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How will Orioles go about being buyers this week?


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As the Major League Baseball trading deadline looms, Luke Jones and Dennis Koulatsos talk Orioles wants and needs as the first-place Birds of Mike Elias turn the hot corner at home against the last-place Yankees.


orioles, dobbins, ravens, talking, players, game, play, move, trade deadline, jk, team, baltimore, year, season, lamar jackson, terms, market, work, point, john harbaugh


Luke Jones, Dennis Koulatsos

Dennis Koulatsos  00:02

Welcome back. My next guest is the great Luke Jones doing great things for W NST. Baltimore positive as we approach our 25th anniversary on the airwaves. Luke, of course is a big, big, huge part of what we do around here, Luke. Always a pleasure to have you on.


Luke Jones  00:18

Dennis, how are you, my friend? It’s good to talk to you after a couple of weeks. But glad you had a respite and but even even happier to have you back now reciate that I’m

Dennis Koulatsos  00:27

trying to hold on to that. That holiday buzz. That’s what they call over in Europe. They don’t go on vacation. They go on holiday holiday, which I’m going to adopt that I think I think it’s a great way to look at it’s a holiday right, the personal holiday.

Luke Jones  00:40

There you go and look, you come back and the Orioles are in first place. So what do you know, I mean, not not that they were doing poorly before you left but speaks to the ebb and flow of a 100 162 game season. And despite the disappointment of the series loss against the Phillies with you know, some some concerns there and I think bullpen concerns persist. I think you could still certainly make an argument for another starting pitcher addition, especially when you question it was Tyler wells tiring a little bit, you know, Kyle Bradish is going to be up around a career high in innings, all these young pitchers are really kind of maxing out or will be over the next couple of months. So So you have that you have the injury, not just a Cedric Mullins coming down to the All Star break. But now Aaron Hicks on the IL gunner Henderson dealing with a little bit of a sore back although he expects to be back in the lineup against the Yankees this weekend. So, you know, nothing to panic over. But as we are just days away from the trade deadline, which is August 1 Next week, Mike Elias kind of looking at the current roster, looking at some of the needs looking at the potential needs potential deficiencies as you’re trying to project out the next couple months. I mean, barring something completely unforeseen barring a complete collapse, this team’s gonna be in the postseason. But what can you potentially do to help your chances in October? You certainly want to maintain your long term organizational health in terms of your farm system. But I think Michael is as we’ve been saying, for a while, and nothing has changed even with the disappointment of dropping a couple games against the Phillies. What can you do that’s feasible, that makes sense to fortify your roster for the final two months of the season? And, you know, we’ll see how that plays out. Unfortunately, I just mentioned bullpen arms and starting pitching. Most contenders are looking for that. And there’s there are only so many of those options out there that are going to move the needle, let’s say so. Sometimes easier said than done. But we’ll see what Michael is the buyer General Manager has in store for us after seeing him as a seller here in recent years. Look, the frustration

Dennis Koulatsos  02:53


for me with this club is particularly in in the series against the Phillies is they those last two games are winnable. But on the other hand, when you’re playing when you’re winning a lot of one run games, you’re going to be in that position to where sometimes in the last inning or two, the game gets away from you. But the overall body of work certainly is there right still leading the division over the race. Big weekend against the Yankees. I saw a memo that the parking is sold out. They have an event that the CFG arena Saturday night so Baltimore is going to be really really happened with people this weekend.

Luke Jones  03:34

No question about it. And I’m really glad that you brought up the point about when you play so many close games when you play so many one run games. I mean, the Orioles this year 19 and 10. In one run games, it feels like they shouldn’t have more than that feels like more than 29 One run games that they’ve played this year, but it just speaks to how well they’ve done in those close games. But the reality is Dennis and you know, this is when we get into analytics and trying to see where a team is where it’s going. The Orioles have played a lot of close games and history bears out that over the course of a long season. Even the best teams are generally going to be closer to 500 in that category. So that’s not to say to worry about the Orioles per se, but it’s to put in the proper context. What happened the last couple of nights against the Phillies. I mean, for me it was really game two of the series where Brandon Hyde stayed away from Felix Batista in the ninth inning wanted to give them back to back off nights and yen year Cano struggled Jorge Mateo had a critical Miss play that that has a lot of fans up in arms in terms of his roster spot but I go back to early in that game. They had a Bases Loaded no outs situation against Taiwan Walker, where they really could have opened up a big lead and they squandered it so so you have to look at the game in its entirety, right. I mean, it’s easy to point to what happens in the eighth and ninth inning and certainly I been saying this for a while I want to see this team add more bullpen pieces. And you know, Fujinami had a really encouraging outing on Tuesday night. Hopefully there’s more of that the He’s not a kid. He’s 29 years old, that Japanese right hander, it’s got a good arm. I don’t think there’s any, any doubting that but the consistency is the question. So we’d love to see them add another high leverage reliever with some closing experience. I mean, David Robertson is one name that’s expected to be out on the market and available, you know, he’s done it for a long time, I don’t think it would cost a lot in terms of prospects to get him. But boy, it’d be nice to have someone like that to pair with Batista. And Cano, not given up on him, but certainly acknowledging he hasn’t been quite as dominant and as consistent as he was earlier in the year, which was always going to be tough, but another arm that you can count on in the late innings. And on those nights when Felix Batista isn’t available, hand the reins over to that individual. So it doesn’t have to be David Robertson, that’s just one name that’s out there have several who have some closing experience. And he has playoff experience as well. So but again, go back to what happened earlier in the game. On that night, they had a chance to really open up a pretty sizable lead against the Philly starter and they didn’t get the job done, and they let Philadelphia hang around. And, again, close games, you’re going to be on the wrong end of some of those. And certainly the Orioles saw that the last couple of nights and but let’s also keep in mind still have the best record in the American League and still in first place in the Al so the reality is no teams perfect. And every team goes through losses, especially in a sport like football or baseball, unlike football, where you know, you might go 15 and two and your best season or something like that. But no, it’s just like I said the ebb and flow of what happens over 162. But I do think this series lost to the Phillies probably did magnify a little bit of the urgency that I think they should have been feeling all along, in terms of trying to add another piece or two at the trade deadline to help your chances come October.

