What can the Orioles take ahead from the disaster left behind?

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We all wanted to see a better postseason showing from the Baltimore Orioles than a three-game sweep. Luke Jones joins Dennis Koulatsos to discuss the differences in October baseball and how the franchise will rebound from such a sudden and thorough exit from the World Series race.


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Luke Jones, Dennis Koulatsos

Dennis Koulatsos  00:02

Welcome back. Lita golf as always, is my lead leadoff hitter. He’s also my designated hitter. He’s my cleanup. He’s all of it starting pitcher, you name it. The great Luke Jones, Luke, Buckman.

Luke Jones  00:13

Dennis, how are you? If I was a starting pitcher, I probably should have helped out the Orioles. You know, based on what happened especially a games two and three. But oh, are you my friend is as we reconvene. I think when you and I talked to at this time, a week ago, there was at least some hope that the Orioles would still be playing, even if it was coming down to a game five against the Rangers in the LDS. But when you’re talking about a three game sweep, and two of those three games not being even all that competitive, uh, disappointed again to the season. There’s no question about that.

Dennis Koulatsos  00:46

So how was Texas Other than that, other than that, did you enjoy the show? Mrs. Lincoln, right. How was Texas? Hopefully, you know, they were hospitable to you. And maybe you had some great food. But aside from the game,

Luke Jones  01:00

I had some phenomenal brisket. Thanks for asking. So so there was at least some good barbecue, I actually had the opportunity because Nestor and I know one of the the PR staffers for the Dallas Cowboys. So we drove out to Frisco and actually saw the star, you know, the Ford Center all that with the Cowboys facility in Frisco. And I’d heard great things about it. I mean, of course, they, you know, your college football, high school football that’s held there. It’s more than just a training facility. You know, it’s an entire campus and I was expecting a lot, but I would say it exceeded my expectations. It was impressive. It really was it was something and I know they do tours. And we got we got the the extra special tour. I guess it’s we knew someone on the inside. But you know, it was really an impressive facility. And I mean, not shocking, I guess because we’re talking about Jerry Jones here at the end of the day and the investment and wanting to have the best and you know, obviously had a chance to with Globe Life field being right next to the Cowboys Stadium. You’ve got to see that I didn’t go inside that but saw that from the outside. But there Yeah, their headquarters. Really impressive. So that was cool. Got to see all the Vince Lombardi trophies got to see Tom Landry is Fedora got to see all kinds of stuff. I mean, really impressive. Even as someone who’s never been a Dallas Cowboys fan was really cool to see all that.

Dennis Koulatsos  02:27

You got to see the rings the fields in the locker room. First class. I mean, I’ve been I went to Dallas stadium back in 2011. For the Super Bowl between the Packers and the Steelers that in the upper deck with the youngsters waving my my purple ravens towel with my lowest number 52. Jersey and it was a lot of fun. But first class operation all the way.

Luke Jones  02:49

It is I mean, the only thing that we’re it hasn’t translated is to the field. Right. I mean, they haven’t been doing NFC Championship game since 9695 96, whatever it was so so it’s, it’s been a minute for them. There’s no question about that. But But yeah, impressive facility. And that’s speaking as someone who has been out at the Ravens headquarters, which, you know, the Ravens training facility has a reputation as one of the finest in the NFL. So it was cool to see that it definitely was I mean, it was a good trip. And I I’d be remiss, I mean, I can remember over the years going on so many bus trips, WN S T and Nestor putting together these trips and parties and all the different things that would go with that over the years and would always say, You know what, we’ll try to control everything and make everything the best it can be until the game and then it’s up to the team and well, you know, it didn’t work out so well for the Orioles in that regard. I mean, phenomenal season that doesn’t wipe that away, but tough not to be disappointed for them to go out in the fashion that they did.

Dennis Koulatsos  03:50

And Luke correct me if I’m wrong, but the Orioles organization has lost eight straight games in the playoffs. Right? That’s quite a streak and you know, I’m a football on the football guy first. And you know, I’m gonna think about football playoff losses. You think about the kind of miss. But at home you think about the 2006 loss of the coach with Peyton Manning was five field goals to two. So these losses I mean, again, they’re by different teams different eras, but they still as a fan of the organization of the club. They do pile up on you, don’t they?

