Tough to predict which Orioles will stay around for the rebuild - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Tough to predict which Orioles will stay around for the rebuild

Matt Albers
Photo credit: Frank Jansky - Icon Sportswire

One of the most popular questions fans ask is: Which of the current Orioles will still be with the club when they turn things around?

The most popular answers are Trey Mancini and John Means. Hunter Harvey has become another favorite choice.

The question seems simple, but the answer isn’t.

In 2010, the year that Buck Showalter became manager, the Orioles used 46 players. Most were gone by the time the team was in contention two years later.

Seven of those 46 played in the major leagues in 2019. Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters stayed around to enjoy postseason success.

Justin Turner was dealt away early in the season, before Showalter became manager and has become a vital player on the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Three pitchers from that club pitched in the majors last season — Jake Arrieta, David Hernandez, who was traded after that season to Arizona for Mark Reynolds, and Matt Albers.

Arrieta and Hernandez were Orioles prospects who didn’t live up to expectations. Arrieta found great success with the Chicago Cubs, and Hernandez has had a decent career with the Diamondbacks, Angels. Phillies and Reds.

Albers seemed an unlikely candidate to have a prosperous major league career. He led the 2010 Orioles with 62 appearances and had a 5-3 record, a 4.52 ERA and an unimpressive 1.480 WHIP.

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By then he was in his fifth major league season, having come to the Orioles along with Dennis Sarfate and Luke Scott in the Miguel Tejada trade in December 2007.

After the season, the Orioles didn’t offer a contract to Albers, who has played for seven teams since then.

In the nine seasons since leaving the Orioles, Albers has earned more than $16 million. He has pitched in 616 games, putting him in the top 10 of active pitchers.

Albers has never been a high-profile pitcher, earning just seven saves. His best season came in 2017 when he was 7-2 with a 1.78 ERA with the Washington Nationals. That was the only time in his career that he made the postseason.

That year earned Albers a two-year, $5 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. After an 8-6 record and a 5.13 ERA with Milwaukee, the 36-year-old right-hander is a free agent again.

Albers’ 2010 statistics weren’t much different than those Shawn Armstrong or Paul Fry compiled last season, but no one is suggesting that Armstrong or Fry will be an important part of future Oriole teams.

There will probably be an outlier or two from the 2019 Orioles who will have a respectable major league career elsewhere.

Jones, Markakis, Wieters as free agents: Markakis, who has played for Atlanta since 2015, will be returning to the Braves for a sixth season, signing on for another year.

Neither Jones nor Wieters was included on MLBTradeRumors.com’s list of top 50 free agents.

Jones hit .260 with a .728 OPS for Arizona in 2019 and slumped badly in the season’s second half. After the All-Star break, Jones had just three homers and 23 RBIs with a .680 OPS.

The 34-year-old should be able to continue his career with a team that will use him as a fourth outfielder.

Wieters hit just .214 in 67 games as Yadier Molina’s backup with the St. Louis Cardinals. At the end of the season, there was chatter that the Cardinals were interested in re-signing him.

Minor league free agents: According to Baseball America, the Orioles have 17 minor league free agents. Five played for the Orioles last season — right-handed pitchers Pedro Araujo, Ryan Eades, Tayler Scott, Jimmy Yacabonis and Gabriel Ynoa.

Araujo was a Rule 5 pick in December 2017. Eades and Scott were outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk on October 30, and Ynoa declared for free agency on Monday. Yacabonis was 3-4 with a 5.75 ERA in 55 games over the past three seasons.

The other free agents are right-handers Taylor Grover, who was selected in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft last December; Kieran Lovegrove and Marcos Molina; left-hander Luis Gonzalez; catcher Carlos Perez; infielders Christopher Bostick, Anderson Feliz, Sean Miller, Jack Reinheimer, Engleb Vielma and Zach Vincej ;and outfielder Adamar Rifaela.

Perez, who played with the Angels, Braves and Rangers from 2015-2018, received high marks for working with Bowie’s young pitchers.

Vielma had seven at-bats for the Orioles in 2018. Bostick, Reinheimer and Vincej have major league experience but played for Norfolk all season.

