The Baltimore Orioles have signed their top pick, catcher Andy Rutschman. Rutschman signed yesterday afternoon for a record signing bonus of $8.1 million. The Orioles have scheduled an introductory press conference this afternoon at Camden Yards, and Rutschman will be introduced to the crowd at tonight’s game against San Diego.
The Orioles have reportedly also come to an agreement in principle with their second round pick, shortstop Gunnar Henderson from Alabama prep. There was never any question that Henderson or Rutschman would sign, however it’s noteworthy. A rebuilding team such as the Orioles needs that type of reassurance for it’s fanbase to the effect that they’re going to have their best new players in the pipeline.
It’s funny how things work out sometimes. While the Orioles are introducing Rutschman, the future of the club, in their clubhouse, a major piece of the past will be sitting in the visitors’ clubhouse at Camden Yards. That of course being San Diego third baseman Manny Machado. This is certainly a series that Machado circled on his calendar, as I’m sure did Orioles fans. While much of the personnel from the front office on down has no affiliation with Manny, this is still the organization that drafted him. It’s the fans in front of whom he played for so long.
Again, there’s certainly some irony in the fact that the introduction of Andy Rutschman is juxtaposed with the return of Manny Machado. However once the game states it’s just baseball. But I will say this to anyone going to tonight or tomorrow afternoon’s game: don’t boo Manny.
There are fair criticisms of Manny Machado in terms of how he handled his departure from the Orioles, and even some of the comments he’s made towards the organization since leaving. In no way am I defending that. However I also suspect that the national media is waiting to pounce on Orioles fans and the city of Baltimore for any reason they can find. Serenading Manny Machado with boo’s will bring charges of sour grapes. It’ll spin Machado as a sympathetic character; and heaven forbid he homers or makes a gold glove-caliber play on the field. Do you really want the national media spinning that?
Instead, politely applaud when he comes up to bat. That reflects well on the city and the fan base. Sure there were some moments he could have behaved differently while he was here and afterwards. But that’s life. A positive response to Manny’s return would say something about Baltimore and Baltimore Orioles’ fans. Again, do you really want Manny hearing a chorus of boo’s, only to smack a homer, pose at home plate, and have the national media defend and praise him for doing so? Because that’s exactly what would happen.
The Baltimore Orioles were never going to compete for a division title this year. This much we know. However a lot of fans are grousing across the board for how the O’s are losing games. Big innings, countless errors, etc. So…what gives?
People have asked me if it’s possible that players are in effect mailing it in. Meaning that they’re just going through the motions of the games to collect a paycheck. My answer to that is an emphatic NO.
Professional athletes simply don’t do that. Win or lose, these guys take a lot of pride in their crafts. They also know that if they don’t perform, they’ll eventually be sent back to the minors or DFA’d. Now they’ll still get their contracted salary either way. But what happens after the contract has expired?
Guys don’t just mail it in, because like anyone else they need to feed their families. They need to ensure that there’s bread on the table. They also recognize that this isn’t a Monday-Friday, 9-5 job. They’re blessed to do what they do. And they aren’t going to do anything to put their careers in peril.
More realistically, I would argue that guys are pushing too hard. They have in their minds that they don’t want to make an error, but that all but causes a mistake. If you push hard enough that’ll happen. But no folks, the players aren’t collecting a paycheck. That’s about as harsh of a thing to say about an athlete as is out there.
The Baltimore Orioles currently play 9-10 games a year in Tampa/St. Petersburg at Tropicana Field. However that could be changing with the news today that MLB has given the Tampa Rays permission to explore the idea of playing half of their games in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and half in Montreal (Montreal of course being the former home of the Montreal Expos, now the Washington Nationals). Again, they’be been given permission to “explore” the idea.
Basically that means we’ll think about it and get back to you. Tampa’s struggled with ticket sales and forming a fan base since the team’s inception. Heck, they had trouble selling out World Series games the year they advanced that far. So in that sense, might a more condensed schedule make sense?
Something like this has never really been done before in baseball – to my knowledge. Over in the NFL the Green Bay Packers used to play one preseason game and two regular season games annually at Milwaukee’s County Stadium. The Washington Bullets used to trek back to Baltimore for years and play four home games a year at the Baltimore Civic Center. And there are other examples out there as well which are similar to this.
But this wouldn’t be simply moving a home game or two. This would literally be two cities sharing a franchise. Perhaps the only example of which I can think would be the Homestead Gray’s, which was a Negro League baseball team that was shared between Washington D.C. and Homestead, FL. But that was short-lived. Needless to say, it would make for an interesting dynamic.
