It’s time for Orioles to start looking toward future


The 2015 season isn’t over, but it’s time for the Orioles to look in the mirror and acknowledge what they’ve seen for almost four months.

A mediocre club.

No, Baltimore isn’t as bad as a 5-12 record in July would indicate, but we can’t be fooled again into thinking a run of 18 wins in 23 games last month is the real indication of who the 2015 club is when the Orioles have just one other winning streak of even three games outside that lone extended stretch of prosperity. They were bound to level off after their hot June in which they briefly climbed atop the American League East, but losing 14 of 19 is an unacceptable way for a streaking club to cool off — if not freeze entirely — if it wants to be taken seriously as a contender.

Trailing the New York Yankees by a season-worst seven games after being swept in the Bronx this week, the Orioles should not be in full-blown fire-sale mode with more than 60 games to go, but trying to be buyers with so few assets in their farm system would be irresponsible at this point. The truth is that with seven notable players set to become free agents this fall, the Orioles need to have more than just an eye toward the future with this year’s outlook not looking promising anymore.

For fans remembering the dark days of 14 consecutive losing seasons, this situation shouldn’t resemble the purge of 2000 that netted only Melvin Mora and what amounted to several bags of cheap fertilizer for the likes of B.J. Surhoff, Mike Bordick, Harold Baines, Charles Johnson, Will Clark, and Mike Timlin in a series of lousy trades. Baseball’s new qualifying offer system makes it clear that the Orioles shouldn’t trade Matt Wieters, Wei-Yin Chen, or Chris Davis for anything short of a return markedly exceeding the value of the draft pick they would receive for any of their departures as free agents.

In other words, this isn’t an endorsement to sell just because of frustration and a desire for change.

But executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette should look to move pending free agents for returns that could help position the Orioles nicely as early as next year. With a core of Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, J.J. Hardy, Kevin Gausman, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, and Zach Britton in place and secured beyond next season, the Orioles aren’t in a position where they need to completely rebuild, especially when remembering how much money will come off the payroll in the offseason.

Some forward thinking would help that cause, however, and the Orioles cannot have a repeat of the unimaginative and poor offseason that included problems beyond the obvious free-agent departures of Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis, and Andrew Miller last winter.

If a club is desperate for an All-Star reliever like Darren O’Day and is willing to part with major league talent or prospects close to being ready for the big leagues — remember what the Orioles gave up for Andrew Miller last July? — Duquette should pull the trigger, especially if he isn’t willing to re-sign him after the season.

A contender willing to put together an impressive package for Chen, Wieters, or Davis should be heard and negotiated with. If you can somehow move what remains of the salaries of Bud Norris or Tommy Hunter, you do it without giving the compensation much thought.

The Orioles shouldn’t feel an intense need to dump all of these players, but trading at least a couple could provide some nice pieces for the near future and may not even completely destroy whatever chance the current team still has to make a run at a wild card. If Buck Showalter’s club is going to rebound from a 46-48 start, the substantial improvement is going to come from within more than anything Duquette might be able to add as a buyer at this point.

Maybe adding a couple young players to the mix is what the Orioles need.

Why not take a look at what 26-year-old Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez has to offer? He really couldn’t be much worse that what the Orioles have received from the corner outfield spots so far this season.

If you sell high on Chen, reward 22-year-old pitcher Zach Davies with an audition in the rotation after his strong season at Triple-A Norfolk. Or do the same for Tyler Wilson or Mike Wright.

Over the last couple months, we’ve continued to remember last season as justification for why this year’s Orioles could still turn it around.

But after a disastrous July got even worse in three days of frustration at Yankee Stadium, it might be time to make a few moves to brighten the future instead of continuing to look back at a past further dimming in the rear-view mirror.


  1. Couldn’t agree more other than: yes to moving Chen, Davis or Wieters–they’d bring much more in trade than a late 30’s first round pick. But can we McPhail back to make the trades? Duquette is not a great trader

    (L.J. — I didn’t word it clearly enough, but I’m fine with trading them as long as you’re clearly getting a better return than the draft pick. My point is I don’t want fringe prospects with low ceilings and would rather aim higher, but I think we’re on the same page.)

  2. Amen.
    On that front, Duquette has been terrible in trades…not just what he’s given up, but no one he’s traded for is a big producer. Arrieta and Strop for Feldman and Clevenger; Bud Norris (wasn’t that great last year–4th best among starters); Travis Snyder; miller awesome–but paid too much; Jemile weeks; etc

  3. It is absolutely time to sell. It’s not impossible to make the playoffs, but it’s a long shot, and even if we do make it, we’re not built to make a deep run. The farm system is arguably the worst in the game. We can settle for compensation picks from qualifying offers, but we failed to sign our 2nd rounder this year, and we dont exactly have a good track record when it comes to developing players (especially pitchers). The safer bet is to sell high on guys like Chen, Weiters, and O’Day for some top prospects. We don’t need a complete rebuild, but the future looks bleak if we dont restock the farm system soon.

    (L.J. — Tough to disagree with anything you said.)

  4. I’d like to see Duquette go. Obviously the Toronto job is what he wanted and we are in this position due to his failure to do his job the past off season. Let Brady Anderson take over the job. I’m convinced the Cubs would let Schwarber go with all the prospects they have and I’d go get him. Our farm system continued to not feed the big boys club as drafting is horrible. Look around the league at some of the players that could have been. Would Arrietta look good in the rotation now instead of the Jeminez contract that will strap our mid level payroll team

  5. I’m sorry but after the poor off-season I say Duquett should go. I don’t think he’s all in anymore. Bring back Pat Gillick.

  6. I agree. It’s time for the O’s to look to the future. It’s obvious this team doesn’t have the pitching or hitting to make the playoffs. Reimold hasn’t panned out and Lough is all defense and no offense. Time to see Alvarez. Weiters will never be signed since he is a Boras client. Need to try and get something for him now. Chen and Davis will probably move on as well. As for pitching, we need to get rid of Bud Norris, Matusz and Hunter. Pearce has not lived up to last year and Parmalee started hot but has cooled off. Just not a very good club. Lots of new parts needed.

  7. IT’S OVER !!! As I predicted the O’s will not make the playoffs, thank’s to Big Dan not making any great moves this last offseason. Big Dan should also be traded

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