Dennis Koulatsos  07:09

Look, as I’ve watched the probably more games this season and then past decade. What’s what’s obvious to me is the need for the electronic umpire to make its appearance sooner rather than later some of these calls, and I get it, the guys are throwing the ball 98 100 miles an hour, the UPS aren’t going to be perfect, the ball moves, they have different angles, but I think they still need there’s still gonna be a need for the jump to make calls, etc. But I do think for the consistency and for the good of the game, the sooner they can address the strike zone, the better.

Luke Jones  07:46

Yeah, I think there’s absolutely merit to that. And you know, me, Dennis, I’m not someone who likes to get into officiating. And in any sport, I’m that much because No, I’m just saying in a general sense. But and I don’t have data to reinforce this. But it does feel at least anecdotally, at least for me watching games on a daily basis. It does feel like there has been a little less consistency than even the last the last several years. And look, there are there are there’s technology that’s been in place to evaluate home plate umpires ball strike calls. I’ll also remind everyone that the centerfield camera does not always perfectly aligned, the box that they put up, that TV puts up, you know, it’s one thing to talk about that compared to Statcast, or some of the other computer technology they have is not always entirely accurate. And there are certainly some pitches that look better than others that are aren’t called strikes. So or are called strikes and really aren’t strikes. But it does seem like there’s been less consistency. And you know, there, there was some of that over the course of the last couple series. Although I also looked at some of the numbers the following day, and a couple of the umpires actually had a better night than than fans may or may have thought. So I think it’s inevitable that we’re going to get automated strikes, balls and strikes at some point here in the not too distant future. I think the big question is, do you want to go all the way with that there have been others who have explored a challenge system where it would not come from the manager, but it would be from the catcher, the hitter, or the pitcher. And each side would only have x number of challenges per game. It’ll almost be like a system with tennis. You know what you see with that. So not


Dennis Koulatsos  09:31

to cut you off. There was a pitch, maybe Wednesday night Matej wasn’t bad. may have been the three in to count. And when they showed that the replay or the overhead cam and he had jumped out of the way. Clearly that was a ball and he he was on his way to first base and he stopped like you gotta be kidding me. And the frustration from the player.

Luke Jones  09:53

Especially when you’re talking about Jorge Mateo, whose offense has been a disaster since the beginning of May. Yeah. I mean, I I do. I mean, I’m not opposed to it whatsoever. I think there’s certainly it’s not as though the home plate umpire would disappear. So the aesthetics of it would not be as dramatic as I think some baseball purists have viewed it. However, I do think there’s, you know, there are hidden costs, consequences, at least things to think about, you know, for example, we’ve all watched baseball before where it’s 12, to one in the ninth inning. And, you know, whether it’s a position player comes in to pitch or the last man in the bullpen, whatever it is, and their commands might not be that sharp, but the umpire in those situations, because it is an 11 run game, they might expand the strikes a little bit, you know, compared to reality. So you’d have to consider factors like that. And look, that’s that’s an isolated exception. So I don’t even have a big problem with that. But they’re, well, what we’ve seen with minor leagues, where the automated system has been in place is that, fundamentally, it is a little bit different in terms of what a strike is, compared to even what we who we have regarded as the best of the best umpires calling balls and strikes, it is a little bit different when you’re talking about it, because it’s where the ball crosses the plate, okay, the front of the plate, the middle of the plate, the back of the back edge of the plate, it will eliminate the need for pitch framing for catchers. And not to say that that’s a bad thing. But how we value catchers will change then. So yeah, it’s just there’s more to think about than just grade points proving accuracy of balls and strikes. And look, I’m not saying that to be opposed to the idea. It’s just there are factors here that major league baseball, and consultants that are helping Major League Baseball, which include Theo Epstein, for example, the longtime GM of the President of the former president of the Cubs, and, of course, former GM of the Red Sox, that they have to work through the these ideas and at least think about them at least be prepared for what that means, in the same way. That with the pitch timer and eliminating the shift and bigger bases, you know, the rules that have been put in place this year that I think widely, you know, are widely viewed as a smashing success. But there are also factors to consider there, like, for example, having a pitch timer, increasing stolen bases. Now, I think that’s been a positive, I think most people would view that as a positive. But there was also a thought of, does this go too much in the other direction, and then we have to rein it back? So so, you know, again, these are just the factors that you’re working through. And obviously, you have an umpire’s union, that certainly have something to say about this as well. So it’s going to, it’s going to happen at some point, you know, I don’t know if it’s going to be 2024, or, you know, takes a couple more years after that, but it feels inevitable. And I again, based on what we see, and so much of this is the naked eye, the human eye, I just don’t think this isn’t a matter of umpires being, you know, that they’re really, some are bad at their job. But I think a lot of these missed calls come down to you are talking about an object moving at such an extraordinary speed with such extraordinary movement in many cases that I don’t know how you can possibly try to really judge that consistently, without coming back to or you’re just resorting to guessing at the end of the day, a lot of times so I think an automated system certainly makes sense. Well put

