Active offseason will follow disastrous 2018 Orioles season -

Rich Dubroff

Active offseason will follow disastrous 2018 Orioles season

The worst season in the history of the Baltimore Orioles is over, and now an eventful offseason is about to begin. Manager Buck Showalter is expected to be replaced, perhaps as early as Monday, and there’s no word on whether Dan Duquette, the team’s longtime executive vice president of baseball operations, is staying.

Showalter, who is 24th on the all-time managers’ win list, not only skippered a team that was the worst in franchise history but one of the worst in baseball history.

The Orioles finished 47-115 and were consistently bad, losing 19 or 20 games in April, May, June, August and September. They never had a winning streak of more than four games but had 11 losing streaks of five or more.

By the end of April, the Orioles had lost 20 of 28 and were already 12 ½ games out of the American League East lead. Things got worse when the team lost seven straight in a West Coast trip against the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics.

And, when the team returned to Baltimore, Dylan Bundy allowed four home runs to Kansas City’s first seven batters, something that had never been done in baseball history.

“It’s disappointing, obviously, because you’re coming in the year and you thought you were going to be a great competitive team on paper,” Trey Mancini said.

“It certainly seemed to be that way, and we never really could bounce back from that April. It was tough for us. We didn’t play to the best of our ability and things, I think, especially after the West Coast road trip to Anaheim and Oakland, that was pretty tough for us, too. It might have taken the wind out of our sails, too.

“I think at that point, everybody kind of knew what was going to happen at the trade deadline. We did what we had to do there.”

When the Orioles traded Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the All-Star break, they had a record of 28-69 for a winning percentage of .289. After they dealt Machado, they were 19-46, and their winning percentage was nearly the same: .292.


The team used a record 56 players, including 15 who made their major league debut.

“You’re going to have a lot of new guys, a lot of young guys making their major league debuts,” Mancini said. “You kind of know that you’re not going to win as many games when that’s the case. I think it was important for a lot of us to start playing together and get to know each other and hopefully take all the lessons and use that to better ourselves next year. We have a good group here, and it just takes a while to kind of mesh.”

The Orioles won a game in each of their final six series, avoiding a long losing streak to end the season. Each win was in the final game of those six series.

Mancini, who finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2017, slumped early in the season but perked up to finish with a .242 average, 24 home runs,  tying him with Machado for the team lead, and 58 RBIs. He said that good came out of the season.

“Absolutely, I think I take actually a lot of positives from it,” Mancini said.

“Just going through something like this, you kind of use it for the future as a motivation tool, knowing how to get yourself out of a rut, or a big slump, if you’re going through it. You learn a lot about yourself in struggles, and I think everybody here can take a lot of lessons from this year and better themselves for the future.”

Fewer people watched the Orioles in person. The team drew 1,564,192, a drop of about 464,000 from 2017, and the smallest full-season attendance since 1978.

Showalter doesn’t blame the fans for not supporting a losing team.

“Attendance is down. That’s our fault—not theirs,” he said.

“People have a lot of decisions in their lives to make about what they’re doing,” Showalter said. “It’s up to us to give them something they want to embrace.”

Whoever manages the team next year will have nowhere to go but up. However, even a 15-win gain, normally a cause of celebration, would mean another 100-loss season.

“It’s about winning the game. That’s one of the things I really feel like we need to get back to, the expectations of winning,” Showalter said. “That’s part of it. You’ve got to have expectations of winning, regardless of if you’re whatever they call it nowadays — building. I don’t believe in rebuild, the word rebuild. The first thing you have to accomplish, and one of the things I tried to do when we I got here, is to raise the expectations of winning.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 1, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Not much to say today, except that losing on purpose sucks. Welcome to the new blueprint for managing a Major Leauge Baseball team.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 1, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Not much to say today, except that losing on purpose sucks. Welcome to the new blueprint for managing a Major League Baseball team.

    Now we fans without a dog in the fight can move onto the 5+ hour playoff games that extend past 1:00 AM EST.

    Thanks MLB

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 1, 2018 at 5:21 pm

      Orioles aren’t losing on purpose. They just don’t have much talent, Boog.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        October 2, 2018 at 8:17 am

        The players aren’t losing on purpose, but by jettisoning the team, the managment is.

  3. Orial

    October 1, 2018 at 11:27 am

    464,000 drop in attendence. That’s staggering no matter how bad you are. What’s ironic is that Buck probably the best candidate going forward and most qualified to handle the rebuild will have to be let go(not re-signed). And what’s also ironic is that most(not all) fans would be satisfied with his return and angry with DD being retained which appears to be the likely scenario. Hard to reward 116 losses I guess. I just hope the “bloodbath” is quick because this organization really has to look in the mirror and address some serious issues. Hey Rich put a good word into Victor Victor’s ear for us.

    • Jbigle1

      October 1, 2018 at 2:36 pm

      Respectfully disagree with you there. Being mad at DD is a popular opinion but it’s hard to determine how much blame you can really throw his way. He wasn’t the one lobbying to make the chris Davis deal happen. It certainly wasn’t his philosophy to trade away all our IFA money for nothing. I think his deadline deals were pretty good as a whole. I hate the Gausman trade but other than I think he did the best he could with the pieces we had to deal. Buck isn’t a guy to oversee a rebuild for me. He likes vets, he wants to play his guys. Which is good. Just not good for a team that needs to see a bunch of new faces. This job is going to be thoroughly unattractive and it’s highly likely whoever takes the job will be gone before we are competitive again.