Luke Jones  04:24

No question about it. I mean, you mentioned 2006 I mean 2019 I saw at least a few people draw some comparisons between this year’s Oreos and those 2019 ravens who were 14 and two What 13 guys went to the Pro Bowl of course Lamar Jackson was unanimous MVP and they lost to the Titans who you know we’ll talk about them in a few moments but yeah, it’s

Dennis Koulatsos  04:44

and had some time off by had some time off. We talked about rust versus you know, the guy playing so all these things come into into play. No question

Luke Jones  04:55

about it. And hey, I mean, the LA Dodgers got swept in there. have, you know another 100 loss team or 100? Win team the

Dennis Koulatsos  05:05

larger payroll than the oil? So let’s let’s throw that down.

Luke Jones  05:07

No doubt a much larger payroll, although certainly they’re starting pitching was ravaged by injuries this year. But yeah, I mean, it’s, I think there’s definitely something to that. And let’s be clear, I’m not at all suggesting that that’s the reason why the Orioles lost to the Rangers mean the Texas Rangers are playing really good baseball that Rangers Astros series is going to be fun. It really is. I think with how both those clubs are playing right now. But there is something to it. And we talked about this last week. I mean, it’s just very and baseball like you know, you get a buy in the NFL. I mean, that’s baked into the schedule, right, you get a by every regular season. So you would lose at least have some experience dealing with that. And it’s a once a week proposition anyway, when you play but baseball, you play every night, right? I mean, even the all star break is four days. So this was longer than the all star break. So I think it was one of many factors. I don’t think it was the deciding factor by any stretch of the imagination. I think it just comes down to the Orioles didn’t play well. I mean, they didn’t hit in game one. They didn’t pitch in game two, and game three, they didn’t either. So I mean, that’s going to add up to being swept by when you’re going up against a good club. So but I think it is something that when you look at how the last two years have played out since they’ve introduced this system where the top two seeds in each in each league goodbyes. Last year you saw Atlanta and the Dodgers be bounced and they were the two best teams in the National League. This year, you saw the Orioles best team in the American League record wise bounced. And the Dodgers second best team in the National League bounced. And as you and I are talking right now if someone’s listening to this later on, our apologies. But you have the Atlanta Braves who are down to one and FACING ELIMINATION as the best team in baseball in the division round. So I don’t know. I mean, that’s still a relatively small sample size. But it’s tough not to look at that and say there’s probably something to it. Now, is Major League Baseball going to do anything about that? Is there a way you can tweak that system? I don’t know. But it’s definitely interesting. But for the Orioles. I mean, it just comes down to it. They didn’t they played some of their worst baseball the year over these three games, especially games two and three. I mean, you have your starting pitcher, not get out of the second inning in consecutive games. Yeah, Dennis, that that’s that’s spells disaster in May, let alone October. So you know, and I saw some people who didn’t like some pitching decisions here or there. And I’ll be an agreement on you know, like, for example, Brian Baker even being on the postseason roster. But at the same time when you have two guys and Grayson Rodriguez and Dean Kramer who you dependent on as as much as you did all season and look, Grayson Rodriguez was one of the better pitchers in the American League in the second half of the season. Dean Cramer’s still had a good season overall, when they just completely flop in that way, it’s gonna be really difficult to overcome that especially if you don’t swing the bats and the Orioles swung the bats fairly well in game two, but that was it. They didn’t they didn’t hit other than that. So, you know, they just didn’t they didn’t play well enough. I mean, it’s that simple. You know, we try to, you know, we can talk about by and rest verse rust and all those different elements that we talked about, you know, talk about that in the NFL, you know, we talked about that with the 19 ravens, but at the end of the day, sometimes it’s just as simple as one team outplayed the other and the Texas Rangers absolutely outplayed the Orioles that doesn’t, that doesn’t ruin what was a really memorable season. And there’s still so many different things to be excited about moving forward. But yeah, it’s definitely a sour note or a really tough way to end your season when there was just so much excitement. And as we said about those 19 ravens and I’ll say the same thing about these Orioles now as we’ll look to the offseason and spring training and see what moves they potentially make, hopefully, add it add another starting pitcher, you know, see what else they can do. But you’re never guaranteed to get back to that same spot. I’ll say this much. I am quite confident we’re going to see this young core this current edition of the Baltimore Orioles making future October’s you know, over the next three, four or five years. I’d be shocked if they’re not back multiple times. You’re not gonna say every single year because you never know. Right? But I have that expectation. However, I’m not so sure they’re gonna win 101 games again, I’m not so sure they’re going to be the number one seed again, which, hey, you see how this postseason is playing out? Maybe that’s not of the utmost importance. Maybe you don’t need to win 100 Plus with games to win the World Series. So the point is, there are no guarantees I do We think they’re going to be back. But you want to seize the moment because the ravens are such a great example of this in 2019, Ravens fans tried to say what to reassure themselves, well, they were ahead of schedule, right, they’re gonna be back like, and we see how that’s played out since then. And some of that out of their control, mind you, when you talk about, I think just the strangeness of the pandemic in general, and how that impacted different teams, but, you know, injuries, and you know, and we’ll get to this in a moment, but you also have a Ravens team that has some unsettling aspects to their DNA that we’re seeing a man that played out, again, against Pittsburgh this past Sunday, where they struggled to finish, and I kind of questioned this team’s killer instinct that at times, so point is, when you’re in a position like the Ravens were in 19, or like the Orioles were this year, when you are the number one seed and you know, you have home field advantage. If you don’t take advantage of that. There’s an element of that you really squandered an opportunity, because you just don’t know if you’re going to be back in that same exact position in the future. And you just want to take advantage because you just you never really know what’s truly going to happen.

