Oriole fans want to see improvement in 2020 but continued patience is required - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Oriole fans want to see improvement in 2020 but continued patience is required

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

Baltimore sports fans are obsessed with history. Perhaps that’s because in the relatively short time this city has had major league sports, it’s had an incredible number of outstanding athletes.

Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr., Eddie Murray and Jim Palmer for the Orioles; Johnny Unitas, Lenny Moore, Gino Marchetti, Jim Parker, Art Donovan, John Mackey and Raymond Berry for the Baltimore Colts; and Ray Lewis, Jonathan Ogden and Ed Reed for the Ravens are among the best in the history of their sports.

Many younger fans here don’t even know that the NBA once had a team in Baltimore, the Bullets, which featured Hall of Famers Gus Johnson, Earl Monroe and Wes Unseld.

Today’s biggest star is unquestionably Lamar Jackson, whose Ravens have home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs and are favorites to play in the Super Bowl.

Seven years ago, it was a great time to be a Baltimore sports fan. The Orioles had just broken a streak of 14 consecutive losing seasons and narrowly lost in the Division Series to the New York Yankees in five games.

The Ravens beat the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game and defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.

It wouldn’t surprise many fans if the Ravens again played the 49ers in the Super Bowl, and the Ravens won.

The last championship brought great joy to Baltimore, and Jackson has brought back that joy, excitement and the promise of a bright future.

The Orioles are on the opposite end of the spectrum, but they have begun a rebuild that they hope will produce long-term results.

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Our students of history in the audience also remember the nasty controversy over the Ravens’ opener in the season after the Super Bowl.

The Orioles were scheduled to play at home on that Thursday night, and Major League Baseball wouldn’t move the game to accommodate the Ravens’ home opener.

Instead, the Ravens opened their season at Denver, lost badly and sputtered to an 8-8 season.

On Thursday, September 10, the opening night of the NFL season, the Orioles are scheduled to play the Toronto Blue Jays, at Camden Yards, so unless something changes, the Ravens can’t start their season then. The Orioles are also home on September 13, making a Sunday night game impractical.

The Ravens could have their opener on Monday night, the 14th, when the Orioles are off.

That’s a potentially happy problem for Oriole fans, many of whom are Ravens diehards, too.

Ravens merchandise is quickly selling, and Jackson jerseys have been so hard to come by the team set up a pop-up shop in Baltimore’s Canton Crossing mall to sell them.

Oriole jerseys aren’t nearly as popular.

The Orioles are ending the year with a large number of fans growing impatient after two consecutive seasons of 100-plus losses. One of them regularly writes into this site, asking “When the does the rebuild start?”

It actually began nearly 18 months ago when former general manager Dan Duquette peddled Manny Machado and sold off Brad Brach, Zack Britton, Kevin Gausman, Darren O’Day and Jonathan Schoop.

It has continued under GM Mike Elias, who has brought in a largely new staff to work with him and has slowly constructed a roster, including many names unrecognizable except to the fervent fans.

Elias has repeatedly telegraphed his intentions, refusing to put targets on win totals, and suggesting that the record won’t necessarily improve in 2020.

Just before the 2019 home opener, Elias said: “We’re doing things the right way, the way that they need to be done. The end goal here is not to cobble together a one-year wonder, .500 club that could be a disaster if it doesn’t work right and we spent a few years digging out of that hole. We want to put together a perennial contending organization. And we’re initiating that process. We know how to do it. We’re going about it the way you need to go about it.”

Fans’ emotions are governed by the team’s record, and they didn’t feel any better when there was a seven-game improvement in 2019 — 108 losses instead of 115. Elias says in a rebuild the move isn’t always linear, and he’s correct.

Another seven-game improvement in 2020 would still mean 101 losses. When there’s an improvement, it’s likely to be a much more radical one, and 2020 isn’t the year for it.

The good news is that the tearing down is nearly complete. The team could certainly trade reliever Mychal Givens, but that’s not likely to be a headline move, and not in the category of the recent trades of starting pitcher Dylan Bundy and infielder Jonathan Villar.