Miller, a Crofton native who attended Archbishop Spalding, was a Carolina League All-Star with Frederick.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. deqalt

    November 8, 2019 at 8:54 am

    This is the million dollar question. Right now, I think if the Orioles are going to even start to see light at the end of the tunnel starting in 2021 players like Sisco, Hays, Harvey, and Mancini on the current MLB have to blossom, otherwise the rebuild will be much longer. I am not at all sold on John Means. I think he had a nice 2018, but I don’t see a pitcher much better than a 5th starter in the future. Hoping I’m dead wrong! In the future the rotation will come from the prospects and a FA or two.

    • Bancells Moustache

      November 8, 2019 at 10:01 am

      I agree. Means had a nice year and was a good story but I ain’t buying that stock either. Love to see it happen and am rooting for the guy, but I’m not holding my breath.

      • Jbigle1

        November 8, 2019 at 10:45 am

        I don’t expect Means to be a high impact player. He looks like a nice #4 possibly #3 (because it’s the O’s) starter to me. Remember Miguel Gonzalez? Left handed Miguel coming at you. He wasn’t supposed to be an integral part of any rebuild so really whatever means ends up being is just an added bonus.

        Its really early on in our rebuild. I wouldn’t get attached to anybody on the club. Hays, Harvey and Means look like the guys who could be here when we are a competitive baseball team. But you know the 2012 Astros didn’t look like the 2016 Astros either.

        • Rich Dubroff

          November 8, 2019 at 11:35 am

          Those teams had Dallas Keuchel and Jose Altuve. George Springer was already in that organization then, jbigle. It would be good for the Orioles if they had players of similar skills.

          • Jbigle1

            November 10, 2019 at 6:09 pm

            Sure they had Keuchel and Altuve but both of them weren’t contributing all that much in 2012. I’m assuming Adley Rutschman is going to be a key part of the future. Same thing with Grayson Rodriguez. I just wouldn’t be concerned about the big league results right now.

            Those rebuilding Astros teams had 18-20 guys on them Annually who weren’t long term pieces.

    • Shamus

      November 9, 2019 at 4:37 pm

      Sisco????? He gone

  2. Bancells Moustache

    November 8, 2019 at 9:58 am

    I’m not sure the 2010 team is a good comparison. Showalter inherited the skeleton of a winner, with Jones, Markakis, Wieters all being legitimate young Big League starters with All Star potential, and Hardy coming over in the Winter of 2010. Outside of Mancini, those guys aren’t on this team.

    With those guys all being Free Agents, I’m sure there will be fans clamoring for the Orioles to bring them back, though I strongly doubt the Elias regime would consider it. One name I am curious about Rich is Andrew Cashner. O’s need a few more arms to keep the seat warm while the youngsters develop, and he said he really liked it here. He’s a free-agent whose disaster of a second half in Boston means he’ll be cheap. Any chance Elias kicks the tires?

    • Jbigle1

      November 8, 2019 at 10:53 am

      I think Cashner makes sense. His market is sure to be limited after the piss poor showing in Boston. Cheap enough to be in the O’s range. With the only locks for next years rotation being Cobb, Means, and Bundy we certainly should give him a look. Perhaps Elias finds a comparable FA that he likes better but I think that’s the exact type of guy we end up with.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 8, 2019 at 11:34 am

      Bancells, the reason I chose 2010 was to make a point about Albers, not the others. No one could have predicted that he would have such a productive career at the time.

      I don’t think they’ll re-sign Cashner because the only purpose in re-signing him would be to flip him again. He was having a fine season, and they got two young Dominican Summer League players for him. I don’t think they’d get much for him a second time aground.

      • Bancells Moustache

        November 8, 2019 at 12:15 pm

        You aren’t going to be able to flip him, but you need someone to eat innings this year, and since he was so bad in Boston you could probably get him on a one year deal on the cheap. You ain’t getting anything for Aaron Brooks or David Hess in a trade either.

        • Jbigle1

          November 10, 2019 at 6:14 pm

          Agreed bancrlls. What does it hurt signing a Cashner type? I’d be surprised if we didn’t. The orioles put themselves in a bad spot last year with the lack of options as far as pitching goes. There’s absolutely no excuse to give guys as bad as Dan Straily and David Hess that many turns in a rotation.

          But that’s what happens when all you add is Straily and a hail Mary on a guy coming off Thoracic outlet surgery. And Straily wasn’t even brought in until after the season started. I suspect we get a major league arm in free agency.

          And I wouldn’t be so sure that Cashner wouldn’t bring back a couple more 17 year olds if he is pitching well again. I’d be more surprised if we didn’t add a pitch we on a small deal. Cashner fits the mold of what I think that’s be. Certainly could be someone else but I think there’s definitely going to be An arm coming in.