Dennis Koulatsos  11:15

Yeah, no question about it, Luke. And we talked about the Batista injury and how difficult that was to overcome down the stretch. The timing of a John means being a scratch, there’s a guy that, you know, would have could have would have maybe, who knows, maybe not, but still would have had a better chance with him. Pitching game three than Dean Kramer and of course, Kramer I don’t know where his mind his head was at, you know, with with what’s going on overseas, which is much more important than, than, than a baseball game, but still wondering what his headspace was heading into that game, but would much rather had John means and therefore, for a number of reasons.

Luke Jones  11:54

Yeah, I don’t think there’s any question about that. I mean, for Batista, I mean, it’s tough to argue that Felix Batista is presidents at the back end of the bullpen would have made that much of a difference because the oils never even got. They never got to.

Dennis Koulatsos  12:06

That’s a great point. Never done that. Unless he starts the game for you. Right. Right. Right exactly for two or three innings.

Luke Jones  12:12

use him as a two inning opener like like the raise us with a reliever sometimes. But But no, but But clearly, we talked about from the moment he walked off the mound in late August that was going to that absolutely decrease the probability of them winning the World Series. Regardless of how this Ranger series played out, let’s say even if they had moved on and gotten to the ALCS or gotten to the World Series at some point in time, Batista as absence was going to show up. I don’t think anyone’s talking out of turn suggesting that. But But you’re right. I mean, the John means injury. I think the way this team was set up and we talked about this all year, despite the fact that they won 101 games, and that was their best regular season since 1979. If you looked at this team from a run differential standpoint, in the same way, we talked about point differential that’s why sure everyone talked about the 2019 ravens who had had the best point differential in the NFL since What the oh seven patriots, they had been that dominant. They didn’t just when they blew teams out, that wasn’t really how the Orioles operated this year, it was much more of a win close games, win close games, that’s fine. That’s not a knock on them. However, what that does mean is you have a smaller margin for error. So you lose Felix Batista, which credit to the Orioles for keeping it together as well as they did after the Batista injury. Because you look at the record, they still had a winning record. They still played well. They still won the Division. But everything is more tenuous than everything is more delicate in terms of how it’s going to fit. So you had that in the bullpen. The saving grace for this team in the second half of the season was how well their rotation pitch even putting aside the failure and disappointment of the jack Flaherty trade. They pitch so well you know, with their rotation. So you know Bradish they took him I took him out when he did and some people would have liked to see Brandon heights leave a man a little bit longer out here that but brightest pitched well enough. It’s not as though he was bad in game one. But you know Grayson Rodriguez, who was phenomenal in the second half of the season, look, let’s be clear, he earned an opportunity to pitch and start in the alts. But to your point, you were really hoping that John means was going to present a really enticing number three starter for you. And that’s not a knock on Dean Kramer. That’s not a knock on Kyle Gibson. But we’ve seen John meets me John means was an all star four years ago. He pitched a no hitter two years ago for snow hitter. Solo no hitter for the Orioles since Jim Palmer in 1969. So we know what John means is capable of and even coming off Tommy John surgery. He was looking more and more like John mean for just about every start. So there was some excitement there and let’s not let’s be clear, I had no expectation that John means is going to go out and throw seven innings for you in a playoff game. But I had expectations that he would fare better than Dean Kramer or Kyle Gibson and give you a real chance. And unfortunately for Kramer, and I’m with you and I even touched on this in my 12 Orioles thoughts, I want to be sensitive to what’s happening in Israel and the fact that Dean Kramer has family impacted by this. And, you know, from what I understand, even as family living there, you know, which, you know, as of a couple of days ago, when when he was asked in the press conference, you know, it sounds like it’s families. Okay. But we know, without