A possible Trey Mancini trade is more complicated. The market for first basemen/outfielders isn’t as robust as it is for starting pitching and middle infielders, and Elias might decide the Orioles are better off keeping their most popular player rather than dealing him.

The 2020 season promises to be a year with more new faces, some placeholders and others who have a chance to be part of the next generation Orioles.

It also promises to be trying for fans who want to see better baseball—now.

How do I answer that fan who keeps asking when does the rebuild begin? It’s under way, and in my mind, it will shift into high gear when I’m no longer writing regularly about Mike Elias but focusing more on the new players the Orioles have on the field.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

48 Comments

48 Comments

  1. Fareastern89

    December 23, 2019 at 7:17 am

    A welcome call for patience, Rich. A few more prospects should arrive next season and the year after, and by 2022 the roster should look quite different and much more promising. Thanks for all your work this past year, and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • Camden Brooks

      December 23, 2019 at 9:08 am

      Agreed!

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 23, 2019 at 10:27 am

      Thank you, Fareastern, and the same to you.

  2. VICTORTEE

    December 23, 2019 at 8:31 am

    “We’re doing things the right way. The way they NEED to be done.” God, Elias’s ego is enormous. Tearing things totally down and TANKING is NOT the only way to rebuild. My NL team to follow is the Braves. In their recent rebuild they did not trade away every player of value. They signed Nick Markakis to a 4 year contract to provide a veteran presence . They signed Matt Kemp. They signed some decent vet starting pitchers, not the waiver wire trash Elias collects.Every move did not work, but after a relatively short rebuild, the Braves are one of the best teams in baseball. So the “Boy Wonder” is full of it when he states his (and Houston’s way of TANKING) is the ONLY way to rebuild. Is cheating part of his MO too?

    I respect you Rich. You report what Elias says but don’t give the “his way is the only way and we MUST trust him” like so many other Baltimore media people do.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 23, 2019 at 8:51 am

      2 thumbs up Vic.

    • Greazy Tony

      December 23, 2019 at 9:49 am

      A very good point Victor. And just like the Braves built there team in a way different from Elias and his old bosses in Houston, the Nats did too. They develop good players in their farm system without relying solely on the monolithic analysis culture that Houston is so celebrated for. Washington still relies heavily on scouting with a balance of new age analytics thrown in as well. Oh yeah, and they just beat the Astros in a kind of important series.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 23, 2019 at 10:28 am

      Thank you, Vic. I’m glad you understand the difference.

    • Bhoffman1

      December 23, 2019 at 10:29 am

      Perfectly sad Vic. Did you see the Blue Jays just signed Ryu for 4 years. We are guaranteed last place next year and really should not be playing in the AL east with a triple A club. Why would anyone want to come out to the park next year besides having a few beers and laughs

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 23, 2019 at 8:50 am

    Hogwash. Don’t tell your customers that they have to patiently pay full price now for a product that won’t be here for another 2 or 3 years. Other than intentionally losing games to position yourself in the draft, jettisoning guys like Villar and Cashner for a bag of crackers does not help a rebuild one iota. I don’t see Villar or Cashner as roadblocks to the progress of any up and coming Orioles, do you? The only thing those 2 moves accomplished was saving the ownership’s profit margin. So how about a discount on the tickets and parking in the meantime? Yeah..I didn’t think so.

    And keeping a guy like Davis? Where’ the tear down logic there? Talk about and example of blocking the progress of a few young players! Does this help the team win now? Quite the contrary, it’s a move designed to add another loss or 2 to the docket. Better draft position.

    Tanking is bush league.

    Patience? Please Rich. Nobody has to be patient. I don’t mind the rebuild, it’s the fruitless/senseless tearing down of the current team that I have no patience with.