  3. DevoTion

    November 8, 2019 at 10:48 am

    By 2023 Chris Davis will be a free agent again so the O’s can sign him up for another 5 years and$100 mill. This way we’ll have a bonafide slugger in the middle of the lineup for the next playoff run

    • WorldlyView

      November 8, 2019 at 3:16 pm

      I’m pretty sure we could resign him for $80 million.

  4. Tony Paparella

    November 8, 2019 at 10:50 am

    Just from the comments you can see that no one has much confidence,at least at this point in the nucleous of the present team.Yes Means is a possibility to stay but has to repeat to a certain degree what he did the first half of the season.Mancini is a MLB player but from what I have seen still has a lot of critics who claim Oriole Parks coziness the reason for a lot of his success.I personally love his approach to the game and would try to hang on to him.I would like to see the Orioles try a few other guys in the pitching department rather than the same few coming up 4-5 times a year and at this point seemingly incapable of staying.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 8, 2019 at 11:38 am

      Tony, here are Mancini’s home and away stats this season. As you can see, they’re nearly indentical home and away.
      Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB ROE BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
      Home 78 78 342 307 52 89 20 1 18 52 1 0 26 70 .290 .354 .537 .891 165 10 6 0 3 2 1 .320 98 131
      Away 76 75 337 295 54 86 18 1 17 45 0 0 37 73 .292 .374 .532 .906 157 12 3 0 2 1 4 .333 102 141

  5. Fareastern89

    November 8, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    I’d expect Mancini to stick around, salary permitting, because he’s more valuable to the O’s than to anyone else. Harvey, too, if he remains healthy, and Hays with the same caveat. Means has proven he can win at the major league level, and has shown a willingness to adapt to the changes hitters made against him, so I have more confidence in him than any of the prospects who were in Double A or Triple A last year. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Santander (unless I missed it above); if his late-season funk was simply fatigue and not a more fundamental flaw, I could see him carving out a solid if unspectacular major league career.

    • Borg

      November 8, 2019 at 10:18 pm

      Means hasn’t really shown he can win, he showed that he could have about 3/4 of a good year. I like him and hope he sticks, but unless and until he does what he did this year for three or four seasons, he is still a maybe he makes it maybe he doesn’t kind of prospect. Next year will be more player movement, though at times I cannot figure out just what the Orioles are trying to do-case in point, why was Williams stuck in the minors while everyone pretended Wilkerson is a major league player? Williams could have been flipped for a prospect at some point if they didn’t want him long-term (he at least has a major league track record).
      The merry-go-round of pitchers like Hess is hard to watch as well. Hopefully some of the minor league guys will be ready at some point in 2020 or it will be another very long summer.

    • Camden Brooks

      November 9, 2019 at 6:10 am

      So a pitcher needs to make 27 starts, have a winning record for a horrific team, AND post a 3.60 ERA while playing in a hitters’ park with a juiced up baseball, for 3-4 years, and THEN you’ll no longer consider him a maybe prospect?

      • Borg

        November 10, 2019 at 7:57 am

        Well, I sure am not going to say he is anything more than a prospect after less than one full season. Sorry if that throws you, but saying Means has “proven” anything is just wishful thinking. At best, he has proven he could hopefully be a useful addition to the rotation. As I said, I hope he proves he can do this consistently, but the simple fact is that he has not done so yet. Plenty of pitchers have flamed out before they proved anything.

    • Camden Brooks

      November 10, 2019 at 2:46 pm

      No Borg, what threw me is that you want 3-4 years of outstanding pitching from Means before you consider him legit. I think those expectations are pretty ridiculous.

  6. willmiranda

    November 10, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    To get back to the big picture, I think it will be interesting to see which players stick around. First, though, when will the rebuild be done? When the O’s win a World Series? A pennant –I mean League championship? When they get into the playoffs? When they win more than they lose? The timelines of these are probably of different lengths. In general, I’d say the O’s have guys that could be carried on a roster of a team at all these levels. On the other hand, the same team wouldn’t really need any of them. With the roster flux and churn in today’s sports, it’s hard to predict the stability of even the best players. Lebron James has been the “face” of how many franchises? I’m sure that Elias & Co. rightfully don’t feel constrained to keep or dump anyone (apologies to CD haters). I think that’s what makes it difficult to handicap and what will make it interesting to look back on in –how many?–years.

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