Dennis Koulatsos  13:37

well said and well thought out Luke Shohei Ohtani. The Orioles were reporting one of a handful of teams that did did their due diligence to to see what a crate would look like. Now the angels have supposedly pulled them off the market. But who knows right there. There’s smoke, there’s some smoke there and maybe an eventual fire. But is there a scenario where you could see a player of his caliber on the Baltimore Orioles? Because to me you’re getting you’re really getting two for the price of one and you’re not getting two mediocre positions. You’re getting to quality positions and starting pitcher and a power hitter.

Luke Jones  14:19


Yeah, it’s over. And I’ll tell you why. Because weightless later on Wednesday. You

Dennis Koulatsos  14:24

don’t have that you don’t want to think about it.

Luke Jones  14:27

No, no. Well, I’ll tell you why it’s over. It’s not because it wouldn’t be a heck of a lot of fun. And look, I never thought for a second that the Orioles were going to seriously consider giving up what it would take to acquire Shohei Otani for a rental. I mean, they weren’t going to resign 100% Nestor Nestor and I talked about this a lot, you know, hey, why not? But reality is also you have to face that when you’re talking about these things. But

Dennis Koulatsos  14:54

the question is, can they win this year and this would this be the guy that would put them over the top this year because if you would ask me as a fan if they have a shot to get into Syria the witness here is by adding this guy given up whatever I’m gonna link but it’s not a guarantee. Of course we know that.


Luke Jones  15:10

Right, exactly. And again, I mean, I’ve seen a couple talking heads on MLB Network and various places out there that have absolutely utter the suggestion that the Orioles should trade Jackson holiday for a two month rental Shohei Otani which that’s just nuts. Not going to however, I’ll tell you why it’s over and Dennis. This happened late Wednesday night. The angels are buyers they just acquired Lucas G Alito and Reynaldo Lopez from the Chicago White Sox. So Otani is off the market and the angels are trying you know, and they played better baseball late, despite their many injuries. They’re trying to win. So Shohei Otani barring something completely unforeseen over the last over the next several days leading up to the trade deadline. He’s staying put, you can question it all you want if you’re looking at the long term benefits and health of the angels organization, knowing that it feels highly unlikely that Otani is going to resign there. But, and I said this all along, you look at Moreno that owner of the angels. Now he he’s a very, very proud individual in terms of wanting to try to bring a winner to the angels. I mean, it’s been what 21 years since they’ve won a World Series and we’ve talked so much in recent years about how they’ve squandered Mike Trout, and now Shohei Otani as well. So, there, it looks like they’re all in to try to win, and they’re not that far out from a wildcard spot in fairness to them. But it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. So more than any other reason, Dennis, that’s why at this point, and I’m not saying you specifically, lots of Orioles fans were dreaming about this, but the dream is officially dead. Shohei Otani stand put with the angels and I certainly would not anticipate the Orioles being in that market to try to sign him in the offseason. But boy, the idea of him hitting at Camden Yards and you and I talked about this when the angels were in town earlier this year that that ball that he hit to right center over the bleachers and hit that pillar. You know that the only thing that kept it from landing on Utah Street and boogs barbecue. I mean, the idea of Otani taking aim at the warehouse which has never been hit before in a game. I mean, boy, that would be fun. But at this point, it’s going to remain a dream based on how the angels are proceeding trying to buy and having added some pitching this week.