getting into any specifics or anything like that, we know how volatile and how sad and how troubling that entire situation is. So with that in mind, that’s not to say that, you know, that I think that Brandon Hyde absolutely made the wrong decision. But I do see, maybe there being an argument to saying you go with Kyle Gibson there just because Dean Kramer was dealing with such a heavy heart and a heavy mind and just the emotions of that. Was that the reason why he got shelled? I don’t know, it’s impossible to say that Dennis, I mean, you know, all of these different factors that we talked about, are really difficult to quantify, you know, just like, in a general sense, was this stage too big for the Orioles? It’s kind of tough to say it wasn’t because of help they played, you know, they just didn’t play well and having a chance to be in that post game clubhouse. In Game three, you know, I asked a couple players, you know, the with the whole premise of October is different, right? The postseason is different. Everyone says that. So having gone through it, you know, what stood out to you, what did you learn and a few players absolutely acknowledged, the crowd noise being so much different. And I, you know, I remember chatting with Austin Hays or Kyle Gibson, someone a day or two before the series started. And someone had asked to them about, you know, playing in front of a packed house at Camden Yards and what they had heard about what a postseason atmosphere it could be, and all that. And I remember I said to them, once the scrum, you know, the concluded I said, be ready. It’s like a football crowd. And they kind of just, you know, they nodded because they hadn’t experienced that. But, you know, a couple guys acknowledge that it might have, you know, it might have unnerved them a little bit, which I think is a very honest thing to admit when you consider what a typical baseball crowd is like, and then what you have in October now, I don’t think that’s a long term indictment for these young players. I think now they know what to expect. So you got to play well, you got to get back to that stage. But I think they’ll be much more mentally prepared to handle that then, when the next opportunity comes, but it’s different. And, you know, to get back to your original question and point about John means we knew that the Orioles had a very specific way of how they tried to win baseball games this year, and it worked so well. But then when you remove a Felix Batista in late August, even though it didn’t show up in this series, just because, you know, they didn’t have a safe situation. So it’s not like, you know, they, they blew a save opportunity, but you have that, and then you had a rotation that you were hoping John means was going to give you a little more upside and for him to to have the sore elbow, which I from what I understand that it doesn’t sound like it’s something that they’re overly concerned about, like in terms that he had, like this new bad injury or anything, but you know, just had some soreness, which is probably pretty typical when you kind of guys coming back from a 17 month absence after Tommy John surgery where you know, you’re rehabbing and working your way up, and then you get to a point where you’re doing a throwing progression, and then you’re, you’re pitching in minor league games, you get back to a major league setting where you’re talking about the most competitive environment on Earth, as far as that how it pertains to your livelihood. Yeah, there’s gonna be a greater stress there. So, you know, it’s not uncommon for someone to deal with a little bit of soreness and, you know, the the expectation that Brandon Hyde expressed anyway, and I was skeptical of that, but we’ll never know, at least not at this point, unless they admit it. But, you know, there was there was a thought that he might be available for the ALCS. But you know, when when you missed him, didn’t have him. And then Grayson Rodriguez just completely fell on his face. And you know, you feel for the guy. I mean, he’s 23. He’ll be back. I think it’d be better for it in the long run. I still am a big believer in what kind of pitcher he can be. But when you have that happen, and then dean Kramer in place of John means, you know, needless to say, I mean, look at the numbers that didn’t work out. Well, as I said, if that happens to you and may back to back games, boy, you’re feeling it for a few days because your bullpen is going to be a mess. But, uh, Fortunately, when it’s October, it’s usually good to signal Oh, you’re probably going home because you’re gonna get your butts kicked. And that’s what happened to the Orioles and games two and three, for sure. But

