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Luke Jones and Nestor assess the work ahead to improving the Baltimore Orioles pitching before the July 31st trading deadline. A starter? A pair of relievers? And at what cost…


orioles, game, talking, pitchers, pitch, bullpen, year, postseason, wildcard, kramer, october, point, feel, innings, starting, relievers, week, series, rotation, play


Nestor J. Aparicio, Luke Jones

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:01

Welcome home we are W n s t Towson Baltimore Baltimore positive we are a positively into a fun fun homestand you know I don’t want to go all Chuck Thompson or get Rex Barney on you or you know even Bailey Goss, but saying these are the good times this is this is doesn’t get any better than this first place and home. All Star break. We’ve had all stars Luke and I have had a long conversation about Gunnar Henderson and Adley rutschman, and corporate burns, and the snubs and the proceeds snubs and the West Coast trip and the Oakland A’s, the Sacramento with Las Vegas. They think like the Kansas City or Philadelphia who knows maybe they’ll wind up in Louisville, as Charlie Finley once tried to take him there but the on Friday, the New York Yankees will be here and if we stay on schedule here, they’re going to be in second place. I thought that was a big mystery. Last week is the fourth of July. It feels like the orals are going to be in first place this week. The Yankees are coming to town we’ll have the Gold Rush sevens doublers we’ll have these at fade Lee’s Yes, I’m wearing my Coco shirt. I’m wearing my Coco shirt because the air conditioner went out all Marcella again on Saturday afternoon on 100 degree day. Guess who else the air conditioning went out on Nestor and Jen this weekend so big shout out to Martin not getting it done over there. My man Jalen Puckett putting coils together and Shoukri on all over the place. But I had, I had the same problem we had over Coco’s, they got it together over there, we have plenty of air conditioning, and probably a lot of hot air as well with the Yankees fans in town. We’ll be down to fate lease from two of the five, I will have the Affer mentioned Maryland lottery scratch offs, our friends at Jiffy Lube, multicarrier putting us out on the road, make sure your car doesn’t overheat. And Liberty pure solutions which is kept me very cool and refresh. Even my ice cubes are like really crystal clear, pure water, that’s liberty, pure solutions. And I’ll be talking more about them. And on the Maryland crabcake tour, we’re looking are getting together this week, we’re gonna get together again a little later on, we’re gonna have a whole crabcake tour schedule. We’re gonna have an oyster tour schedule, down in Ocean City for Mako in a couple of weeks. But in the meantime, Luke’s about to get off to Wildwood and get his Max pizza thing going, which I love because Mac was my dad’s name. So every time I see that I have to smile. But before the all star break and all this nonsense, it’s going to happen here with home run derbies and our LinkedIn and this one really counts and all of that stuff. And who gets snubbed and how Craig Kimbrel winds up on a plane to Dallas before it’s all over with probably anyway. I want to leave it to you on the trading deadline. Controversies on the back end of foreign to on the west coast and the lowly cubs coming to town here. Trading deadline Mike Elias expectations. Let’s reset this as we get to the All Star break for where they are. No Bradish no wells, no means where they might be bullpens been okay, on the west coast, maybe. Okay, Saturday side and the mess with Kade Povich. But Luke, you and I’ve done, man, we’ve got oxygen on this right? They got a lot of work to do. It’s feel just like Mike Elias has some heavy lifting here the next couple of weeks while you’re doing 12 ounce arm curls down in Wildwood with your brother? Well,


Luke Jones  03:24

it’s a lot of work to do. But let’s let’s frame this in the appropriate manner. It’s a lot of work to do, because it’s such a great opportunity. The Orioles could do nothing at the trade deadline, and they’re still going to be in the playoffs. Right. So let’s just you know, that’s the caveat and understanding that you have an extraordinary opportunity here to augment this roster. And I think more specifically, this pitching staff Hang on

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:45

one second. I just want to I’ve been on the station 26 years, 33 years now. You said a sentence there when I pulled that on the transcript on our otter AI and put it out of Baltimore positive. There’s Fourth of July all star week here. Yankees coming in sold out all that. You just said no matter what they do, no matter what they do. They’re making the playoffs. I don’t even know if they said that in 69 at the All Star break when there was only one representative. I don’t know how big their lead was at that point. I don’t haven’t gone back and done the tape on that. I don’t think that’s ever been uttered on this radio station. In all the years we’ve had it. Certainly you didn’t utter it last year that no matter what they do, they’re making the plan that that that is a that’s a full stop. That’s just that’s crazy talk. It really is.

Luke Jones  04:36

But it’s not I mean, because of how good they’ve been. And look. If you want to conjure some. I’m not

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:43


saying you’re wrong. I’m just saying incredibly lofty, not rarefied air. It’s freaking Halley’s Comet dude in 1979. At the all star break. We weren’t making the playoffs in 83 at the All Star break. It wasn’t working Just gonna make the playoffs. It’s who’s gonna come and get us because we all saw Bucky dead.