    • boss61

      December 23, 2019 at 9:13 am

      I’m a lifelong fan and O’s season plan holder since 1984. I have patience for the process and believe in Elias until facts prove otherwise. I know it took about a half dozen years in Houston and I do not expect truly sustainable contention any sooner than about 2024 for this reason. I see no value in holding onto guys who will be out of baseball or nearly so, or free agents, before 2024. I applaud decisions to get what we can, while we can, for these guys.

      I’d personally have eaten Davis’ contract on the same principles. To me, the only credible reason not to is this: Davis could have been more embarrassed and that public shaming and ridicule could lessen a future free agent’s desire to stay in or come to Baltimore. So I get it.

      And yes Boog, for your own baseball fan’s sanity, you need to be patient. The guys you lament being gone were worth little in trade, which was very much a part of the problem.

    • Camden Brooks

      December 23, 2019 at 9:32 am

      Boog, you’ve made it very clear you want the Orioles to rebuild by spending serious $$ on free agents. That isn’t going to happen for 2 reasons. Ownership isn’t going to open up the wallet to the HUGE extent necessary to make the team competitive. But here is the #1 reason – the ENTIRE minor league system of the Orioles was broken. This cannot be argued. Lack of talent, lack of quality coaches, lack of scouts, lack of international signings, lack of analytics, etc. Loading up the big league club with FA’s does exactly zippy to rebuild our minor league teams. Filling those rosters with prospects via trades is the route Elias is going (DD started it), and as these players improve, you will see them start showing up in Baltimore. I loved Villar and Bundy, and while getting several young players for them is worse for the 2020 Orioles, it is better for the future of the entire organization. Side note – I think CD should be cut for the same reasons as you.

      • boss61

        December 23, 2019 at 9:35 am

        Excellent points, Camden Brooks.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        December 23, 2019 at 10:08 am

        CB … don’t put words in my mouth.

        1. I’ve never once … NOT ONE TIME … mentioned spending $$ in free agency. I don’t believe in it, certainly not in the team’s current state.

        2. And not that I know anything about these things, but I’ve never complained about what he’s doing in the minors, Latin America operations or the coaching/scouting departments.

        3. I’ve never (as in never) complained about the Gausman, Manny, Bundy, trades … the tear down in general … never. I admit I was critical of the Schoop trade, but at least in return, we got a major league talent for him, along with a pitching prospect that hasn’t worked out. But what did we DO with that return? We (friggin’ Elias) let him (Villar) walk for nothing, nada, zilch .. bupkus. it was a money call … and one that weakened our team significantly and needlessly. HOW did that move help in rebuilding? Who was he blocking? Trading players for prospects is one thing .. giving them away for nothing (Cash & VIllar) is another thing.

        If you’re going to read my babble, please read what I write and not put words in my mouth.

        It’s all good my friend .. heck, at least we’re on the same page Davis-wise.

    • Camden Brooks

      December 23, 2019 at 10:25 am

      Well Boog, if you don’t believe in spending $$ for FA’s and you don’t believe in trading established players for prospects, then how do you expect the organization to rebuild? How about your “2 thumbs up” response to Vic’s post above, where he touts spending FA $?!? I don’t need to put words in your mouth…they are right there.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        December 23, 2019 at 11:29 am

        Dude…Camden…You’re making assumptions, and you know what that means. Please read once again what I just wrote. Where did I state I don’t believe in trading established players for prospects? Where? Please, PLEASE show me where I said those things!

        My point #3 above states very clearly ……. “I’ve never (as in never) complained about the Gausman, Manny, Bundy, trades … the tear down in general … never.”

        They actually saw a return in young talent for these guys. Unlike giving away players for NOTHING like Villar .. or next to nothing … like Cashner? Those are cash grabs and obviously Tanking maneuvers.

        As far as the two thumbs up for Vic .. maybe it should have only been one thumb. Mainly what I agree with him on as his statement that .. and I quote ………….”Tearing things totally down and TANKING is NOT the only way to rebuild”. TANKING is the key word here. TANKING is NOT the only way. Fact is, in my opinion, it’s the worst and sleaziest way.

