Oriole fans have had plenty to watch in the first week of the 2018 postseason. They’ve seen the players traded away in July play into October. Some have performed well in the postseason. Others haven’t.
The American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros, which begins Saturday, has only one ex-Oriole playing a prominent role — Steve Pearce.
Pearce, who last played for the Orioles in 2016,but was injured a few weeks before the wild-card game, played in all seven of the team’s postseason games in 2014.
In the Division Series win against the New York Yankees, Pearce hit .333 (4-for-12) with two RBIs. Pearce has now completed the AL East cycle by playing for each of the division’s five teams.
Boston’s only other Oriole connection is left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, who was traded in July 2014 for Andrew Miller.
Miller, a key piece in the Orioles’ 2014 postseason bullpen, walked three batters and allowed a single while recording just one out in two relief outings for the Cleveland Indians, who were swept by the Astros in three games in the other Division Series.
Zach Britton allowed two home runs in five innings—one to Khris Davis in the Yankees’ win over the Oakland Athletics in the American League wild-card game, and another to Christian Vazquez in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s 4-3 loss to the Red Sox, ending New York’s run.
Britton and Miller will hit the free-agent market and both expect multiple suitors.
The National League Championship Series is potentially much more interesting for Oriole fans.
It’s a matchup between the Milwaukee Brewers and Jonathan Schoop, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, featuring Manny Machado.
Schoop, who had been named the AL’s Player of the Week the day before his abrupt trade to Milwaukee, was in the midst of a 12-game hitting streak when he was dealt.
However, things haven’t gone well in Milwaukee for Schoop, who hit just .202 in 46 games.
In the Brewers’ three-game sweep over the Colorado Rockies, Schoop batted just twice.
Wade Miley, who led the major leagues with 93 walks while compiling an astronomical 1.729 WHIP for the Orioles in 2017, got much more air time during the Rockies’ series than Schoop.
Miley worked 4 2/3 scoreless innings in Game 2 for Milwaukee, allowing just three hits.
Josh Hader retired all seven batters he faced, striking out four while pitching in each of the three Brewers wins.
Hader, a native of Millersvwille, Md., was sent to Houston in the July 2013 trade that brought Bud Norris to the Orioles. During the 2018 season, Hader struck out an astonishing 143 batters in 81 1/3 innings.
There’ll be lots of teasing between Schoop and Machado during the series, which begins Friday, and gloating after it.
Machado, who played well for the Los Angeles Dodgers after the trade, hit .273 with 13 home runs and 42 RBIs.
In the Dodgers’ four-game victory over the Atlanta Braves, Machado was just 3-for-17 (.176) but all three of his hits were for extra bases: two homers, a double, and a series-leading six RBIs.
Machado had four RBIs in Game 4 with a three-run homer in the seventh inning to secure the series. His two-run homer in Game 2 gave starter Clayton Kershaw all the support he needed.
Many Oriole fans were pulling for the Braves, whose roster included Brad Brach, Ryan Flaherty, Kevin Gausman and Nick Markakis. Darren O’Day, who was included in the Gausman deal, is recovering from hamstring surgery and wasn’t able to play.
None of the ex-Orioles fared well. Gausman, who was passed over for a start, allowed two runs in two innings in Game 3, Atlanta’s only win.
Brach appeared in two games, giving up a run on two hits with two walks in 1 1/3 innings. Markakis was just 1-for-12 (.083). Both are free agents. Flaherty, who was hitless in two pinch-hitting appearances, might consider a career in coaching or managing.
Machado’s free-agent status was referred to often during the Division Series, and he gets to play for the first time in a League Championship Series. He was recuperating from knee surgery during the Orioles’ 2014 postseason run.
Schoop still has a year until he can become a free agent. MLBTradeRumors.com has estimated that Schoop’s 2019 salary will be $10.1 million in his final year of arbitration. It’s possible that Milwaukee will not want to pay Schoop that much and could trade him in a salary dump.
MLBTradeRumors also estimates that Jonathan Villar, who was the principal player received in return for Schoop, will earn $4.4 million in his second season of eligibility for salary arbitration.
Victor Victor complication
The Orioles’ pursuit of Cuban outfielder Victor Victor Mesa became more complicated Wednesday when the Miami Marlins received $1 million in international signing bonus money from the Washington Nationals in exchange for reliever Kyle Barraclough.
The Marlins now have $6,044,500 available to sign international free agents while the Orioles, who have more than any other major league team, have an estimated $6.7 million.