Luke Jones  05:05

Right, right. And let’s be clear, right? I don’t say that with, you know that I’m betting my mortgage on it in the sense that I’m not gonna bet on anything that’s truly you

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:15

wouldn’t get good on that. Right? It

Luke Jones  05:17

wouldn’t be a good course. I mean, look what the Royals I think are the first team that’s out in the wild card race. Now, I think they’re nine or 10 games back where the Orioles are at the moment. So I mean, that’s what you’re talking about here, there. And this is the point I’ve been trying to make over and over and over with you and not not to convince you I’m not not talking about that, just in general is we can talk all we want about Bradish. And John means and Tyler wells and look that to that hurt their upside, of course, I mean, that’s the captain obvious statement. And that’s why we’re talking about pitching so much. But those guys combined, had made 15 starts you know, it’s not as though those three guys were the top three guys in their rotation, and then suddenly they lost them three weeks ago. I mean, this has been an ongoing thing of title wells made three starts in April, late March and early April then done for the year John means made four starts and was done in late May. The


Nestor J. Aparicio  06:13

weirdest part is means in Bradish. We’re good. Sure. This is different when you’re seven era in your arm falls off and yeah, you lose velocity, the Froude freaking no hitters in a week later. They’re on Tommy John.

Luke Jones  06:25

Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s just, you know, it stinks.

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:28

They slashed number 234 October ability, they flashed the kind of ability that quite frankly, dude, we’re not gonna We’re not if they come up with anything that feels good. Bradish was or what means has been whenever his arms been right, if they, they’re not gonna find anybody that good it before the trading deadline.

Luke Jones  06:49


Well, and that’s, I’m glad you said that, because that kind of leads me into where I am with them with their pitching right now. And I’ll push back a little bit on. It’s been a long time since John means look like that guy, right? I mean, he only made four starts last year, he only made four stops this year. He was good. He wasn’t extraordinary. Kyle Bradish was looking as dominant if not a little more dominant than he was last year. And he was one of the best pitchers in the American League last year. Yes, yeah, exactly. Exactly. No

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:20

question. Rodriguez is heading right now into that era. Not a two more like a

Luke Jones  07:26

one. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I said this to you a few weeks ago. I mean, there is not a more important or pitcher in the Orioles organization, Major League or minor league than Grayson Rodriguez right now, because of one how important he is to this year’s team as the very serious number two behind Corbin burns, you know, of course, Corbin burns might be starting the all star game. You know that news could be out there. By the time you and I or maybe bows out? Who knows. I mean, we’ll see. But point is Grayson Rodriguez is so important to this year, and also moving forward because knowing that Corbin hertz is gonna be a free agent knowing that Kyle Bradish is best case scenario. Maybe he’s back next August. I mean, that’s what you’re talking about here. So you have all kinds of question marks. So that’s where it brings us back to what you just said about this trade deadline. And I made the point last week, I will continue to make this point. As much as the Orioles want to fortify their starting rotation, and yes, they need to fortify their starting rotation. I still think it’s of the utmost importance that you don’t pay a premium for more of the same. And what I mean by that is, if you look at the Orioles with all things being equal right now, who would you say their number three starter is? Now that he’s back and he pitched well, on his return? I think Dean Cramer kind of fits that mold, right? No disrespect to Albert Suarez, who’s straight himself back up after a couple bumps in the road there where you’re starting to question. But, you know, he doesn’t have as long of a track record even if he’s older, right. I mean, he’s in his mid 30s.

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:00

He’s got a lot more innings than any of these cats in it right? Because he pitched through winter right. Am I right in saying that?


Luke Jones  09:09

I’m trying to think what I mean he was in the Orioles. He was with the Orioles. They signed him last September actually. So he was in their fall instructional league. I can’t remember what off the top of my head. It just feels

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:19

to me like his arms been healthier, longer and throwing longer. And all the rest of these guys have had shutdowns and a little bit of this not burns. But but but him specifically. I would think he had some data. Yeah, he’s got to be tired at some point. Well,

Luke Jones  09:37

and I think some of it is also keep in mind this is the first time in seven years that he had been in the major leagues. So he’s he’s made some adjustments. Look, he’s done a nice job for them. I think in a perfect world. In an ideal world. We’re Kyle radish and John means are still it in the rotation. I think Albert Suarez, we’re talking about him as maybe an eight Hitting guy, but they’ve had the need for him to be a starter sort of outward.

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:03


Suarez had revenue of the World Series for this franchise in October, I take my chances with that. I mean, I’m being honest with you, I would I would take my chance. I think you’d

Luke Jones  10:13

take your chances just because if you can assure that you’re in game seven of the World Series, I mean, I’ll take anyone, no

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:19

disrespect to Dave Johnson or, you know, anything that I’ve seen here, but like that those kinds of pitchers that are on the fringe of would you want them starting, you know, that big of a game in that big of a circumstance? Because really, what we’re talking about here is if he’s there for starter that, you know, that’s what you’re up against with rain and this and that, and whether in October late, like Suarez would be a guy that I would say, if he had to be that three, in lieu of Kramer based on seniority and what I’ve seen and where his arm is, I you know, I lean more towards that then Povich Ervin right now right for me.