        One last thing … although I’m not a big proponent of signing free agents, especially top shelf free agents, I do believe that if we’re not going to bring up any young arms, that Elias should get a few players from outside that can get past the 2nd inning. And under no circumstances do I condone rushing a young pitcher up the ladder. Position players sure … bring them up…pitchers ….take your time and build the arm.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 23, 2019 at 10:28 am

      Ken, no one has to be patient. I wouldn’t mind seeing some better ball myself.

  4. Orial

    December 23, 2019 at 8:53 am

    I’m a proud member of the “Elias–my way or the highway approach”. There aren’t many alternatives. He doesn’t have the financial means to at least think about free agency,he had NO functional minor league system and a division with the Yankees/Red Sox in it,and I don’t see an “ego” situation. What else is there to do? Gut it and start over. I find it beyond ironic that the Baltimore has the best team in the NFL and worst team in MLB while our hated rival city DC has the best team in MLB and (arguably) the worst team in the NFL. I give Elias full reigns but be careful about this sagging attendence(there’s a stadium lease to consider)

    • Greazy Tony

      December 23, 2019 at 10:01 am

      Totally unrelated Orial, but I always get a kick out of the “hated rival” thing. As a guy born in Silver Spring in the mid-70’s I was was raised with the Skins and O’s as my only teams. Getting a World Series and Superbowl in the same year as a 7 year old was pretty amazing. Add the Terps (OK mostly basketball) into the picture and it’s always felt more like the NYC Sports scene to me. Some people there are Yankees-Giants-Knicks-Rangers and some are Mets-Jets-Nets-Islanders but there are tons of mixes in between. Some of my family ended up becoming Nats fans when they came to the city and some of my friends from further up 95 stopped following the Skins and picked up the Ravens in in 90’s but there are still a whole lot of us who just don’t see a Rivalry.

      • Bancells Moustache

        December 23, 2019 at 10:37 am

        I don’t see a rivalry either. The organizations themselves are locked in a financial struggle, but in terms of the fan bases, there’s no beef. Were the Nats in the AL East it would be something else entirely, but they are just a NL team to me, no different than the Cubs or the Rockies. Plus virtually every Nats fan over the age of 30 used to be an O’s fan.

        • The Cartoon Bird

          December 23, 2019 at 12:37 pm

          I lived in the DC for 5 years before I moved to Baltimore. It’s a rivalry. Nats fans resent sharing MASN and it’s money. They want the Orioles relocated so they can declare total victory. DC looks down on Baltimore culturally and economically. It reminds my Father of the Yankees and the Dodgers in the 1940’s and 1950’s. The Princes of the Bronx and Manhattan vs. the Brooklyn guy who talks funny and is dumb from the movies. Hopefully, like my Father, we’ll have our 1955 before they get their 1957.

          • Greazy Tony

            December 23, 2019 at 4:15 pm

            Bird you may have lived in DC for 5 years, but you’re wrong. My family has lived in DC for 5 generations. I have not heard a single freind or family member mention the MASN dispute once. People in DC may very well look down on people from Baltimore culturally and economically but they could care less about games between the Skins and Ravens or the O’s and Nats. Any “rivalry” in baseball is only stirred by promos on MASN. My family who are Nats fans don’t care one bit what the O’s are doing. When both teams were in the playoff mix a few years ago my cousins and I were very much hoping for a Beltway Series. I was happy for the Nats when they won this year and I was happy for the Ravens when they won their Super Bowls.

  5. mlbbirdfan

    December 23, 2019 at 9:33 am

    1. “Wasting“ $10 million on Villar and another $5 million on Bundy made no sense?

    2. Our season-ticket plan has been in place from day one at Camden yards, to the present. 486 tickets, per season, in recent years. The O’s innovation was the “diamond level“ passes in 2019, offering discounts on merchandise as well as other perks. The only jersey worth purchasing is Adley Rutchman’s. Who else is guaranteed to be here for the next five or six years? Against that backdrop, it is difficult to justify inflated ticket prices!

