Baltimore Orioles: What can be learned from Houston?
The Baltimore Orioles thought that they had something similar to what we see in Houston – back in 2011-2012. And they still might, incidentally. A crop of good young players who had come along through the farm system and through good deals, setting the table for the franchise to make a run for the future. This of course would have been the Adam Jones‘, Machado’s, Davis’, and Wieters’ of the world.
Again, we don’t know what the future holds. Everything could just click for this franchise, much like it did for Houston in 2017. Hope springs eternal, and no I don’t say that in a rhetorical manner. That really does ring true.
However Houston also did something that the Orioles have never truly been willing to do: a full rebuild. This is not to say that the Orioles haven’t tried to rebuild over the years, or that they haven’t considered it. They’ve just gone about it in a slighter manner than did a team like Houston.
Houston basically told their fans we’re going to stink for awhile. Maybe they didn’t put it in those words, but that’s the implication when you say you’re going to load up with young talent through the draft, trades, etc. You’re openly admitting to your fan base that the team isn’t going to be competitive in the near future.
Over the years the Orioles made a nip here and a tuck there to their roster, but the closest they came to totally retooling it was 2007-2009/10 or so when Andy MacPhail was the GM. However there wasn’t really a processes of telling the fans that the team would be non-competitive. They hadn’t been competitive prior to that, so nobody really knew the difference.
The Washington Nationals pulled a similar stunt in a sense when their goal was almost to be so bad that they were able to draft the likes of Strasburg and Harper. I suspect that the Orioles feel that they can’t afford to do that in the uber-competitive AL East. Would fans accept that type of declaration? Keep in mind that things operate a lot differently in Texas than they do on the east coast.
However, Houston’s management was honest about how they were going to build their franchise. And they encouraged their fans to invest in the young players they were acquiring. Sure enough, they did. And the rest is history.
Many feel that the Orioles would benefit from a full rebuild now. I disagree; I think that in the future that might be a possibility, however it’s not something that should be explored this off season. Too many big guns are still under contract.