Luke Jones  10:56

Oh, yeah. Well, yeah, I mean, if you’re just talking about the internal options, yeah, but But here’s the point. I’ve kind of been dancing around. But I’ve thought about this a lot. You know, I thought about this a lot. You know, towards the end of the Seattle series last week, I thought about this on Friday night as the Orioles were trying to protect a narrow lead. And I even went back and looked at it. So I looked at the last two years of postseason baseball, I looked at the World Series participants and 22 So that was the Astros and the Phillies. And I looked at last year’s World Series participants, the rangers and the Diamondbacks. And I looked in that postseason starting with the wildcard series if you’re talking about teams that didn’t have a by going all the way through the World Series. And you know what I did I counted up


Nestor J. Aparicio  11:38

is this exclusive wn St. Baltimore. Positive research Don’t be hassled. But yeah, I

Luke Jones  11:43

mean, it’s not it’s not that exciting. But sure. Yeah. I mean, I did this. I

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:47

read these books every night for all the nerdy of all of it. And all the nerdy of Jason Stark for 50 years, picking up nuggets. So this is this is your I love that said you’ve got me, you got me get my royal farms coffee a little bit, a little bit more moist, warm right now I’m paying attention.

Luke Jones  12:03


But but this is where we kind of go back to look, we romanticize and we still do this today. And when I say we I mean everyone is baseball fans and even analytics, inclined individuals such as myself, you know, I viewed things. I barely even recite a pitchers win loss record at this point in time, because it’s just, there are many, many more useful numbers out there to evaluate a pitcher’s performance. But I went back and looked and as much as we all fantasize about Corbin Burnes, throwing eight shutout innings in game one of the ALCS or game one of the World Series. As much as we all think about the possibility of Grayson Rodriguez tossed in seven innings of one run ball and game two of the LCS or game two of the World Series. I think you would find and I think anyone who’s you know, think back to the last couple years and really the last 10 years or so because it’s really been trending in this direction more and more. Those seven inning starts you know, forget about complete games because you never see those anymore, especially in October at this point in time. But even though seventh inning starts Nestor, there are not many of them. There are very, very, very few starting pitchers, even guys that would be considered all star or above average starting pitchers that are being asked to go through in a lineup three plus times and postseason games at this point in time. So I did this research the Astros and 20 to 30.77 relievers per game they used in the postseason that year, the Phillies and 20 and 22 for per game, four levers they used in postseason games. And that was a Phillies team that by the way had Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola at the top of their rotation. So still using four relievers per game last year. The Rangers we all talked about ivaldi and Jordan Montgomery and how and how well they pitched for them still use 3.65 relievers per game in the postseason. Diamondbacks use 4.24 Diamondbacks were a little more statistically inclined than an old school, you know, an older school Bruce Bochy, or even going back the year before that, with Dusty Baker with the Astros and Rob Thompson with the Phillies. So and look, those teams that I just mentioned, all had good starting pitching. And yet, they’re still using roughly four relievers per game and in October. So the point I’m trying to make here Nestor is yeah, in an ideal world, I want to see the Orioles go out and get an upgrade for what their number three starter would be from Dean Kramer. And I think they very well will do that. However, is it going to be someone that’s so much of an upgrade that you’re going to ask them to do much more than going through a lineup twice in an October in a playoff game? And that’s where I have some question here. And that’s where I keep saying, don’t pay for a Ferrari when what you’re getting is more of a a minivan or A useful you SUV. And let’s be very clear. The Orioles could use another minivan in their rotation, right? I mean, because of the unknown with Kate Povich alone right now the unknown with are these guys gonna stay healthy. And to your point Albert Suarez, I mean, how many innings can he throw me this is the first time he’s been in the major leagues and seven years, let alone pitching in a competitive postseason minded starting rotation at this point in time. So they need reinforcements. Don’t get me wrong about that. But at the same time, what exactly are you acquiring? And what are you able to, you know, what are you willing to give up to get that? And that’s where, you know, we’ve talked so much about you think this

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:40

is good enough what they have right now. I mean,

Luke Jones  15:44

look, I think, put it this way, if you’re sitting here and you’re you have the script for October, and you’re telling me the Orioles get to the World Series, and let’s say like it stops there, you don’t know if they’re gonna win it, but they get to the World Series. I think it’s still way, way, way, way more about the guys that they have right now on this roster right now in this rotation right now doing it, then whoever they’re going to acquire now. I’ll tell you, the guy that I’d love to see them. You know, people talked about crochet a lot. And there’s a lot of risk there. There’s so much unknown with the innings, the injury history, all of that. If you’re talking about what the White Sox are potentially asking to get him. I would say at this point and look, I’m not holding my breath on this. I’m not going to be losing sleep thinking about this while I’m on vacation next week. He’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  16:33

going somewhere that right? Somebody’s going to acquire him maybe


Luke Jones  16:36

I mean, at the same time. Do we know that for sure, though, because everyone assumed a year ago at this time that Dylan CeCe would be dealt at the deadline last year and they ended up holding on to him now they dealt him in the winter. But the point is the White Sox were asking for the moon and teams like the Orioles said no we’re not we’re not giving you the accent holiday for Dylan seas, you know whether that ultimately winds up being smart or not. I mean, whatever they weren’t going to do it. But I think if you’re gonna tell me that the Orioles should push all in for Garrett crochet. I’ll say take it a step further and go off to the moon to the Tigers for Tarik Scoble who has arguably been the best pitcher in the American League since over the last calendar year, and has a much more appealing profile to me health wise in innings wise, and has two years of club control. Do I think the Tigers are going to trade him? Probably not. But if you’re going to be willing to dangle the prospects that might get the White Sox attention to get to get crochet.