Dennis Koulatsos  17:38

Great stuff, Luke. I’m looking at the Orioles prospects. Listen, it’s really, really mind blowing how many good players, the great prospects, they still have. And we’re not just talking about Jackson Holliday, but it has to curse that he there. Joey Ortiz. Absolutely tearing it up. Right. That’s kind of Norby Kobe Mayo is down there. Deal Hall. I mean, we have so many great prospects. Where are these guys gonna go? And at what point? Do you bring them up? Whether you move away from Mateo Hicks? I mean, at what point do they start making these moves?

Luke Jones  18:18

Yeah, I mean, that’s the big question. And that’s why it’s so pertinent for the trade deadline, specifically, where you look at this. And I mean, this is kind of twofold. One, yeah, you’re gonna have to move some of these guys. And at some point, you do want to augment your major league roster, whether we’re talking about the trade deadline here in the next few days, or this offseason or next trade deadline or next offseason. I mean, you just look at the simple reality of where the Orioles are from a pitching standpoint. prayers. And Rodriguez is back in the majors. Great, you know, you hope he fares well, you know, against the Yankees this weekend. And certainly you’re hoping he fares well the rest of the way because you need that upside. You need him. And he’s right now he’s their number five starter, but you’re hoping he can slot it in higher than that. You know, whether we’re talking about this year and certainly moving forward. So you have that factor. But the other factor to consider here and this doesn’t necessarily pertain to the trade deadline coming up next week. But when you look at where the Orioles stand right now with players like and I’m just I’m not saying that I’m moving on from all of these guys. But Austin Hays getting more expensive, getting older in terms of where he stands with club control, where he stands in terms of getting the free agency, Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander, Ryan mountcastle is going to be approaching that. So what that means is not that all those guys are just going to automatically be traded, but you evaluate where you are. And you just said it. I mean, colon cancers in the majors now, and with Mullins and Hicks both on the aisle, he’s playing a heck of a lot right now. And he’s viewed at least at this point, unless you trade him and again that pertains to any of Are young players basically not named Gunnar Henderson Adley rutschman. Jackson Holliday, Heston curse dad, probably Grayson Rodriguez. Beyond those guys, everyone else you can kind of talk about through the lens of they could be moved. So what you could see end up happening is, again, not at the trade deadline, but this offseason, Anthony Santander is due for another bump and pay. But you have these young options who you’re actually, you know, if you’re an organization worth its salt, and you have the conviction in the players that you’ve picked and developed, your open has a higher ceiling, and he’s younger than him. So what you can then do is, perhaps you trade Santander with one or two of these prospects that you reeled off, and maybe you go get a starting pitcher in the winter, or you go get something else that you need over the winter. So so that’s where you’re looking at it. I mean, you’re you’re looking in the short term, you’re looking at what you can do to improve your chances for the rest of the season. And absolutely, I absolutely want to see Mike Elias, be prudent and be responsible about it. Don’t be reckless and given up the farm. But if there’s a deal or two, that makes sense, absolutely pull the trigger. But then, when you’re talking about all these prospects, you get into the offseason, you get into where you are with some of your other players at where they are with arbitration. We know there is no salary cap. But the reality is you’re also not going to pay everyone long term. Just like we see with the NFL, you pick your players that you consider to be your core guys. And then other guys, you either trade them or they move on and you get compensatory comp pick compensation. So you know, that’s that’s kind of where they are. But you’re absolutely right. You look at the system right now. And you know, a player like Connor Norby, I don’t know where he’s gonna play. No. Joey Ortiz, one, one theory I’ve had about him and why he played so little when he was in the minors, or when he was in the majors earlier this season. And why they’ve held on to Matteo as long as they have. It’s one they’re hoping to, to untap, the Matteo that we saw in April and at times last year, but I mean, three months into this thing at some point. It’s just like, it’s 28. This is who he is. But my theory on kind hiding or tease the way they did is I wonder if he’s the guy that they kind of do. And he’s a top 100 prospect and all the baseball, maybe he’s a guy that they kind of earmark to say, this is probably going to be one of our big pieces that we’re willing to deal if the right pitcher or the right piece is out there and a trade at the deadline. Now I could be totally wrong about that. And by the time you and I, you know, by some by the time someone’s listening to this conversation, maybe they brought up Joey Ortiz and DFA Matteo. But you just look at these guys and your points well taken on the pitching side, not so much, right? I mean, they have they need more pitching and K Povich and DL Hall ever gets right physically, you know, we’ll, we’ll see those guys in the majors. But on the position, player side, boy, there’s just there are so many names. And we know not all of them are going to work out. I mean, Kyle sours, you know, even though it wasn’t a long addition in the major leagues, but he really struggled. And at this point, you don’t really view him through the same lens as we did a year ago at this time. So not everyone is going to pan out. But with the sheer numbers that you have in your system, you’re going to have to make some moves. Now, again, that doesn’t mean you should do all of it at by August 1, you know, certainly you don’t want to go make a bad deal just for the sake of making a deal. But something’s going to have to give at some point. And let’s keep in mind, this is a good problem to have. These are good problems to have when you have too many young players. So it’ll be fascinating to see how Mike Elias approaches these next few days. And I’m really interested to see, assuming, let’s just make an assumption that the Orioles don’t win the World Series. You know, they they go to the playoffs, maybe they win a series, but you know, they’re eliminated because that’s kind of how it works. You know, there are no guarantees, even if you’re the best team in the league. But I’ll be fascinated to see what the what that means for the Orioles moving forward this offseason, after having the year they’ve had and knowing that they’ve got this crunch and these players a trip away that, frankly, not everyone’s gonna be able to play in the majors for the Orioles. So how do you proceed and that’s where I think you could see a mix of them moving on from a veteran or two in the right trade and promoting from within and you know, kind of its kind of the roster turned up. The Orioles have talked a lot about wanting to be like the Tampa Bay Rays, quite frankly and I hope I very much hope that the difference will be a willingness to spend more in terms of Major League payroll to keep some of your Youngstars long term and look that gets into John Angelo’s ownership, the long term lease all the different things we’ve talked about off the field. But in terms of how the array A’s have approached their farm system and drafting and developing and also international prospects which the Orioles remain a work in progress in but or at least dipping their toes into that after not even trying for years and years and years. There’s going to be some churn, there are going to be players that, you know, fans are going to get attached to that or ended up being moved at some point in time. But you can say the same thing about the ravens, right? I mean, we can all remember players that they moved on from that seemed like a really big deal at the time, but in most cases, they ended up being fine, long term. So I think the Orioles are going to be approaching that period of time. More so in the offseason. But again, we’ll kind of see what moves are made here in the coming days.

