Baltimore Orioles: The case against selling
The Baltimore Orioles can probably accept a clunker of a start out of someone like Dylan Bundy. Mind you that Bundy’s been incredibly good thus far in 2017. Bundy’s line: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 2 K.
I suppose that it would have been better overall had the Birds not given up a total of 12 runs, however it only counts as one game. Bundy’s pitches were in essence catching too much of the strike zone, and Cleveland was capitalizing. Mind you also that Cleveland’s the defending American League champion.
And obviously, it wasn’t just Bundy. Every reliever the Orioles brought in seemed to have the same issues. I’ve said this before, but I often do have to wonder if someone isn’t inadvertently tipping pitches because there is the semblance that other teams know exactly what’s coming and when.
Many fans are calling on the Orioles to sell and sell now. Anyone who’s read this column in any form over time knows that I feel that would be a mistake. And there are several reasons why. First off, the current group are the Orioles’ best chance to win a title since the mid-1990’s. Yes that window is only open for so long; but if you close it yourself before you should, it’s closed.
People point to the fact that it would be better to get something for the likes of Machado and so forth as opposed to letting him walk for nothing. That may be a fair point, however wouldn’t it better benefit the Orioles if Machado re-signed in Baltimore? It’s easy to suggest that the O’s won’t offer the money he’ll want and so forth – and maybe they won’t for all I know. But people said the same thing about Davis, Trumbo – and even Jones back before he re-signed.
Going back to my point above about “self-closing” the window, the current group is also under contract for next year. So if the O’s busted up the gang to an extent this season, they’d also be sacrificing next year and onward to a point. Maybe Machado doesn’t start the season cold next year, and maybe the bullpen and the infield isn’t decimated by injuries. Furthermore don’t write off the rest of this season; while the O’s are struggling, they’re far from totally out of it.
The sell now crew loves to talk about how the O’s could get such a haul in return for Machado or Britton. Heck, I’ve even heard people say they should trade Jones as well. However keep in mind that Britton’s been hurt most of the year, and as I said above Machado started the year in a bit of a slump. Do we think that opposing GM’s wouldn’t use that to their advantage?
What I’m saying is that Britton might be an unknown commodity at this point, and Machado’s had his struggles at the plate. If the O’s were to decide to trade them, they might not be able to get in return what they otherwise would have. It sounds crazy to even suggest, but it’s true.
If you’re going to trade pieces like that, you’d better be sure that you’re getting either big league-ready talent, or true top prospects. Keep in mind that the Orioles didn’t get to where they are now by being passive on the trade market. Andy McPhail talked up and inflated the value of Bedard so that he could get Jones and Tillman in return.
Ultimately, if you close the window yourself there’s no guarantee that it opens again for a long time. Keep in mind that this franchise was missing from the post-season for 14 years. You can trade for all the “top prospects” that you want, but if they turn into duds you’re worse off than you were before.
So I’m saying that the only way forward is to stay the course for now. People have to look past the tops of their noses in the sense that these guys’ track records indicate that they’re much better than this. And they will be moving forward. Once everyone’s healthy.
The O’s will try to even the series with Cleveland tonight at Camden Yards. Chris Tillman gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.