      • Jbigle1

        October 1, 2018 at 2:48 pm

        Our only hope for a guy like Girardi is in 3-4 years or so when we start to turn this around and have some young players established and some prospects coming up. Guys like that don’t oversee lengthy rebuilds. Bordick makes plenty of sense to oversee a rebuild. 9/10 those guys get canned before the rebuild is complete. See rick renteria with the cubs.Or even Aj Hinch coming in with the Astros.. Pete mackanin in philly. I bet Andy green in SD will be the next to get hit with that train. It’s a tough job to take. If I were JJ hardy, joe Girardi etc I wouldn’t want that job right now. Give me a call in 3 years after bordick or some other guy figures out this mess. As much as we like hardy now 90% of orioles fans would be calling for Hardy’s head in 3 years if were still a bad team. And it’s more likely than not that’s the case.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 1, 2018 at 5:22 pm

      Orial, don’t put all your hope on Victor. I’m eager to see him play.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 1, 2018 at 5:24 pm

      Bigle, I’m intrigued to see who the next manager will be.

  4. Pip

    October 1, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    The Mesa brothers will sign in Miami. Despite how bad the Marlins are, they have new ownership and they have some direction and a plan, plus Miami culturally is very similar to Cuba.
    The Orioles have nothing. No.Thing.

    • Orial

      October 1, 2018 at 2:10 pm

      The Orioles have the money

      • Jbigle1

        October 1, 2018 at 2:23 pm

        The orioles have the money until we dont. I’m sure there are more 23 year old 1B in rookie ball available to trade for!

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 1, 2018 at 5:25 pm

      Pip, I never thought it was a sure thing that Mesa would sign here.

  5. deqalt

    October 1, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    I think outside of a few weeks in October the rest of the winter will be crickets.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 1, 2018 at 5:26 pm

      Deqalt, if that’s the case, I hope I still here from you.

    • Raymo

      October 1, 2018 at 9:55 pm

      Jeez Rich, I can accept the misused homonyms from the readers, but not from the professional writer.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 2, 2018 at 8:57 am

      Raymo, you got me! Thanks for the catch. It’s been a long season.

  6. OriolesNumber1Fan

    October 1, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Jbigle1 needs to do his homework on Buck Showalter. He rebuilt the Yanks, Rangers, Diamondbacks and Orioles. Turned every one of those teams around. With the Snakes he managed them from 100 losses to 100 wins the very next year. Difference was the gm gave him the pitching Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling he needed and not 4 rule 5 guys. Like I stated b4, 3 letters for the Orioles brass, BBB. BRING BACK BUCK!!!

    • Jbigle1

      October 2, 2018 at 2:43 am

      I’m only in my late 20’s so I can’t speak of
      His days in NY because I was far too young to remember them with any significance. But he did nothing in Texas. He had one winning season in 04 followed by another losing season and then he was out. .. in fact he never lasted more than four years at any stop prior to Baltimore. ….. How old is buck? Do you think he’s managing another 3,4,5 seasons? i can’t imagine he wants to guide a ship he will never see sail. Even if he was retained, there’s no way the orioles would ever play playoff baseball again under Showalter. It really wouldn’t upset me in anyway if he was brought back because as I said before I think the next Manager we hire isn’t going to see any competitive baseball in Baltimore. I don’t mean to discredit anything buck has accomplished because he’s certainly been the most successful manager in my lifetime and I’ll forever be grateful.

      • Jbigle1

        October 2, 2018 at 2:57 am

        The orioles rebuild won’t be a quick one. There’s no magic fix for us to go from 100 losses to 100 wins. We’re almost certainly looking at a minimum of 3 years before we can even think about getting excited about the playoffs. It took a long time for Houston and Chicago to build those teams up. Boston is still going to be there, as is New York. TB always has the payroll constraint but we’re seeing their young players come up. Toronto is just starting their rebuild but if you look at their team objectively they have a lot more than we do right now. They have the #1 overall prospect in baseball as well as a couple of other highly regarded prospects coming up. I believe they have a few more valuable major league pieces they could move as well. With all that in mind I think we need someone a little younger than buck signing on for the next 3-4 years of futility. I don’t think any less of him as a manager but sometimes it’s just the right time to move on. If buck wants to manage again it should be for a team that’s competitive or at least close to finished their rebuild. Not one that is just beginning.

      • bv22

        October 2, 2018 at 12:19 pm

        Showalter only lasted a few seasons at each stop prior to B’more because of his personality. He was a very controlling and had the habit of wearing out his welcome fairly quickly even though his teams performed well on the field. When he came to Baltimore, he had mellowed considerably and took a different approach to managing, and the result has been a winning record through 2016, and hanging on for 8 years. His personality change has been well documented.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 2, 2018 at 9:08 am

      Orioles Number 1 fan: I wrote in August, just after the trades that I thought Showalter was the right man for the rebuilding job because I thought he had the temperament to handle another tough season.

      Going through a 115-loss season was a traumatic experience. Jbigle, you are right, it’s likely to be a Long rebuild, and a first-time manager may be traumatized by another 100-loss season.

      With so few players to identify with, and the likelihood that Adam Jones won’t return, Showalter can be a face of the franchise for fans.

      However, I don’t expect him back.

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