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:34

So what does that mean? Who we dangling? Oh,

Luke Jones  17:36

I mean, first that Tarik school, I mean, Mayo is going to be in that conversation. You know, I mean, and I think what’s interesting for the Orioles here, and we’ve talked about this in passing, but I think there’s a and I’m not saying it’s what the Tigers are with the White Sox. But we’ve talked about how wide the net is in terms of who could potentially be available, but also understanding that that net might not be as wide as you think with the second, the third wildcard, right and talking about teams that probably shouldn’t be sellers. And three weeks ago, people were talking about how maybe you can pluck Luis Severino from the Mets? Well, the Mets have played really well. And now they’re right in the thick of the wildcard race, and people are talking about them being a buyer now. So there’s still so much of that. But I think what’s unique here and I, I talked about this a little bit with you in jest, when we were previewing that mariners series, and we saw it firsthand, the mariners pitch but they can’t hit. I mean, their offense stinks. Yeah. So how far is that pitching going to carry them even if they make it into October? You know, we we romanticize the pitching side. And look, pitching is not gonna sit here and say it’s not important, but you gotta be on it, too. I mean, it’s not as though you’re gonna be able to win two to one every night. You know, I don’t think any team can win like that, consistently in October. And I think you’ve seen that the Rangers swung the bats really well, last year, the oil saw that firsthand against them. And, and the year before that, I mean, the Astros and the Phillies swung the bats the way they did. So you need balance. And I think what’s fascinating for the Orioles here, and this is a little bit outside the box. But we’ve talked about some of these veteran guys, we’ve talked about the roster, logjam. And, look, I don’t know who the Fit would be exactly. But I think when you’re still three weeks out from the trade deadline, you’re still speaking in such generalities and such hypotheticals because some of these teams right now that we’re seeing are going to be sellers, that are an eight game winning streak away from being back in the wildcard race, whether whether they should be a buyer or not, they could change their thinking on it. So I think there’s also for the Oreo, some unique opportunities, and I wouldn’t put it past Mike Elias, although I’m not going to say sit here and say that it’s the most likely outcome. But you know, is there a fit out there where you could acquire another team starting pitcher, and you actually deal a veteran bat? Like for example, I’m just an example. Right? mountcastle Look, I know Kessels had a good year, don’t ya? I’m not this isn’t beating down on him. But they have Ryan O’Hearn, who can also play first base and could be he’s a left handed bat. So he’s gonna face most starters. And we’ve talked a lot about Kobe mayo, for example, who, by all accounts, seems like he’s as ready as ready can be, you know, is there a scenario and look, this is a dumping Ryan mountcastle. This would be Ryan mountcastle be included in a trade package to go get pitching. And then you in the process, you’ve now opened a spot to add Kobe nail to the next, again, is that you’re planning? No, I’m not. I’m just saying that’s another possibility here.

Nestor J. Aparicio  20:42



Luke Jones  20:43

you know, I think the Orioles because of their system because of some of the logjam that they have at the major league level right now, we’ve talked about this a lot with we didn’t even mention in our recap, I mean, Heston curse that hits the big homerun curse dad at this point in time for right now. And that can change in two weeks. You know, he kind of feels like the guy that should be playing more more so than Hayes and cows or let’s say quite as much but six weeks ago, that was cold and cancer and colon cancer was on his way to being rookie of the year. So this is all fluid, but they just have so many resources to do to make so many different potential trades. But that said, I don’t want them to go out there and treat every potential trade target as though they’re Tarik Scoble. Right where we’re okay. You are gonna have to give up some premium premium Sirius minor league talent to even get the tigers to even dream about that. And again, I don’t even know I think the Tigers ultimately you’re gonna say no, we get we’re gonna hold on to that guy because we still believe in our young core even though things haven’t gone as well this year as we hoped. But you know, I just think you just because you have the resources doesn’t mean that you lose all discipline and you just start trading for something that you make a move just to make the move and okay, maybe it’s a marginal upgrade over Dean Kramer but it’s still not a guy that’s gonna go seven innings in a postseason game. So you know,

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:02

Kramer doesn’t suck. So if you’re trying if you’re aiming better than Dean Kramer so we don’t Dean Kramer right now what

Luke Jones  22:10

we want back, right, so So here’s the other part of it piggybacking on everything I just said, and I know that was a little long winded and look, I don’t know who ultimately who’s definitely going to be available. That that’s really moving the needle. That’s why I said, for people that keep saying gara crochet, gear a crochet girl crochet, make the call to the Tigers and find out what would even get their attention about tech


Nestor J. Aparicio  22:33

school. And you’re much more like go get to relief pitchers, maybe three,

Luke Jones  22:37

I was just going to say so. Let’s say let’s assume they’re not getting school. Let’s assume they’re not getting Garrett crochet. Let’s assume it’s something along the lines of the other White Sox pitcher who has had a really nice year Eric fatty. Yep. Someone like that. Who has had a better year than Dean Kramer? I’m not gonna sit here and say Dean Kramer is better than that. But point is do I think Eric Fetty is going to pitch seven innings in a postseason game, I’m guessing probably not. So you’re still talking about a guy that most likely you’re going to be asking to go two times through the order. So if they pitch Well, five innings, maybe into the six, and then you’re probably handing it over to your bullpen. So bringing it back to the point I’ve made over and over and over again. And I hedged on it more so when they lost Kyle Rattus, because I mean, losing Kyle Bradish, stunk, it still stinks. It’s such a shame. I mean, I had written up literally a week before Kyle Bradish get started might have been earlier that week, I had written about just the daydream of burns Bradish Rodriguez in whatever order you want to throw them. Just that that upside, you know, that potential for that kind of a rotation? And to your point, are you going to be able to acquire someone? That’s Kyle Bradish?