    3. I can suggest one innovation: free parking for 81-game season ticket holders.

    4. Is it possible the Orioles owners are stripping away assets as they prepare to sell the team??

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 23, 2019 at 10:31 am

      I’ll answer your last question first. No, I don’t think they’re stripping away assets for a future sale. They’ve spent lots of money to hire Elias and bring in largely new personnel in the front office, scouting, minor and major leagues. They spent a record bonus on Rutschman. So, no.

      • Bancells Moustache

        December 23, 2019 at 10:42 am

        We can at least enjoy Rutschman until his arbitration years are up and they put him on the block or he signs a big contract elsewhere. If there was never even consideration of keeping Manny Machado on the team, why should we expect Rutschman to stick around more than 6 seasons?

  6. Bancells Moustache

    December 23, 2019 at 9:50 am

    I laughed out loud at “Orioles jerseys aren’t nearly as popular”. Deadpan at it’s finest.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 23, 2019 at 10:15 am

      Sarcasm in it’s purest form.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 23, 2019 at 10:33 am

      Bancells, always happy to entertain.

  7. Bman

    December 23, 2019 at 10:49 am

    Key phrase is “the tear down is almost complete.” Givens, Bleier, Cobb, Davis and a few others will be jettisoned this season I think, hope. Then, the old guard will be done and Os will move up the new young guys. Yes, the strategy is to tank again this year and secure another crop of top draft picks. I think this is a smart strategy. 2020 should be a brutal record. So, #2 pick this year and maybe another #1 pick next year? The revolt will happen if Elias drags out the tear down beyond this season. We want to see all the young prospects by July-August..

    • Bancells Moustache

      December 23, 2019 at 11:28 am

      Which young prospects? Elias seems equally committed to bringing them along slowly, which I don’t disagree with, so I doubt you’ll see anyone other than Hays, Mountcastle and maybe Akin.

      • VICTORTEE

        December 23, 2019 at 12:10 pm

        And the Atlanta Braves philosophy is to bring up very young players to see if they can hack it. “sink or swim” Obviously if they totally fail and are losing their confidence, send them down. But look at how many very young players were on the DIVISION WINNING Braves last year. So the Boy Genius’s “Bring ’em up S L O W L Y ” isn’t universal around baseball either. Why did Elias not promote Lowther & Wells from Bowie to Norfolk last year. They both have been successful at every level and were pitching very well at AA. My theory is that this way, even if they pitch very well in 2020 spring training, he has the excuse of “No AAA experience” to not let them make the 2020 opening day roster. That way it will be easier to TANK again in 2020 with no pitching.

        • Rich Dubroff

          December 23, 2019 at 4:01 pm

          Vic, Elias was hewing to an older tradition of player development, give players a full year at each level in order for the best chance at success in the majors. We’ll see if it works.

          • VICTORTEE

            December 23, 2019 at 5:28 pm

            Bobby Cox was a proponent of “Sink or Swim” Old enough philosophy for you?

          • VICTORTEE

            December 23, 2019 at 5:48 pm

            I am not an expert on Houston but I have read that they have NOT had much success developing young pitchers lately. That most of their star pitchers were trades or free agents. If true, what does that say about Elias’s bring pitchers up slow philosophy?

            And I still think it was dumb to not promote Lowther and Wells and maybe more from AA to AAA. The O’s rotation was trash and Norfolk’s was trash. And Lowther, Wells and others were pitching well at AA. I still think Elias is holding them back to insure at least one more 100+ loss season in 2020.

            Unless some of the kid position players (Hays, Santander, etc) play really well in 2020 and Elias promotes some of the kid pitchers in 2020, I think the O’s could be one of the worst teams in MLB history (approaching 120 losses) Especially if they trade Mancini.

    • Bhoffman1

      December 23, 2019 at 11:29 am

      The only place Davis will be jettisoned to is his ranch in Texas but we will still have to endure him for awhile according to the boy wonder

  8. Hallbe62

    December 23, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Good article Rich. For a few reasons, I agree with boss61. 2024 – 2026 (somewhere in that window) my beloved Orioles will be relevant again. Hopefully I’ll still be alive to witness it.