Dennis Koulatsos  20:10

they knew that this was going to be a new, new thing for the young players a new experience for them. I know that in football, they pipe in crowd noise sometimes in practice. Yeah. Do you know if they ever did that with the with the stadium? Did they? I mean, I guess in terms of preparation, how well were the young guys prepared to and not that you can fully simulate the you know, towel, wavy, etc, things maybe thrown at you or swear. But in terms that cried cried noise in preparing this team? I don’t know if that was done. I just I’m just asking the question.

Luke Jones  20:47

Yeah, that no, that’s a that’s a great question. I’ve thought of that as well. I can say this. I can’t say that. I know whether they did that at all. I was at the workout on Tuesday, last Tuesday, Last Wednesday, and last Friday. Now Friday, is the official Major League Baseball pre series workout. So I’m guessing they wouldn’t have been able to do anything like that. But those other workouts that I mentioned, were just Orioles. Like it was just the Orioles working out in their home ballpark. They did not do anything like that while the media was there. So I think that’s, that’s something that’s gonna be interesting, I think to see you know, whether that’s something that’s added to spring training, whether that’s something that they do differently next year, if they’re preparing for October baseball, and they’re fortunate enough, and they play well enough to qualify to qualify for the postseason. Again, in fairness to them this

Dennis Koulatsos  21:45

they haven’t had to prepare for this many years. All right, got that oversight on their part. They have it yeah, this is not the norm for them. Right. So

Luke Jones  21:54

yeah. And it’s a different, you know, it’s a different animal. Because I mean, NFL teams do it. Because it’s not as though they’re so worried about guys actually playing like, in the midst of a play that they’re worried about the crowd noise. It’s about what their communication, right, getting the signals in, you know, making sure that you’re either you’re inside linebacker or whoever has the green dot, and obviously your quarterback can hear. But But no, I think it’s fair. And I will say this, I do recall this. And this was a number of years ago. I do know, under bucks show Walter years ago in spring training at the least now I can’t say I can’t speak to any, recalling remembering any of that with workouts for the times that they made the playoffs. But I do remember, there were some spring trainings where they would pipe in crowd noise for pop ups and things of that nature. Were anything where you had to communicate. So, you know, I think it’s, again, do I think the crowd noise was the deciding factor? No, I, you know, it’s still at some point in time, you have to perform right? And the Rangers just performed way better than they did. I mean, you just have to tip your cap. And you have to acknowledge that the Orioles didn’t play? Well, you know, I’m not trying to beat him up on that. It’s just reality, look at the scores, look at how it played out. But I do think that’s definitely something that if I were a manager, if I were a general manager, if I were a coach that I would consider, I don’t think you didn’t necessarily need to conduct all of your workouts doing that, but maybe something that’s something that you do a little bit of, so I’ll try to see, I’ll try to find out if that was something that they did it at any period. But like I know, I and like I said, Dennis before you even brought it up. I mean, it’s something that I’ve randomly thought of. I might have been Monday, you know, between the off day between game two and game three, I even thought you know, with some of these guys talking about crowd noise, you do wonder if that’s something that they were exposed to, from a standpoint of trying to prep for it or, or they just weren’t but yeah, knowing how much NFL teams practice with crowd noise when they know they’re playing on the road. It’s definitely there’s definitely some merit to at least exposing your guys to that a little bit more. But again, do what was that the deciding factor on the series? No, but it’s just one of the many variables that we’ve kind of talked about as far as what went wrong and hey, when you get swept and when you lose a couple of the games fairly decent you know, certainly game three was indecisive fashion game to the Orioles made it somewhat close late. But you know there are a lot of things you could point to a lot of blame to go around they just they weren’t good enough but I think the crowd noise factor is definitely interesting.