Nestor J. Aparicio  23:52

Like I said, Kyle Bradish of cost another team from us. Yeah. I mean, you’re, and he was having that kind of year.

Luke Jones  23:58


And again, even if that guy is out there, are you is that team willing to move on? Right? I mean, if teams aren’t, aren’t just

Nestor J. Aparicio  24:06

talking to Carl Bradish, who was young and cheap, and you know, under control, you told me that kind of picture in that kind of circumstance, at any age, at any price that can come in and do this job for forget whether it’s a Craig Kimbrel $11 million guy, whatever it is, right? Identifying that player and identifying the dance partner. We always mentioned Kyle Gibson, is Kyle Gibson an upgrade over, you know, a Cramer at this point. I don’t know. I mean, certainly then you take on money as well. Well, right. Look, I

Luke Jones  24:39

that part of it. That’s there. But we’re completely speculative about that right now, because we just don’t know because the owner hasn’t said anything. And Mike Elias isn’t gonna broadcast that right even if he’s been assured that yeah, you can add some payroll here. You can add a veteran contract for someone like Kyle Gibson, and that’s just an example. I mean, at this point, the Cardinals you know, can heard when we were talking about them a month ago, you know, they’re, they’re in the mix in the NFL. I mean, there’s the second wildcard right now, right? You know, a few games behind the Braves. So they’re not selling you wouldn’t think. So he’s not. But that kind of guy. Is there value to him for the rest of the year? Yeah. Because you want to stabilize your rotation. And you don’t want to overwork guys and be in a position where suddenly, Bruce Zimmerman’s being called up from triple A, because he’s got to make a start, because, you know, Corbin burns as a hangnail and has to be skipped once, you know, something like that. So so there are layers to this. Yeah, they want to reinforce their starting rotation. And that’s why I said, you know, I wrote it last week, and we talked about it last week, Dean Kramer coming back and looking like Dean Kramer is of the utmost importance, not necessarily that that’s the deciding factor in October, but it’s going to help you navigate these next three months more easily knowing the team Kramer has led them in innings over the last two years combined had more pitch more innings in any other Orioles pitcher. So that’s important. So you have that but at the same time, I still will come back to the bullpen. And I’ll still come back to realistically speaking again, if we’re going to eliminate acquiring school, who is my you know, that’s my aim high. That’s my make the call and see what at least gets the Tigers listening to you. And again, it wouldn’t be cheap, because you’re talking about someone who’s maybe the best pitcher in the American League. You know, we’ve although certainly caught and burns and a couple others can make an argument this year. But he’s been that great. And he’s got two more years of control, you know, so it’s not a rental even.

Nestor J. Aparicio  26:40

But well, then you’re not making a bad deal giving up a player that you’re gonna be blocking anyway. Right, of course, of course, is being the example. We make that deal all over again. And Ben burns and gonna be your next opening day.


Luke Jones  26:53

Right. And and Joey Ortiz looks like he could be a mainstay in the middle of the Milwaukee order. But But under the most realistic outcomes, you know, if we’re looking at the range of outcomes of if the best is acquiring teryx Google, and the worst is getting this year’s version of Jack Flaherty which by the way, Jack Flaherty is actually an intriguing name that’s going to be out there on the trade deadline, you know, trade deadline names again, which is funny, because, you know, that worked out to the point where it didn’t work out at all. And Jack Flaherty wasn’t in the rotation at the end of the season, and was a nonfactor in October for them. So, but within that range within that range of outcomes, and I’m assuming they’ll make a move for a starting pitcher, because I think they will. But most of those outcomes that are somewhere in the middle there aren’t necessarily moving the needle dramatically. Come postseason. So brings me back to the bullpen. And I just mentioned I reeled off the last four World Series participants over the last two years. They all average roughly four relievers per game. And that doesn’t mean the rest of your bullpen is trash. Let’s be clear about that. And I talked about this a lot. The Orioles bullpen? If nothing else, while they lack the late inning, guys, that you have so much conviction that are going to, you know, come in and do what Andrew Miller did a decade ago or come in and do what Felix Batista does when he’s healthy. But I would say that their bullpens given them a pretty high floor, you know, statistically their bullpen has been way better than if you just hear what fans are saying on social media on any given night. That said, I’ve used the magic number that I’ve talked about with you since spring training has been for you need for guys that you feel really, really good about high leverage. And when I say high leverage, that means a one run game and the seventh inning, a one or two run game in the eighth inning and obviously, ninth inning. So for guys, who are those? If you had to pick right now Nestor who are those four guys in the Orioles bullpen? Well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  28:53

