The Baltimore Orioles and, more specifically, Dan Duquette frustrate me no matter the season. The Ravens are looking at the most important game that they have had in two seasons. The team looked solid in all phases and Flacco looked really sharp, but leave it to DD and baseball free agency to pee on that parade. While the Orioles weren’t expected to make any major moves during the Winter Meetings, it would have been nice to be reassured that Duquette was working on something beneficial for the team. However, Duquette leaves the National Harbor with no positive steps and more roster uncertainty than before. Here is Dan should’ve done.
- Move on from Trumbo.
The fact that the Orioles are actually having serious contractual talks with Mark Trumbo is insane. He had a great year last year, and by all accounts, he’s a good dude. But he turned down a qualifying offer, which would realistically indicate that he expects to make more than 17 mil/year. The Orioles can’t possibly pay a player like Trumbo that money and also extend the dynamic, young players on this team (*cough* Schoop, Manny *cough*). The guy had a fantastic year last season, but it was an anomaly. The O’s could use that pick to fortify their farm system and put someone out there with a better glove.
- Pay the Manny! (or, more realistically Schoop)
You know that theoretical money that is on the table for Trumbo? Let’s give it to Manny. The guy is set for a mega deal, and the team should be (and should have been) having serious contractual talks with their young superstar. With the news about Bryce Harper seeking $400 mil trending this week, I personally don’t see a scenario where Manny would sign an extension before hitting the free market. However, this doesn’t mean that the team shouldn’t be doing everything possible to come to terms though! If the Orioles are engaged in contract talks with the most dynamic player on the team since Ripken, it shows fans that you’re actually interested in maintaining a successful team. The fact that Duquette said this week that the team isn’t even discussing an extension with Manny is maddening.
With all that in mind, Jonathan Schoop should be their focus. Schoop is coming off the best season of his young career. The 25-year-old second baseman is a dynamic, multi-tool player who can be a major piece of a contending team. There is no better time than now to lock him up long term. He has earned it and is a key to this team’s success. He also happens to be Manny’s best friend. I have to imagine that taking care of Schoop would increase the Orioles chances of keeping #13 in the organization.
- Trade Zach Britton.
Zach Britton was lights out in 2016, and without him, this team does not make the playoffs. With that being said, his value has never been higher, and the cost of closers has never been greater. As it stands right now, the Orioles do not have a roster that can seriously contend in 2017. Their farm system is one of the lowest rated in baseball. Trading Britton to a contender could replenish a depleted prospect pool and provide the Orioles with the players to make a serious charge for a title in the coming years. Moving Britton wouldn’t cause major setbacks for the bullpen either. Michal Givens showed his immense talent throughout last year and truly broke out during the AL Wild Card game. He could be an option to close, plus this move would also provide the O’s an opportunity to get a feel for some other up-and-coming arm (like Tanner Scott and Donnie Hart). If what we’ve seen so far sets a trend, there are teams who would give up a ton for Zach Britton. Duquette should take some calls.
The Orioles need to look to the future, because this team has too many holes to truly compete now. While these moves I’ve outlined wouldn’t necessarily fill the holes in the corner outfield, at catcher, or in the starting rotation, it’s a start that would show fans that the team is dedicated to improving and sustaining success.
I know this is supremely optimistic (and unrealistic) though, considering the team picked up two outfielders in the Rule 5 draft today. Sigh… well at least we have the Ravens.