Dennis Koulatsos  24:28

Alright, so as a football fan, I’m already looking at the Ravens offseason looking at the NFL Draft left tackle cornerback so what are you seeing now? I don’t know if you had time to digest fully digest the Orioles season but what do you see the Orioles? offseason? What do you think it’s gonna look like if you had and I don’t know if you’ve looked at it that far yet. And I wouldn’t blame me if you hadn’t. But I’m just just spitballing here just thinking okay. This is what happened. We know what the deficiencies are. How do they address? How do they move forward? How did they get better? And that could be better team would still not win 101 game and we understand that right? Oh, absolutely. But every season, we also understand that every season stands on its own. Just because the ravens are juggernaut in 2019 Didn’t mean they’re gonna be a dog on in 2020. Same thing with the Orioles. So what does this team have to do to get better next year in order for them to progress make the playoffs and also progressing to the playoffs?

Luke Jones  25:24

Yeah, I think it’s a great question. I, full disclosure, I haven’t looked at the pending free agent list in terms of who else might be out there. But in a general sense, one, here’s here’s the first disclaimer, and it’s a big one. Where are they with ownership in terms of John Angelos and his willingness to increase payroll? Obviously, the lease is not official and is not done until it’s done. Right. I mean, despite phony announcements being made to steal the thunder of the team on the night that they clinched the ALS which, really sad is a sour, bad look, you know, the way that was done, I mean, grandstanding, you know, quite frankly, not a great, great look for John Angeles. And frankly, not a great look for the governor either as they both appeared on the on the video board that night that they clinched the ALS, that aside, understanding that fully acknowledging that that being a major disclaimer here, I think you look at this roster right now, the obvious thing that sticks out is you need more starting pitching. Now. I will say this, and I’ve seen a lot of fans say well, you know, you need a frontline starting pitcher. I don’t even know if you necessarily need a number one. And let’s be clear, it’s not always easy to get a true number one starter because they’re not always available because teams try to keep them. Sure. And even if even if you say you want to get one or the Orioles gonna go from being a bottom payroll to suddenly giving a pitcher $30 million a year, I doubt you’re gonna see that. So what I would like, see if I’m trying to balance what they need with what’s realistic, acknowledging ownership, acknowledging payroll, acknowledging that Mike Elias has worked fairly conservative Lee, as general manager to this point has been very methodical in how they built their roster, through the draft and through player development and what have you. What I would like to see, if you look back to the last two offseasons, who did the Oriole sign as a starting pitcher last winter, Kyle Gibson, year before that, it was Jordan Lyles of Kyle Gibson was a modest upgrade over Jordan Lyles modest, I’ll be it yes and upgrade, what I would like to see them aim for and again, I don’t have that list in front of me of who’s truly going to get to the to the market and be free a free agent. Or I think the other scenario here that might be more interesting for the Orioles is a pitcher that becomes available that maybe is under contract or under club control. And maybe you trade a couple of your prospects. What I would like to see is sign a starting pitcher or trade for a starting pitcher that to me, fits no worse than their number three starter. And that’s that would be if you’re saying you know what, Kyle Bradish was one of the absolute best pitchers in the American League this year, Kyle Bradish is when the Cy Young Award comes out. And I fully expect Gerrit Cole of the Yankees to win it. But Kyle Bradish is going to be on that list of guys that get votes. I mean, that’s how great that’s how well he pitched this year. So you have him you still have Grayson Rodriguez with his upside. So I’m even okay, I can live with the idea of saying you know what, as an organization, we really believe in those two being our top two star errs. So if you’re gonna say that that’s fine, then I want someone that you feel can be better, or at least as good as John means has been at his absolute best. I want the Orioles to acquire a starting pitcher that you say right now. No questions asked, assuming everyone’s healthy is a guy that we say no doubt about it. He will be one of our three seats, our top three starters in the American League Division Series, the ALCS or the World Series. So that for me, that’s a big one right there. So that that would be my top priority as far as what I’m trying to acquire this offseason. So beyond that, I think it gets more interesting, Dennis, because while I look at this offense, and from me, they you had a group that on any given night, Brandon Hyde could pencil in eight