Anyone who calls these trades a bust is just showing the content/emotion of a long frustrating season. I’ll remain optimistic. Let’s not ignore what Villar has contributed. Two things about Villar though-please keep him at 2nd(arm) and reign him in a little. Too aggressive,if that’s possible. Villar,regardless of what Caleb says,does seem to enjoy being an Oriole.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 21, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      I don’t think Caleb was calling out every single member of the club, Orial. I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen so far from Villar.

  4. willmiranda

    September 21, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Thanks for the comprehensive report. A couple questions. Could the minor league stats indicate that the O’s farm teams are in tougher leagues? I once had the sense that the Dodgers, in particular, had teams in leagues with high hitting stats. And when you say Ortiz’s avoirdupoids is generous, do you mean generous high or generous low? I have been impressed with Villar.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 21, 2018 at 5:02 pm

      Will, it’s a good point. The Texas League, of which Tulsa is a member, is generally considered a hitter’s league, which the Eastern League is not. The California League can also fit into that category.

      As for Ortiz, I think it’s clear he weighs more than 230.

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 21, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    I think the O’s obviously have snookered the Braves, Dodgeers & Yankees!

    World Series or Bust 2019!!!

    Go O’s!!

    Sorry Rich, I’m still on a lemon meringue high!

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 21, 2018 at 5:04 pm

      Maybe we’ll try Boston Creme pie next, Boog.

  6. Liamandcarolinesdad

    September 21, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Valera and Villar both seem to be making the most of the opportunities they’ve been given so far. Kremer seems to have a high ceiling; let’s hope it translates. Diaz, Carroll, Tate, and Rogers all seem to have regressed since the trade. If three of those four can be solid contributors AND we sign Mesa, I’d call it a win. Anything less and we’re treading water again.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 21, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      Liam and carolines dad, one of the other purposes of the trade was to restock the farm system. I know that’s not a sexy way of thinking, but some of the 15, if not major league prospects, were better than what was in the farm system.

      Diaz and Tate struggled at Bowie, but Carroll and Rogers at least got their first taste of major league ball.

  7. GSISDANNO

    September 22, 2018 at 8:45 am

    I am not impressed with the players we received except for Villar. He may be a better player than Schoop. Phillips has not been effective at all and Carroll has been a disaster out of the bullpen. In fact, of all the young players to come to Baltimore, Mullins is the only one with a future, in my opinion.
    It concerns me that many of these players come to the Baltimore orgsnization with impressive numbers from other organizations. But they cant approach those stats here.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 22, 2018 at 9:46 pm

      That’s why we can’t really evaluate the deal in fewer than three minutes.

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