Yesterday I wrote about MLB Network’s Jon Heyman calling out the Baltimore Orioles on twitter. Heyman was…less than complimentary about the Orioles’ rebuild process:
The reaction was predictably poor, including that of this writer. My point is that Heyman didn’t react this way when the Houston Astros or Chicago Cubs went through this same process. Yet it’s the Orioles who not only get called out, but also are now in Heyman’s eyes the face of tanking in professional sports. (Whereas if you read my column – linked above – I say that there’s a difference between tanking and rebuilding.) I stand by what I’ve said on the matter; personally I think Heyman was out of line.
However there’s another take out there as well, and one that ever so slightly more benign at that. Heyman said that what the Orioles are doing isn’t good for the game. But is the criticism possibly coming from a better place than we think?
There’s no question that what the Orioles are doing is making things much easier on teams such as Boston and New York. The O’s of course are in Boston this weekend, but they finished their season slate against NY by dropping the final 16 games. Those games made New York look unstoppable – unnecessarily unstoppable. And they’ve had their share of games as such against Boston also.
Is it possible that Heyman’s point is that what the Orioles are doing is making things easier for teams such as Boston and New York? One could make that argument – I suppose. I’m not sure that I personally buy that, however it is in fact possible.
But if you buy into that mentality, my rebuttal would be what exactly are the Orioles supposed to do? Should they go all out just to get to 60-70 wins so that they come off as “competitive?” Because that’s in essence what they did from 1998-2011. And that famously didn’t really work out.
I would also say this to Jon Heyman and other naysayers; look at what the Orioles have in the minors. Their farm system was ranked 22nd by Baseball America last year. Fast-forward to last month after the Birds traded for so many prospects (in 2018) and replenished the farm system with a GREAT draft. Baseball America ranked them as having the 8th best farm system in baseball. Now that’s meaningless for the big league level in the here and now. However the Orioles are in this for the long game. And it’s evidence that the rebuild is working.
As I said earlier, the O’s head up to Boston for a weekend series at Fenway Park. Aaron Brooks gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Rick Porcello. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.