or nine guys who had an O PS, when I say oh, PS Dennis that is on base percentage, which is your ability to get on base and slugging percentage, which is your ability to hit for power. They had a lineup of eight or nine guys on any given night that had an OP s of at least 700 which is a lot of teams can’t say that. That’s That’s good. That’s solid that’s really solid. However, they didn’t have anyone at least just yet who profiled as being the man you know, like that guy. That’s an absolute stud at the plate. Now, I’ll say this. I fully expect Gunnar Henderson is going to become that guy. He wasn’t quite that yet. But he’s rookie, he’s going to be Rookie of the Year and he is trending towards being that guy. Adley rutschman is a really good hitter in terms of his on base percentage ability to draw walks, didn’t hit for quite as much power this year as I thought he would. But again, you’re talking about a guy that to me is still going to get better. Jackson Holliday, you know, the top prospect and all baseball, Dennis. I’m guessing he’s gonna be on their opening day roster. The question for me is, is he going to be the shortstop and gunners gonna play third base, or does gonna play shortstop and maybe Jackson Holliday play second base for them. So you’re adding him to the mix, you still have in the minor leagues. And even though he was on the roster, he wasn’t a starting player yet Heston cursed at for the outfield or DH, you have Colton Couser for the outfield. So to sit here and say that with, you know, with any kind of a definitive conviction that they’re going to that they need to add another bat. Look, based on how this lineup was constructed this year, could they have benefited from another top tier top shelf kind of bat? Yeah, they could have? Do I think they’re going to go out and sign or trade for that. It’s tougher for me to say that because they still have so many position players at triple A right now dentists who feel like they’re ready to be part of this. So how’s that going to work out in terms of who’s still in the system, who might be involved in a potential trade to go get a starting pitcher? So you know, there are a lot of moving parts in that way. But you know, again, for me, there are different things you can do. You can always get better. I don’t want to hear anyone say well, the Orioles are fine, right. And what I mean by that is, yeah, you could basically stand pat and probably still have a great chance to make the playoffs just because of the young core that they have. But don’t be complacent. Right? You know, you want to you want to get better, you want to figure out how you can get better. So for me, it does begin with adding doesn’t have to be an ace, but at least the top half of your starting rotation kind of pitcher, you know, at least a guy that you say, Man, this guy is at least the number three starter, he could be the number two starter. You know, if we’re going to say that Bradish and Grayson are our top two, I’m okay with that. Because again, they were among the very best in the NFL, especially in the second half of the season. But that for me is number one. I do think you look at the bullpen understanding that Felix Batista is not going to play next year. I mean, he’s out. You know, we had Tommy John surgery a few days ago, so he’s not going to pitch. So I think you’d like yeah, no, I think deal. I’d be very tempted. And this is tough because the Orioles have wanted to make him a starting pitcher. But one of the bright spots of the LDS to me Dennis was foot DL Hall pitch really well out of the bullpen. So I don’t know if they’re gonna give up on him becoming a starter, they’ll probably send him to spring training and want him to get stretched out. But I don’t know at this point in his development. I kind of wonder if maybe you just say you know what I think to Hall either he you know, he could be there closer this coming season because you’re not gonna have Batista. Or he could be a really, really good high leverage eight then and kind of reliever for you. So you have those two and then Tyler Wells is kind of in the same boat as, as DL haul. You know, he he had a lot of successes in the first half of the season as a starting pitcher, but he ran out of gas is that assigned, maybe he’s best suited as a bullpen arm. And if you have those three in the back end of your bullpen, and maybe you go out and sign another veteran or something like that, you might have the makings of a pretty darn good bullpen there. But without knowing what they’re what they envision for DL Hall, and Tyler wells, and whether they’re going to try to stretch them out as starters. It does complicate things a little bit more so. But that’s what I really point to. I mean, for me, starting pitcher, I mean, that’s number one by a wide margin for me, too. I think you do want to look to fortify your bullpen knowing that you’re not going to have your study in the ninth inning, you know, because Felix Batista is gonna be out for 2024. I mean, if by some miraculous chance he’s back for the end of 24, then great, but you certainly can’t plan