I wrote down one note for this conversation. Because you and I have had long chats this week about the cubs in the Yankees. We’ve discussed at length all star snubbing and who’s playing next week and your vacation and Max pizza and Wildwood and my crab cakes and fade these this weekend and all that’s even the great Pat Benatar being in town this week. But that’s the only thing I wrote down the whole weekend that I wanted to talk to you about with trades, which was Who do you trust, and I wrote this down when Cano came into the game. And on Sunday after get your ass kicked Saturday, six hour flight home, nobody at the game at you know, all sorts of weird stuff happened in the outfield for the A’s you can’t see the ball and her playing routine fly balls into runs. All of a sudden, after all that prosperity early in the game, you look up you got to run around first base. You got the time run at the plate. And I’m like I said I said the gentleman here we go. Here we go. You know that? That’s me being a baseball fan. It’s probably my father and me coming. Here we go. That’s my dad. So here we go. And that’s like that’s the bad carousel Could happen. And, you know, it turns out everybody’s happy. He gets on the plane and everything’s good. But I don’t know, you’re making a case for Kimbrough for the all star game, and I don’t know that I have a night by night basis, he comes into three two ballgame. And two, three fours coming up that I’m feeling like, Hey, we got this one in the bag the way maybe I did with Batista, or even Lee Smith or you know, zack, zack Britton,

Luke Jones  30:25

right. Yeah, I mean, and look, you’re feeling that that trepidation that you just mentioned, I think a lot of fans have felt that and in fairness, more often than not, these guys have gotten the job done.

Nestor J. Aparicio  30:36


When you say Who do you trust? Hi, I’m thinking,

Luke Jones  30:40

Well, look, Craig Kimbrel is going to be in that group and deserves to be in that group. And you know, I’ve been saying since spring training, I’d like to see them have a scenario at by season’s end, where there’s a one and a one a Kimbrough can close games. Don’t get me wrong. Kimberly. And, and I want to be very clear about this. Craig Kimball’s been really good since mid May. I mean, he’s been really good. The numbers bear that out. Regardless of how you feel. Regardless of what people say on Twitter. The numbers bear that out. He’s been excellent. First Joe

Nestor J. Aparicio  31:11

Flacco said to me over an iced tea in Jersey when I’m writing Purple Rain, a lot of games. We want a lot of games around here, dude. A lot of games around here. So

Luke Jones  31:22

Craig Kimbrel. We agree all right, we can agree whether it’s the most lockdown of lockdown guys that are out there. You know, that’s a different conversation


Nestor J. Aparicio  31:28

apart. But

Luke Jones  31:29

he’s been, but Well, right. But after that, who are you second most confident in? I’m asking like serious. I’m asking you right now.

Nestor J. Aparicio  31:39

I don’t know in any given night maybe web I guess right. He would probably be my God. Yeah. But the fact that you said it that way. And I would say it in a fairly I would say okay, we can get by with Cano. And then when you are I won’t be me because they won’t let me in this year. But if we’re on a plane ride home after a bad beat, in five games and a seven game series and you look up to your point, it’s you know, middle July, the bullpen would be the reason and it would be the reason the bullpen would be the reason and the bats not coming to life would be the reason and because you have to pitch Kade Povich or pitch Cole, Irvin or start Suarez and they go to on a third, you’re losing seven to three.

Luke Jones  32:20


Yeah, I mean, and again, I am not at all saying I don’t want another starting pitcher. Yeah, I wouldn’t want another starting pitcher. That’s not

Nestor J. Aparicio  32:28

when I talk about October baseball. The hair on my neck stands up and I feel like I need a sweater. And I feel the chill in the air and I see the stanchions providing a shade over the infield. Like, like, and you said even early, you’re like, Well, we’re already making the playoffs. Dude. I’ve never had a conversation. This is so much fun. I almost tweet in the middle of this. Like, I can’t believe we’re having these kinds of conversations in July. It gets me excited to get up in the morning, Luke.

Luke Jones  32:53

Well, that’s why when you started our conversation, that’s why I wanted to frame it in. Because you said Mike Elias has a lot of work to do. I don’t disagree. But this is this is a lot of work to do. And I’ve seen so peep

Nestor J. Aparicio  33:05

and maybe to your point, it may be nothing. They better do something they’ll


Luke Jones  33:09

do something. Yeah, I can’t fathom they they’re not going to make at least a couple moves. I mean, even last year, I mean, they they acquired Flaherty and they got Fuji right now that didn’t work out, but they made me well, they were going to aim higher net this year. Right? Yeah, they need higher than that means Mayo curse that any of these guys can be dealt. I mean, it could be that, but I’ll continue to say that doesn’t mean you should deal them if what you’re getting back is not so dropped dramatically better than Dean Kramer in game three. Because again, most pitchers in playoff baseball in 2024. This is not 1991 anymore, let alone 1965 Where guys are gonna go the distance or guys are going in the eighth inning. I mean, you know, there, go back and look at Zack Wheeler, who’s been one of the best pitchers in the National League. There have been some games, some postseason games the last couple years where he has been pulled after five innings. I mean, that’s, that’s how it works. I’m just saying you’re

Nestor J. Aparicio  34:07

gonna have to get and if fans you’re gonna get somebody else’s Cy Young candidate and you’re not gonna tip off Colton Couser for that, or give up something that they’re good and it’s not going to be Marlins or haze, it’s going to be somebody controllable and cheap because that’s the way it’s going to have to be and we’re going to play through with Mullins and A’s and when the time comes that to replace mountcastle Or you know that’s when rutschman moves to first base I’m making that up but you’re you’re gonna have to give you and feelings you’re gonna get hurt and people are gonna get tapped on the shoulder and you know the tray man seni deep feelings and BJ surhoff mean like, you know, we’ve had hurt feelings at trading deadlines. All of these guys envision playing with a cartoon hat on their head in October with all the thoughts that I just had for the Orioles. Somebody’s gonna get tapped off the ship if you’re going to make the ship that much better.