    Merry Christmas to all and to all a Happy New Year

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 23, 2019 at 12:39 pm

      Thank you, hallbe

  9. BunkerFan

    December 23, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Amen to Vic and Boog! The Astros do not provide the only model for how to rebuild; the Braves provide another alternative for how to walk and chew gum at the same time. Do everything that Elias + Co. are currently doing to rebuild the player development system; But also put a competitive team on the field. NOT by going crazy with FA spending. But with keeping a core of talented payers intact while rebuilding. Even adding to the core to put a decent team on the field, one that justifies the constantly escalating cost of tickets and parking. The Jays basically signed a completely new starting rotation: Ryu, Roark, Yamaguchi, and Anderson : the last 3 for about the same $$ that was saved in dumping Villar and trading Bundy. There have been over a half dozen bargain FA’s signed this Fall who were uber-successful in Korea and Japan. Where were the O’s with going after them? Nowhere apparently. Damn! Even the Tigers have signed a group of inexpensive FA’s. The point is that, yes, actually SOME improvement in the team every year is needed to keep the fans engaged and to surround the young players with experienced veterans who know how to win – and now to keep up morale when the team is on a 12 game losing streak, which the O’s will see often in the next few years.

  10. Frank Howard LF-1B

    December 23, 2019 at 11:55 am

    The Right Way: A) Brilliant GM Bobby Beathard rebuilds the sputtering post-George-Allen Washington Redskins, patiently bringing in top talent both on the field and in the Coaching Staff (early 1980s to about 1998). Started with a few lean years then blossomed into a perennial winner with several Super Bowl Championships.

    The Wrong Way: AA) Meddlesome owner Daniel Snyder hoodwinked other rich bidders and stole the Redskins in 1999. Then instituted a thirty-year Reign of Terror where he micromanages EVERYTHING and has rendered the Redskins as by far the worst franchise in North American pro sports. George P. Marshall turns over in his grave

    The Right Way: B) Brilliant GM Mike Elias brings his proven-winner staff, coaches and analytical approach to the disastrously hollowed-out Baltimore Orioles. His 3-5 year rebuild plan is perfectly reasonable and rational within the severe financial and tradition limitations of modern North American Major League Baseball. The sane and rational sons of Angelos help with this process by butting their sticky beaks OUT of Elias’s business. They will have a winner by 2022, and a consistent competent team after that for however long the United States remains a country

    The Wrong Way: BB) Megalomaniac Bolshevik owner Peter Angelos Bogarts the spotlight for running the Orioles franchise. Fires Davy Johnson after a magnificent tenure as Manager and barely missing a World Series berth. Hires GMs who would fit better in an NYPD Blue episode, and saddles Orioles fans with a disastrous non-performing team for over fifteen years.

    Many, many opinions on this page. This fan is absolutely delighted to have a new, bright, sincere Orioles’ GM who gives a damn and has a plan that I would adopt for my own business. Sorry it doesn’t come with instant gratification! I waited 44 years for my first Washington Capitals Stanley Cup Championship. Thank Goodness the new GM B. MacLellan wasn’t subjected to premature Lynching by idiot Caps fans

    • VICTORTEE

      December 23, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      “Brilliant” Mike Elias is a PROSPECT also. He has NEVER run an organization before and NEVER made the big decisions. Keep on drinking that orange kool-aid. Do you think he was totally unaware of Houston’s on the field cheating? Maybe he will bring some high-tech cheating to the O’s also.

      HAPPY TANKING!!!

  11. BunkerFan

    December 23, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    Reminder: It’s NOT an “either/or” situation but a “both/and.” The O’s payroll, even with the CD Albatross, is reported to be in the Mid -$70m. Plenty of funds to create a competitive team WHILE doing the rebuild.