for that, you know, Tommy John is typically a 12 to 16 month kind of return timestamp timetable. So you’re still looking for him spring training at 2025. So starting rotation, you know, at another starting pitcher, and I won’t even be opposed to like I mentioned a guy that is at least a number three starter, and I wouldn’t even be opposed to you know, throwing another starting pitcher into the mix that would compete for the back end because that could then impact keeping DL haul in the bullpen, keeping Tyler wells in the bullpen and fortifying your bullpen on that front. So it’s Do you have that? And then you know, after that, I think it’s just it becomes interesting because of where you are with your your position players, especially the outfield where you have Heston Karstadt, who has kind of done everything he can do a trip away. I mean, he was on the postseason roster. We didn’t see him a whole lot, obviously. But, you know, do you want to kind of move toward him becoming a starting player for you? Where are they with Colton councils are? You know, I mean, you still have Anthony, Santander, Austin, Hays, Cedric Mullins, but all three of those guys, you’re talking about arbitration, you know, players that are already into arbitration, and you know, they’re going to become more expensive. And that doesn’t mean that I’m worried about the Orioles saving money, but how they’re going to operate, how they’re going to look at those guys, as they’re getting a little bit older. And you have these young guys to to potentially replace them. How does that all fit? Do they trade one of those veteran outfielders that I just mentioned, in a deal to go get a starting pitcher? I don’t know. I mean, there are a lot of different ways they can go about doing this. But I think the very common theme that you can hear me echoing here, Dennis is pitching, right? You know, adding more to their pitching staff, adding another really legitimate starting pitcher to the rotation, maybe adding another veteran to the back end of their bullpen to kind of go with these young guys, that you know that they’re going to have to piece this together a little bit with, you know, with Felix Batista, BNL for 24. So, yeah, they have work to do. However, everything that I just laid out, all that being said, got a heck of a young core, and they’ve got more guys coming. So it’s not as though they need to do anything drastic. I think this is much more in the category of augmenting what is already a really good baseball team. And that’s what’s exciting. I mean, that’s where the Ravens post 2019. That’s where they were right. I mean, go add. Now, you could say at the time, they should add another wide receiver, for example, that that offseason, but we’ve gone over that, and we’ll you know, we’ll get to the Ravens here, I’m sure in a few moments, but you know, there’s there’s, there’s work to be done, there’s work to do to strengthen your chances of not just getting back, but to your point, putting yourself in a better position to advance in October. And I think you have to you go back to the starting pitching. And yeah, Bradish will be another year older. So that’s be a good thing for him, Grayson Rodriguez will be another year older, that should be a great thing for him. John means with a full offseason where he doesn’t, you know, he’s not going to be rehabbing per se, you know, he can come to spring training and be ready to go like any normal starting pitcher. So you’ve got the makings right there of a promising rotation. You know, I’m guessing Gibson’s not going to be back, you know, you’re still gonna have Dean Kramer in the mix who, okay, it didn’t work out for him as as your number three starter in the Division Series, but he’s still, you know, he had a really good season. So, you know, if he’s my number four, number five starter, I still feel good about that. But, you know, the pitching is definitely where I would be focused. But at the same time, you never want to pigeonhole yourself, right? If you have an opportunity that you can go out and acquire a bat at at a position that we’re not necessarily talking about right now, but it makes you better, then I am not going to sit here and say, absolutely don’t do that. Right. I mean, there are, you know, there’s, you can look at your roster and say you’re covered at all these different positions. But if you have a chance to make an upgrade to make an improvement somewhere, you should certainly do that. But yeah, it’s very simple to look at this and say, really comes down to pitching but their offense didn’t show up in two of the three games either. And their offense kind of struggled in September. So you know, how much of that was fatigue? How much of that is, you know, maybe maybe you do want to at least explore the possibility and see what could be out there. Even making an upgrade on that side of the ball.

Dennis Koulatsos  38:53 He has Luke Jones is breaking down the Baltimore Orioles in a very early look at the potential offseason needs and perhaps some moves and well

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