The Baltimore Orioles are 39-41 this morning, 6.5 games out of first place in the American League East. They are just 2.5 games out of a Wild Card berth but have 5 teams (Seattle, Texas, Kansas City, LA Angels and Minnesota) ahead of them. Recently, Executive Vice-President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette proclaimed the Orioles will be buyers at the July 31st trade deadline http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/bal-dan-duquette-orioles-plan-to-be-buyers-at-trade-deadline-no-matter-what-20150722-story.html.
As the team hovers at .500 and teases the fan base with the hope of making it into the playoff “tournament” I think it is time for some radical changes. Our pitching staff is struggling and it does not look as though we can wheel and deal for the big pieces necessary to turn things around. Realistically, the team is one more 7-game losing streak away from becoming an afterthought in the playoff race.
My solution: promote both Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays to Baltimore, put them in the outfield with Adam Jones and see what those three can do. Mullins and Hays can and do cover a lot of outfield ground and their presence in the corners may even help improve Jones’ play as well. They would also add a speed component to a team that needs to balance its offense so as to not be reliant on the long ball. Hays and Mullins also have some pop in their bats.
Adding these two will require making room on the 40-man roster and that can be accomplished by trading our two marketable players: Seth Smith and Welington Castillo. Offer Mark Trumbo as well as long as the offer to pay some of his contract goes along with it. If Hyun Soo Kim is not going to play, offer him for trade. As far as I am concerned, Joey Rickard and Craig Gentry can go too. The team needs to reboot; it would be wise to get what you can now and look into retaining Adam Jones, Zach Britton and Manny Machado.
The Orioles may be a completely different team in 2018 and we need to prepare for that reality. Bring up controllable players and see what they can do. Both would benefit greatly from Adam Jones’ mentorship and leadership.
Mediocrity will only go so far, so why not add two exciting players to the roster that the fans can embrace. There is so much doom and gloom written about this team and its chances of retaining players, so why not think outside the box and put some excitement on the field?
The fans aren’t stupid and I think most realize this is not a playoff team as it is performing now, improvements may be coming but they will be small. Let’s see what we could have, the future is now.
A youth movement may be just what this team needs.