Dennis Koulatsos  25:42


Great stuff, Luke. Moving forward to the Ravens. I read with Brett and Chris, your your column on the 12 Thoughts on day one of training camp. I saw the press conference to the limited press conferences of John Harbaugh Marlon Humphrey and Lamar Jackson. I heard the kids excitement chanting Odell Odell while Humphrey was talking to the mic. So lots of excitement around the Ravens these days.

Luke Jones  26:12

No question about it. I met I’m glad you mentioned Odell Beckham and I even heard this this term from another reporter who I don’t even think is a pro wrestling fan. But they made note that Odell Beckham got the biggest pop of the day and pop in the crowd. That’s a pro wrestling term. So I was into that head, but it did. Yeah. The reaction to Beckham and I can’t say I was stunned by this, but maybe to the degree that we heard and look, it was also the first day, lots of kids out there. But the reaction to him certainly reinforces some of those perceptions out there that the Ravens spent the amount that they did and let’s be clear, they overpaid for Odell Beckham, Jr. They did. There’s no question about it even even if you’re 100%. All in on the move. I think you acknowledge that. But I think this went beyond even appeasing Lamar Jackson, even having an optimistic outlook on what he can still bring to the field, even with his injuries and injury and his history and two ACL surgeries in the last three years. But I think there was another side of this when you consider OB Jays influence from a social media standpoint, go look and see how many followers he has on Instagram, for example, it’s stunning. Well, when you look at those factors, and look, I’m not saying that that should be driving your roster decisions, but in the same in the same way that to a man and even if the Ravens didn’t come out and say it at the time, but there was absolutely some of that element involved when the Ravens made the decision to target Lamar Jackson in the draft and replace Joe Flacco and kind of move on from what had been and not all Flacco is fault Flacco is fault by all means and you know, we don’t need to rehash that. We talked about that. There are a lot of things that didn’t go well, you know, from management on down for the post Super Bowl 47 Flacco era of ravens football but there was absolutely some appeal to Hey, draft this kid that’s this amazing athlete, we can probably you know, he’s not going to go in the top five or the top 10. I mean, the Ravens passed on them once as we remember. But there was some, the flavor, so to speak of drafting a young quarterback with that kind of swagger. The fact that he’d won a Heisman Trophy, the fact that he was such an electrifying player at Louisville. I think there’s some of those same elements at work here when the ravens and Steve Ashanti who we know, got directly involved in this negotiation, targeted about Odell Beckham Jr. Now, Odell is not a kid coming out of college. And I think it’s very important to recognize that he’s not the guy that he was with the New York Giants. And I don’t think the Ravens think that either. But as long as he can be a productive player for them, as long as he can be a positive on the field, and get along with everyone in the locker room. And we know that there’s a history of some baggage at least perceived, you know, how much of it was perception versus reality? You know, I think you’ll find lots of players that will vouch for Beckham being a good teammate, but you’ll find some other guys who would say not so much. So we’ll see how that plays out. But there was definitely an off the field element here. And keep in mind that signing occurred at a time when Lamar Jackson had still not been signed long term. season ticket sales, you know, from what I understand at that point in time, we’re lagging a little more than that. Maybe the Ravens anticipated. So you do something like that and we’ll see how it works out and ultimately look at that come can’t play anymore. All that spice and pizzazz that I that I’m talking about that and the pop that we heard the first day training camp, that’ll matter and that’ll dissipate very quickly. If he looks like an old man out there who can’t run anymore. But the ravens are clearly banking on him being a little more of a little more of a lightning rod and a good way for them on the field and to add a little, you know, add a little more pizzazz off the field for them, which, from a branding standpoint, I don’t need to tell you, Dennis, you’re, you’re a businessman that that matters. You know, he even if that shouldn’t take precedent over what happens on the field for a team, that’s still that’s part of part of the whole evaluation picture. So yeah, that was kind of the most interesting. No, I’ve buzzworthy part of day one, but and we’ll get into this, I’m sure here. I think the big story of the day was kind of confirming what we had been expecting what we’d been anticipating for a while, at least the possibility, I think it’s safe to say that JK Dobbins is holding in no one saying that officially. And John hardball didn’t offer him any cover, but also did not say Well, no, he’s not hurt. Because hey, the team themselves put him on the pee up list, but I think it’s very evident. And again, I think we were anticipating the possibility of this that JK Dobbins making a business decision right now and we can certainly get into what’s rational about it, what would be irrational about it, but long story short, he’s the one guy that whose absence is not easily explained right now. And John Harbaugh said it’s not a simple answer, but think it actually is a very simple answer, but coming you know, coming finding a solution. Good luck on that. If you’re JK Dobbins