I believe that the idea would be for the early part of the season to take place in Tampa, where a new outdoor stadium would be constructed. The weather isn’t incredibly hot at that point in Tampa, so it wouldn’t be a big issue in terms of the weather. The second part of the season would be played in Montreal. However if this comes to pass it’ll be interesting to see how it’s handled. Would Montreal have to build a new stadium also, or would the old Olympic Stadium suffice?
This is something that Orioles fans will want to watch, however. Earlier this season there were rumors that the league wanted the Orioles to leave Baltimore. How true that is or was, who knows? It was merely a report that surfaced.
Montreal was naturally one of the cities that was mentioned as a possible destination for the Orioles if they were to move. If Montreal gets a piece of the Tampa Rays, that’s one city that wouldn’t be in the running. My personal opinion is that the Orioles will never move anywhere. So take that point at nothing more than face value.
End of the day, I don’t think that the Tampa Rays will split themselves between two cities, either. I suspect it’s just positioning to get someone to build them a stadium. But it would be interesting to see in terms of the dynamic to say the least.
The Baltimore Orioles won’t be taking an ice pick to their 25-man roster this year at the trade deadline. That happened last year. However people are starting to talk about what moves (if any) the Orioles might potentially make. According to some people, nobody should be off limits – even the likes of Trey Mancini.
Unequivocally, let me state that I personally believe it would be a huge mistake for the Orioles to trade Mancini. He’s not only going to be the Birds’ lone all-star representative, but he actually deserves the honor. In saying that I mean that he’s going to earn his way onto the roster as opposed to being included to satisfy the Orioles having a representative.
However Mancini’s also become a team leader. And he wasn’t tabbed as being that guy – if anything, Cedric Mullins was. (And he’s been back in the minors for some time.) With Mancini it happened organically. He appeared to kind of tell himself that he was going to be considered the veteran on the roster, and he had to help the younger guys along. Most of whom I might add aren’t that much younger than Mancini himself.
You need someone like that in the clubhouse. Let’s not act like guys with leadership skill are dime a dozen. They aren’t. Losing Mancini wouldn’t only hurt the team in terms of statistics and so forth, but it would probably hurt morale. Again, unequivocally I think it would be a mistake to trade Mancini. He’s someone around whom the Orioles should build.
The reason that some people say that he should be traded is because he would probably bring the Orioles the biggest haul in terms of prospects. Mancini’s under team control until 2023. So he would have to fetch one heck of a return. And I’m talking potentially more than they got last year for Machado.
However I think that when you start trading guys like Mancini (at this stage at least) you’re almost committing yourself to rebuilding in perpetuity. Mancini’s still what one would consider a young player. So again, it behooves the Orioles to build around him. If you start trading your young talent away, You’re kind of extending the process.
So keep Mancini. That would be my advice to GM Mike Elias. Keep him and build the franchise with him as the centerpiece. Because he’s proven on and off the field that he’s worthy of playing that role.
After a day off yesterday the Baltimore Orioles open a six-game home stand this evening as they welcome in Toronto. One thing I do find curious is the fact that the O’s had a day off yesterday following their flight home from Houston. Following this home stand they won’t get a day off between series’ and they’ll go from Baltimore to Oakland on Sunday night.
The home stand ends on Sunday afternoon with the series finale against Boston, after which the O’s will get on their team charter and head to Oakland. They’ll be on the west coast for seven games – three in Oakland and four in Seattle. With no days off, even one for traveling.
The Orioles will however get a day off following that road swing before starting another home stand with the San Diego Padres. Making a major league schedule for every team in the league is no easy task. But that’s something that the league needs to take into account – days off when you’re going cross-country, that is.
The series with Toronto begins tonight at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Trent Thornton. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.
The Baltimore Orioles completed a trade this morning a the triple-A level. They sent international bonus slot money to Philadelphia in exchange for pitcher Tom Eshelman. The Norfolk Tides may be in some need of additional pitching if and when guys start getting promoted to the big leagues.
Over five years in the minors at various levels, Eshelman has a win percentage of .576 and a 3.06 ERA. I suppose my question is whether or not this is a fore shock of sorts for other moves. I might be wrong (and Lord knows I have been before), however Eshelman doesn’t seem to be a candidate to come to the big leagues anytime soon. It seems like more of a move for depth at the minor league level.
