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

How’s the Orioles’ makeover going so far?


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.



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