Dennis Koulatsos  31:37

a couple of points here, Luke first with Odell Beckham Jr. Just watching him listening to him. He seems to have matured as a person, he’s been there done that he’s been dinged up, he’s he contributed to the Superbowl, then he didn’t finish. He has some unfinished business. I like his mindset. I like the fact that he views this as potentially his last season to me. Not that I think he believes that, but I think you’ve added it, and he’s going to play like it’s his last season. And I think that bodes well for the Baltimore Ravens in terms of his contributions, if he’s able to physically contribute. Now with JK Dobbins, and even with John Harbaugh, I thought he gave a very mature response. It was more than what I expected them to say. But I feel for JK Dobbins, I have empathy for him. He got hurt an exhibition game. And that’s that’s the one thing that really bugs me. And I understand organizations have to make business decisions. But here’s the guy you asked to go in to a meaningless game against the commander’s he blows out his knee, coercing him potentially millions of dollars and also costing you potential games. Like and it wasn’t a year where I believe Gus Edwards and Marcus Peters got hurt on back to back my contact waste. So I get that injuries can happen. But for JK to get hurt, and the meaningless game really rubs me the wrong way. To not really try to make an effort of some type not saying that they’re not. But to try to accommodate the young man because I’m I’m a huge JK Dobbins fan. Yeah. I’m not saying they gotta break open the piggy bank. But to me, as an owner, as a general manager, as a head coach, I would have to have empathy for this guy, because he’s a dog. I mean, you can tell he loves football, he had a ton of carries. And in college, I guarantee you had a ton of carriers in high school and maybe peewee ball. He’s got some tread on them, but they’re a lot better when he’s on the field than when he’s not. And I wouldn’t blame him if he didn’t play until game one. Whatever the consequence.

Luke Jones  33:41

Well, I think that would be foolish of him to hold out. If he’s only going to show up the first you know, the first week because he’s putting himself in bad position to not have a great season


Dennis Koulatsos  33:51

is but but I don’t see an upside to him. Practicing going through training camp, even even has a hell of a year, Luke, the market for running backs has been greatly diminished, right? It’s not right, a great market from next year either.

Luke Jones  34:03

Well, but I feel like some of what you just said, Dennis, if I’m the Ravens. That’s why I’m not in any hurry to pay him long.

Dennis Koulatsos  34:11

I’m telling the Ravens I’m not so sure that I would I would just do more for him a little bit more. Right. And the other one in fact, in this position, given the fact that my head coach, which I love John Harbaugh, but in retrospect, in hindsight, I don’t know that I’ll ever play any of my starters and the priests if I know what they can do right and believe me year two, when you when JK Dobbins was capable of there was no need for him to get out there. Show what he can do. And yeah, piece of the game should be for street fried agents, you know, late round draft picks, guys that you’re trying to fill roster holes with, maybe get your backup quarterbacks from work, but not your starters.

Luke Jones  34:51


I hear you on that. And I think the Ravens they’ve learned their lesson in that way. But I will say this I mean, let’s also not pretend like playing Star are in the preseason is some unheard of? No, absolutely. So far out in left field kind of concept that I mean, Andy Reid still plays starters or has in recent years. So I hear everything you’re saying, I think, for me, it’s very simple. I can empathize with JK Dobbins. But I don’t think the Ravens wronged him. We can, we can agree or disagree whether that was smart to do, but I don’t think this was some egregious thing that they did, where they just didn’t care about the kid.