  12. NormOs

    December 23, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Well Rich, it certainly looks as if some of your posters are agreeing with me on several fronts, ie:”the O’s are not interested in any of the top 50 free agents” also, I don’t have the count on how many people we got in trades from Manny thru, whatever the team will get for Mancini and Givens. I don’t know the count but I figure we must have gotten, at least, 50 guys. We traded ,I guess 10 major leaguers, how many MLB players will we get from “the fifty”?

    “WHEN DOES THE REBUILD START?”

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 23, 2019 at 4:07 pm

      For Britton, Gausman, O’Day, Machado, Schoop, Cashner, Villar and Bundy, they’re received 22 players. One of those players was Villar. Six others have played in the majors so far, Josh Rogers, Cody Carroll, Dillon Tate, Luis Ortiz, Evan Phillips and Breyvic Valera. Valera left the organization early last year.

  13. loganmillermusic12

    December 23, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    After watching this team be competitive from 2012-2016, it felt mostly futile in the grand scheme of things. Ross Grimsley always complained that NOBODY in the Orioles front office ever made mention of winning a World Series. They just wanted to be competitive in the powerhouse AL East. Elias and the new regime have been clear that the end goal of this is to bring a championship to Orioles fans. And the way they’re going about it makes perfect logical sense… to me, at least. “When does the rebuild start” is an insane question in my mind—even tongue in cheek. Rebuilds start from the bottom up. And if you look at the Orioles as an organization as a whole, not just a major league team, improvements are obvious. The minor league teams are starting to get used to a culture of winning, which players will hopefully carry over upon call-up to the big leagues. And a handful of no-name-ish guys who were in the system for a few years have showed tremendous improvement thanks to the analytics.

    • loganmillermusic12

      December 23, 2019 at 1:03 pm

      I’d also like to add that I met Sig Mejdal in the Canton Iron Rooster on Saturday. He couldn’t have been nicer.

      Have a Merry Christmas, Rich! Thanks for all you do!

      • Rich Dubroff

        December 23, 2019 at 4:07 pm

        Thank you, Logan, and be on the lookout for me at Canton Crossing, too!

  14. BirdsCaps

    December 23, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    I have no problem buying into the rebuild. However, trading gausman for salary relief (I know under it was under Duquette), no big signings in the international mrkt, no apparent interest in buying a top prospect via trade (see Cozart trade), and what seems like a lack of urgency makes it very hard to “buy into the process.” A lot of this comes down to me (and a lot of other fans) not trusting that ownership isn’t just trying to save a few bucks and calling it a rebuild Hopefully I am wrong and elias doesn’t have to ask mother may I with the Angelos boys. Again this angst is largely due to the front office and ownership doing nothing to extend the previous window (e.g. signing Machado long term about 5-6 years ago). Once again, Merry Christmas to Everyone!!!!!!

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 23, 2019 at 4:24 pm

      Stephen, the Gausman trade may not be as bad as it looks. The Orioles received Bruce Zimmerman, who pitched well for Bowie last year and was promoted to Norfolk late in the year. Let’s revisit this one a year from now.

  15. Dudski

    December 26, 2019 at 9:58 pm

    If you had decided the market can’t sustain two major league teams and you wanted to drive attendance down to the point where you would be allowed to sell the team to an out-of-town buyer how would the team’s approach to business look at all different from what the Orioles are doing? Baseball is an entertainment industry and the Orioles are a brand within that industry ownership is intentionally damaging. If we assume a minimum of three more years mediocrity how many fans will be left? How will the team rebuild not just a roster but a damaged brand? It isn’t just wins and losses that are being tanked it is also attendance and TV ratings. How much money are the Orioles losing each year by refusing to put a MLB team on the field? It isn’t as simple as saying the O’s can’t afford free agents. They also can’t afford three more years of damage to their brand and position in the market. Elias is arguing there are two states for a team to exist in, either contention or destruction. Even the Astros never gutted their roster to this degree. It is worth noting, even with the Astros, how many high picks and prospects didn’t click. Ultimately the light at the end of the tunnel may well turn out to be the headlights of a moving van.

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