Luke Jones  34:58

Well, you are but again You also don’t do that if you’re not making the ship that much better. And that’s what I continue to say. And that’s where I look at, you know, look, the jack Flaherty deal didn’t didn’t work out at the time. I thought it was an upside play, right. I mean, I thought there, you know, there was a thought that he’s a rental. And he’s in a contract here. And obviously, he’s very motivated to pitch well and potentially make some postseason starts and didn’t work out. But there was a play there that Jack Flaherty had. The kind of upside that frankly, he’s shown, you know, he’s, he’s pitched well for the Tigers this year. You know, it didn’t work out. But yes, you have lots of prospects that deal but telling you, and I don’t, and this isn’t Luke talking. This is Luke trying to think the way Michael is thinks about these things. And the way SigmaTel thinks about these things. They’re not going to trade premium talent for less than premium return. I mean, nor should they, because like I said, if you do that, okay, you’ve upgraded over Dean Kramer, but you’re still, you’re still sending someone out there in game three, that’s probably going to get pulled in the fifth inning. So that brings me back to what the bullpen and that’s where I will continue to bang the table and saying if you’re going to ask me to choose right now, if I had to make a choice here if we’re gonna do this exercise, Nesta where my choice is another starting pitcher, or two legit bullpen arms. I’m taking the two legit bullpen arms and not even I don’t think I’m thinking twice about it. And obviously that’s not you know, that’s a false choice because they can get they can get all those things. But they need bullpen arms. They need bullpen arms that they feel good about. In the Seattle series. Remember, Keegan Aiken came in, gave up the runs late. Fans were mad. Why did you go to Keegan Aiken? You know, if you look at it, statistically, Keegan Aiken, if we’re going back to the the top four question, kicking a can you can make an argument statistically, has been one of their top four relievers. Now. That’s of course what Danny Colome hurt right now. So that’s, that’s the wildcard. You know, Is he back in September? How effective is he all that and Danny coulomb would obviously be in that conversation as far as guys you felt competent about? Because you know what, at the time he got hurt, you can make an argument he might have been their best reliever, you know, all things being equal with Kimbrel. Still getting himself on a roll at that point. But you know, what

Nestor J. Aparicio  37:20


I’m done doing with pitching, as I’m old enough to do this. Now. There used to be a point when I was a kid, when a guy would get injured, and you would just feel like it was like, they were just gonna come back and be okay. Yeah, pitch, okay. stiff shoulder, soreness, that arm period, whatever they would call all that. Now anytime I see a Kramer go out for a little period of time. Even Grayson Rodriguez with his issues in the past, I’m always super duper, duper, duper nervous, that we’re just saying Kramer’s back. He made start he’ll be fine. Good. I don’t know. I mean, I mean, arms and baseball. I’ve just, we’re in a different period here. And the more that I talked to the Dave Johnson, the Greg Olsen’s, and you know, the old pitchers that I know in my life, we talk about the way they trained to do things and where we are right now? I don’t know. I don’t think anything is, is is a given, even though Ben burns and we talk about him in that way. Oh, and that’s why that’s

Luke Jones  38:19

when I made my comment about the Orioles are going to be in the postseason. That’s making an assumption that health is going to stick maintain at a reasonable level. You know, I mean, if they continue to lose pictures the way they are, then maybe that becomes a different conversation. Point is with everything. I was just saying. They need some bullpen arms. Yeah, to me. They need another guy that is right there with Kimbrel in terms of couldn’t pitch the eighth can pitch the night because you know that Kimbrel can’t pitch every night. And this by the way, this road trip was a good example of that the Orioles played a lot of close games on this road trip. You know it was a winning road trip but they play close games other than the Saturday blowout loss, right. So McCain tried when you have that? Yeah. When you have that that’s that just accentuates the need for you need for for guys who can do that. And look, I’m not trying to be disparaging the CNL Perez, or Dylan Tate or some of these other guys who look those guys are going to be on at least some of those guys are going to be on the postseason roster. You’re not You’re not going to add four or five bullpen arms. But what I’d like to see is them add an eighth ninth inning guy and someone that is a seventh eighth inning guy so then you mentioned Jacob Webb look, Jacob Webb’s had a really good season for the Royals and I mean, came in on Sunday. Got a double play ball that gunner throw away you know, to kind of get out of that inning that would have saved Grayson Rodriguez another run there as far as his final stat line, but he’s done a nice job but I would like Jacob Webb way more if he was their fourth or fifth best reliever rather than possibly be in their second best really Right now, and that’s my point, can you get a couple guys? That’s going to knock everyone down a peg or two in the hierarchy? And if you do that, then yeah, that game three starter whether it’s, you know, whether it is Dean Kramer or whether you go out and get, you know, some rental, you know, Eric fatty and I’m just throwing his name out there. By the way side note is I’m talking about veteran pitchers. I think the interesting team to watch at this point right now is the Texas Rangers, you know, and I saw Ken Rosenthal actually did an article I think it was Sunday in the athletic Rangers are seven and a half back for the last wildcard spot at this point. And there’s, you know, they had a little winning streak over the weekend, but they’re still six under 500.