Dennis Koulatsos  35:31

I’m not suggesting to say, I’m just saying that, like I like to see. And again, maybe it’s there, maybe we’re not seeing it. But I’d like to see some empathy towards him. Instead of just a cut and cut and dried business deal. This is it, you know, you had injuries and blah, blah, blah. Not saying even if he was completely healthy, we would still be in the same situations. I still

Luke Jones  35:54

fall. And that’s right. I think I think that’s Go ahead. Sorry. No,

Dennis Koulatsos  35:58

I don’t think it would change the market value a whole lot. I just don’t, I think it’s just it’s a cop out to say that because the fact of the matter is even even if you’ve never been hurt before, his market value still wouldn’t be what he wanted. Well, partly, or Josh Jacobs, while the rest of the gods, Austin ekeler. All the guys are on a zoom call a few days ago.


Luke Jones  36:17

Right. But I mean, his injury history does affect his market value, because I don’t know when you have that kind of a serious knee injury. I don’t know how you’re going to hold up. And you know, look at Todd Gurley, for example, you know,

Dennis Koulatsos  36:30

talk. So we’re in a position today with the running backs that he’s a big, big one.

Luke Jones  36:36

I mean, I just, I’m empathetic to these running backs I am. But I also, you know, if I’m a fan of a team, I also don’t want my team to arbitrarily ignore the market just because I empathize for but because we’re not the difference here. Dennis, if this were major league baseball, and you could just spend as much as you wanted, then I’d hear that argument way more, but you have a finite number of resources in which you can spend. So it’s like okay, running backs deserve more. So who gets less than quarterbacks, quarterbacks are way more valuable than running backs, Lamar Jackson is so much more important to this team than JK Dobbins. And, you know, just about every single team that’s worth its salt says the same thing about the quarterback compared to running back. I think the only factor that’s at work here, and I think you and I actually agree on this point, because you alluded to it, and I’m gonna say this now that this Holden is not going to get JK diamonds, an extra dime from the Ravens. It’s not. I don’t think it’s going to, you know, they’re not going to trade them. They’re playing nice, unlike Jim or say going on Twitter. Which, which that’s dumb, you know, that way? And look, what he said, isn’t necessarily wrong. It’s very much a CBA issue. And players are the NFLPA.

Dennis Koulatsos  37:53


Why would an embarrassment Why say anything? Why don’t we exactly your players your locker room? You know, he is, this is this is 14 that won four games last year. What do you think the morale is? Smell? We just destroyed your run higher.

Luke Jones  38:09

And higher, Jeff Saturday as their interim coach, but

Dennis Koulatsos  38:15

thank God, he moved away from us. Back in 8083, whatever the year was, thank God.