Eshelman was actually drafted by the Houston Astros organization, of which GM Mike Elias was also a member as the Asst. GM. So the Front Office is familiar with Eshelman and what he brings to the table. I’m not sure this is a move that will impact the Orioles directly anytime soon, but nevertheless Tom Eshelman is now a member of the Orioles organization.
Baltimore Orioles’ General Manager Mike Elias seemingly got rave reviews in his selection of Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman with the first overall pick last night. Said by Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo:
He has a strong arm, impressive receiving and blocking ability and excellent footwork on throws to second base, with a quick exchange from his glove to his release. Some scouts would like to have seen Rutschman throw more frequently this spring, but teams have run against him infrequently – and for good reason. Like most catchers, speed is Rutschman’s weakest tool and the only tool that doesn’t project as plus, but that’s hardly a concern moving forward.Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports
Most scouts believe Rutschman has a chance to be an All-Star-level player in the majors as an impact bat in the middle of the order while also bringing plenty of defensive value. With excellent makeup and plenty of natural leadership traits, Rutschman has all the intangibles teams like to see from their backstops. He is the best catching prospect since Buster Posey in 2008 and Matt Wieters in 2007.
Many Orioles fans on twitter told me that one drawback to Rutschman might be that Wieters didn’t pan out the way that the Orioles had initially thought. Wieters also had to undergo Tommy John’s surgery, which is certainly not part of the initial outlook on any player. However I would caution fans from saying that the O’s should have gone in a different direction based squarely on that.
The O’s also had the first pick in the second round of last night’s draft, and they picked shortstop Gunnar Henderson out of John T. Morgan Academy in Selma, AL. He’s a southpaw fielder who scouts expect to get better as he progresses through the minors. Overall, it was a successful first day of the draft for the Birds.
The Orioles are in Arlington, TX this evening to open up a three-game set with the Texas Rangers. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Drew Smyly. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.
For the first time since 1989, the Baltimore Orioles has the first pick in this year’s first year MLB player draft. GM Mike Elias wasted no time, and selected Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman. One way or the other, those two will now forever be linked.
Rutschman’s a switch hitter, who appears to have a tremendous upside. He’s hit .411, with ten doubles, a triple, and 17 homers at this plate this year thus far in 2019. He also has 58 RBI. In the past few days most scouts were agreeing that Rutschman would be the top pick in the draft.
I would remind fans that they won’t see Rutschman at Oriole Park at Camden Yards for some time. He has to progress through the minor league system. However as the number one overall pick, he MUST be a can’t miss prospect. In other words, they’d better hit on him. Presumably however, his rise through the minors will be well-documented as time goes on.
Today is the biggest day for the Baltimore Orioles’ future in some time. The Orioles of course will have the top pick in the draft, which is this evening. The only other time that happened was 1989, and the O’s selected pitcher Ben McDonald. Whomever GM Mike Elias drafts with that top pick this evening will play a major role in the franchise’s future moving forward.
However the difference between this year and 1989 is the fact that there doesn’t appear to be a consensus top draft pick. McDonald was always going to be the number one pick in 1989 – it was just a matter of who was going to get the top pick to select him. There is talent in this year’s draft, it’s just a matter of whom the Orioles wish to stake their future. No pressure there, for whomever that pick ends up being.
A name that’s been thrown around a lot in the past few weeks is Oregon State catcher Adley Rutchsman. Many scouts are deeming him the top pick, however he’s not the only guy on the Orioles’ radar. High School (Texas) shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. is also a potential draft choice, as is Georgia High School shortstop/CFer C.J. Abrams.
Whomever the selection is (and for all I know it may be someone other than who I mentioned above), both he and the Orioles’ brass will be heavily scrutinized. However again keep in mind that there’s no apparent slam dunk player who’s understood to be the top selection this year. It could be anyone. It’ll certainly be interesting to see in which direction the Orioles go.
The Baltimore Orioles will take on the San Francisco Giants this weekend in an interleague series beginning this evening at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Birds thus far are 1-2 in interleague games, as they dropped two-of-three against Colorado last weekend.
However that series was on the road. This one will be in Oriole Park at Camden Yards. That means that San Francisco will get the benefit of a DH. However the flip side of that is that the Orioles won’t have to surrender the use of their DH and have their pitchers hit. Context, folks!
However this weekend’s series is noteworthy because the league’s two teams which take the colors orange and black will be playing one another. Given the fact that San Francisco is having a lackluster season as well, I can’t imagine that too many Giants’ fans will show up at the yard this weekend. (Although who could really blame anyone for wanting to see their favorite team play in The Ballpark That Forever Changed Baseball?!) However those who do will be tough to decipher from Orioles’ fans!