Nestor J. Aparicio  40:44

There’ll be on that next week. They got all star game, they’ve got no doubt

Luke Jones  40:48

they’ve got a lot of rental pieces. And by the way, you know, they’ve got Kirby, they’ve got Robertson out, they’ve got a couple of bullpen arms. And also some starters for that case. I mean, maybe the Orioles revisit Max Scherzer. That was a name that was talked about last summer. Maybe it ends up being a name. And look, Max Scherzer is not going eight innings in a postseason game anymore. But he could give you five or six really good innings, maybe, you know, maybe that’s a big baby, I understand that. So you know, there’s so many names that we can talk about and sit here and anyone who’s interested is googling it. And they’re looking at everyone’s record, and they’re saying, hey, you know, is this guy gonna be available? What’s this guy’s contract status? You know, I’ve talked to you about some of the race pitchers even you know, if someone like an athlete who isn’t having a great statistical season, and is owed some money next year, but, you know, it breaks even in recent history has pitched at a high level at times. So, you know, is there someone that Mike Elias, and sigma delta and this front office, you know, are there some guys that they ended up targeting that statistically, it doesn’t look great at the moment, but the peripheral say, hey, we project this guy out to be better the second half of the season, we project this guy out to get himself straightened out, you know, when you look at some of the peripheral numbers, I mean, I think the Blue Jays are an interesting team, you know, do I think the Blue Jays are going to eagerly trade with the Orioles? Or the Yankees potentially? Maybe not? At the same time? The Blue Jays stink? They’re not good. Are they going to make? I mean, they’re eight and a half back for the last wildcard spot? You know, they they’ve got some pitchers, you know, that? I think the Orioles could would would deem attractive that aren’t necessarily going to cause crazy returns in terms of prospects. So there’s so many different things the Orioles could do, you know, whether it’s dealing Yes, dealing their best prospects, which I think is not likely to happen when it’s all said and done, because I just don’t think the tariffs Googles of the world are necessarily going to be available for a price that you’re willing to pay. And, you know, rentals, veteran players all that, you know, that’s there. But I also, like I said, I still would not eliminate the possibility of the Orioles trading a veteran player on the major league roster as part of a bigger deal. If it means that helps you net a starting pitcher or net a couple bullpen arms. So, you know, I think there’s just, we’re still three weeks out, there’s still a long way to go. The third wildcard is just made everything. It’s just It’s messy, trying to figure out who exactly is going to buy and sell. But, you know, I think all this comes back to your original point. Yes, Mike Elias has some serious heavy lifting to do. But it’s fun. Like it’s good. Like it’s it’s of the of the thought that you have the prospects and you have the resources, and you presumably have some money that you could take on a contract, you know, the right rental or whatever it is, and augment. But you know, they’re not doing this out of desperation. They’re doing this out of we’re really good team, and we want to try to be great for October. And I think they’re going to have some opportunities to do that. That said, Mike Elias is going to remain disciplined. SigmaTel is going to remain discipline. They’re not going to mortgage 2028 For this year, because here’s the here’s the reality, you can make the trade that seemed to be the greatest trade in the history of trades, does not guarantee you a World Series. So doesn’t mean you don’t make that trade. But there are no guarantees CC Sabathia way back. When was an amazing acquisition by the Milwaukee Brewers at the trade deadline. Did they win the World Series that year? Nope. I mean, it’s all about just trying to improve your odds, but it’s still baseball. It’s still the the day to day game, the game series short series of short series variants. It’s maddening, but it’s also what makes it so fun. And that’s where the Orientals will try to augment. I think they will augment. I think they’re absolutely going to make some trades. Is it going to be enough in October? I still think that’s going to come down to Corbin burns, grace and Rodriguez. And yes, this lineup That continues to be one of the very best lineups in Major League Baseball.

Nestor J. Aparicio  45:03

Fantastic week baseball ahead and all star game next week with Oriole snaps and starters and homerun Derby and the Yankees are in town this weekend. And Luke and I will be convening at Faith Lee’s at Lexington market on a Friday afternoon. I’ll be there early I’m saying two to five but the crabcakes they suck me in I’ll probably be there by 1231 o’clock. Gold Rush sevens doubles we’ll have these to give away from the Maryland lottery friends at Liberty pier solutions put us out on the road with crystal clear water if you have a well problem they have a well solution for you can also make your water just better safer, cleaner tastier especially when you know this time of year you drink a lot of gotta hydrate up this time of year also for the cars got to hydrate too that’s why they have Jiffy Lube multi care to make sure that on these hot days you don’t have what happened to my friends a coke goes with the air conditioning goes down maybe in your car or your car overheats bad stuff, keep it out on the road if you do but multi care is in every community out there. We got a coupon up at dumb Baltimore You can download as well. Luke can be found at Baltimore Luke, He will be can be found at Camden Yards and the press spots that can be found in the air conditioning. Watching the Cubs here this week. Yankees in this weekend. It is a great, great summer. It’s been a great baseball season. We’ve got so much to talk about and we’re really just getting started because it’s it’s not even the all star break yet. We’ve already made the playoffs. I’m Nestor he’s Luke we are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore. And we never stop talking game one least we have a starter for that right here.

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