Luke Jones  38:20

What I will say with JK Dobbins, to me the only logical way to look at this at this point, and I think he and his representation, I mean, if they’re not facing reality at this point, I mean, look what happened with say, Quan Barkley, you know, that the running backs at the big zoom call. And basically, a few days later, the Giants basically found some loose change in their couch and said here, we’ll give you this, and he signed and look, Barkley did what he had to do there. And I’m not even saying that that was wrong for him to do it, but it just speaks to the lack of leverage. I think the only way that this makes sense for JK Dobbins and I think this is where fans, and I think the team, at least at the moment, need to keep level heads about this is if Dobbins is looking at this and saying, I’m going to try to reduce my perceived risk in taking part in a full training camp. I know, he’s not going to play in preseason games, John Harbaugh is not going to play anyone, but he’s kind of they’re less proven starters at this point in time. So again, he’s not the first guy to get hurt in a preseason game. So I thought, well, I’m empathetic. I don’t think that the ravens are that there’s any obligation for them to try to go above and beyond to to appease him. Because the other thing is, if you do that, then you have to do it for the next guy and suddenly everyone’s going to start holding in. So but the point is, for me, the best case scenario for him if I’m JK Dobbins looking at this objectively, trying to benefit myself. Sure, hauled in for the first couple of weeks of training camp. Hit the practice field, August 15. Something like that. Still gives you close to home month to get ready. You’ve mitigated some of the early camp wrestler, and assuming you come in, in great shape, assuming you’re ready to have your best season yet, because boy, you need to have that. And we can debate what his market value is going to be for the Ravens or any of the 31 other teams, but it’s a moot point, if he can’t stay on the field again, or if he doesn’t have his best season, he’s not going to get paid very much. I mean, that’s just the truth. You know, we might not give it pay very much, even if he has a really good season. So that’s what he needs to do. However, I think he has to be careful here. Not to overplay his hand, which to me would be holding out the entire preseason, only showing up the first week of the regular season on the practice field. And keep in mind, he’s in the building. He’s going through meetings. He was out on the practice field and even talked with Eric Koston. Steve Bushati on Wednesday afternoon about an hour into the session, and they exchanged pleasantries. I’m guessing there was a whole lot of fake going on in those exchanges. But everyone was playing nice in that moment. And that was good to see. But I think we’re Dobbins could run into trouble here is if you’re too emotional about this, and you’re too much into our show them I’m going to try to prove try to prove a point to the Ravens. And you come in, keep in mind new offensive system, even though mentally he might be up to speed. Physically, there’s still something to be said, even if a running back doesn’t have quite as much. That doesn’t entail quite as much as say a quarterback learning Todd Monken is offense. But he comes in onto the practice field too late, gets hurt isn’t in the best, the best football shape and doesn’t have the best season, then I think this will look like a severe misfire. And I think perception of him will also not look as good from the Ravens perspective or other teams. So I think the middle road here is again, you kind of look at you him as the Ravens have handled some of their guys coming off injuries like they did Dobbins last summer, for example, where you say, You know what, as long as he’s out there by August 15, you know, you’ll ramp them up, you know, he’ll he’ll do limited reps early on, and then you just ramp it up, had plenty of time to be ready for the start of the regular season. But again, that’s also acknowledging Dobbins is putting a lot on himself. Because when you do something like that, it’s not just that you open yourself up for scrutiny with the organization. But let’s also keep in mind, Dennis and look, Mark Jackson said all the right things yesterday and the bars, no secret obvious are no stranger to contract situations. But JK Dobbins is contractually obligated to be out there, if he actually is. And all of his teammates are out there practicing in the hot sun in Owings Mills. So I do think if you’re him, and not that it’s not that I would anticipate it causes this major rift or breaks apart the locker room. I mean, it’s not the franchise quarterback. After all, it’s a running back. And I say that not to try to be disparaging, but the league is showing you how they value the position. It’s just the truth. But there I you do wonder if this stretches out too long, where he’s sitting out the entire preseason and not on the practice field until September 2, then I think how the organization feels, and yes, at least how some of his teammates would feel about that would be much different than what we’re talking about today. So I don’t think this is a big deal, a colossal bad deal right now for the Ravens. But I do think it has the potential to if this does stretch, longer pass, say, the middle of August where you know, if he’s on the field by then and look, maybe he’s on the field three days from now. And maybe, maybe this turns into the say, Quan Barkley think all all over again, where Barkley kind of realized I don’t have any leverage. You know, maybe Dobbins will say that, and we know he likes to compete, and he loves to play football. But that’s where I would say, you know, there is a cautionary tale side to this, where if you wait too long, if you don’t come on, if you’re not on to the practice field in shape, and you get hurt, or if you don’t have the best season, you know, even if that’s not, you know, even if it’s more the offensive line or more other elements at work, that you’re not going to be viewed through a very favorable lens by the organization, by some of your teammates, and certainly by the 31 other teams, as we’re already talking about what’s a very tepid market for running back. So just think that’s, that’s the factor to acknowledge here. Even if you’re understanding and empathizing, where Dobbins is coming from from a business side. Well,


Dennis Koulatsos  44:31

as a former high school and college run, in fact, I have strong thoughts on this on this subject. There’s more meat on this bone and unless you’re lucky, maybe you’re lucky that we’re up against the clock, but we’ll pick this up but next week because I’m not I’m not done talking about this a look. Please tell us what’s going on over there. wn s t all the great stuff that you do your blog and everything else that you do for Baltimore positive wn St. 15 7am.

Luke Jones  44:55

Absolutely, I encourage everyone to follow us at WNS team myself Recently Apple, Mr. Luke on various social media outlets, Twitter threads, you name it. Facebook of course, check out my blog at Baltimore spots about icons for the Baltimore. My latest 12 ravens thoughts every practice I attend, you know, the goal is to offer my 12 thoughts which are largely observations also with some news items mixed in there. So you can check that out at Baltimore Check out my column at Baltimore Currently on the JK Dobbins situation which I touched on a lot of what I just mentioned, I don’t think it’s the end of the world at the moment, but I do think JK Dobbins needs to proceed with caution understanding if this stretches out to Long potential fallout and some pitfalls that could actually hurt his long term value. So check that out at Baltimore. you want to be on the wn St. Baltimore positive text service sponsored by coons Florida Baltimore, any significant local sports news sent directly to your mobile device whether it’s a Ravens roster move whether is it is an Orioles trade between now and August 1 any significant local sports news sent directly to your mobile device and of course anything throughout the week on AM 15 Seven eat with Nestor any ravens players and coaches interviews from Owings Mills as training camp is underway. Any Orioles Brandon I players from the clubhouse coaches what have you, any of that? You can check it out at Baltimore

Dennis Koulatsos  46:26

Lucas as always, I appreciate you. I don’t know if you can see my sign here it says team JK I leave that up there. Thank you for all you do. I miss talking to you. I’m glad we caught up we we still have some some meat on the table here. So pick it up again next week. I appreciate you.

Luke Jones  46:45


Absolutely. Next week at this time we’ll be full blow in the training camp the pads will be on so we’ll have to talk about there and on the Oriental side. trade deadline, what happened what didn’t happen and we’ll see what that means for the Orioles the rest of the way so looking forward to it. Dennis is our

Dennis Koulatsos  47:01

friend Stay well. There he goes. Luke Jones here 1570 Am Baltimore positive celebrating your 25th here on the air. We’ll take a quick break and come back right after this.

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