What is the next move for Mike Elias and Orioles?

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In an offseason with unlimited possibilities after incredible success on the field in 2023, Luke Jones and Nestor take a deep dive into the arsenal of prospects and abundance of position players the Baltimore Orioles have in their farm system. And what that could mean for an offseason of free agency, trade possibilities and the inevitable rising payroll that the Angelos family will need to support with more money.


orioles, year, bullpen, talking, trade, santander, players, homeruns, henderson, team, roster, offseason, point, good, pitched, arbitration, luke, kyle gibson, rodriguez, baltimore


Nestor Aparicio, Luke Jones

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

Welcome back wn S T, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are a positively get Maryland crabcake tour back out on the road. I promise new dates are brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery. We did a pretty good time. Drug city on Friday at the fountain had my son on also Chuck Jacobs who runs the fountain over there making some old fashions. This guy Luke Jones joined us along with George Schulman. You’ll be hearing that all week long as we talked some baseball some science, some Thunderhawks and Pennsylvania, amongst other things, all are brought to you by our friends at WIN donation. 8669 donation you by two you get two free 0% financing throughout the month of October and our friends at Jiffy Lube multi care if my old change light came on on Friday, if your oil change light comes on. There’s a Jiffy Lube right around the corner from you. Make sure you go find them. We’ll be talking more about them. I’m doing some charity stuff this week. I thought I was going to be doing baseball playoff games. I thought we were going to be flying somewhere Minnesota Houston it would have been Houston. instead. We’re watching TV here this week and getting ready for the Detroit Lions to come to town after a weekend in London. I thought it’d be good opportunity. Luke had a long conversation with Dennis that we’ve run from Thursday from Dennis Dennis the show. And Dennis is away this week a little bit having a good time himself. Let me get over to coons Baltimore for to have my coons logo on here. I have not really had a chance with Luke other than in the early morning in Arlington, Texas where you and I did several hours of radio in the in the hotel after wasn’t a boarded trip down there. Although I did have some delicious Texas barbecue waiting for my wife on Sunday night. So she was very pleased with that. We haven’t had a chance to like really sort of pick up where we go from here and you and I bought most of the way home and the car and the in the flight about the offseason and baseball offseason and football offseason how it’s different. It’s definitely different. And you know, one part of it is sitting here the next three weeks and watching the other teams play every night where in the NFL, you lick your wounds, you feel bad, you lose a playoff game, you watch some games the following Sunday, you and I will usually go to the Super Bowl for Chad’s still got involved. Baseball is different. We’re not going to the World Series where I guess we’re gonna watch we’ll watch these games all week long and see how it turns out certainly not as good for Atlanta, or LA. But the Orioles for the better seeds for how taking a week off. And the bye week affects all of this. But you’ve had a little while to like marinate on it. And I know it was more difficult in the aftermath for you and I to discuss anything other than what the hell happened in Texas last night. But now that it plays out, and there’s an offseason and the thoughts of who are we dealing for what because it really feels like to me if you’re a fan, you’re waiting for Mike Elias to do things in this offseason and this is an offseason where I think trading Austin Hays, Ryan mountcastle Some of the guys that have been around I think one of the reasons this hurts so bad, and maybe even for you as a journalist being around this team. This is a group of guys that have been together since they were puppies. I mean, one of the things Ryan Rifkin talks about is playing with all these guys. And now they’ve arrived. It feels early to break up the band. But between Westberg Couser II, even Henderson brand new and holiday coming in the pipeline, this is gonna be a different team in April do

Luke Jones  03:29

it is I think the question is how different and let’s be clear, some of the the problems that we’re going to be talking about are a product of having too many players too much organizational depth at certain spots. And then how do you marry that with the idea of getting better, not just being happy to be here because they did that this year, they had this amazing season that should always be remembered fondly. I think other than the three World Series teams, I think you can make a case for this season being as gratifying as just about any other beyond that just because of you know, relative to the expectations going into the year and where how far they’ve come in two years. But the difference is now and I wrote about this over the weekend at Baltimore positive.com is we are now in the transition phase between happy to be here and that’s not just for fans but I think the Orioles themselves, too. How do you get over the October hump? I think the good news is I think it’s very clear what they need and it’s not as though they need half a dozen pieces necessarily. You know, I think a lot of this is going to be solved from within and a lot of this is going to be solved with Gunnar Henderson is going to be a year older Adley rutschman is going to be a year older. Jordan Westberg if he’s still here is going to be a year older. But you have all these players at triple A Norfolk right now and we saw this play out over the second half of this past season, whether you’re talking about a coltan cows or whether you’re talking about a Heston curse dad who did get his cup of more than a cup of coffee,

Nestor Aparicio  05:08

I forgot about him all the way to prospects I forget about them.

Luke Jones  05:13

Yeah, you have him you have someone like Kobe mayo, who was at triple A Norfolk corner, infielder who, I don’t think he’s gonna be there very long next year, you have Jackson Holliday, where the question is going to be? Is he on the opening day roster? Or is he gonna be more like rutschman. And you see him arrive, Memorial Day weekend or something along those lines, you have not as much on the pitching side. But you do have a couple pitchers who have reached the triple A level that could become interesting over the course of next season. So what I just laid out there is a good problem to have because something is going to have to give here because you do have a log jam. You do have guys at your point, Norfolk, I didn’t even mention someone like Kyle sours. Or Joey Ortiz, who had a great season at triple A Norfolk and was stuck there, you know, because the Orioles were crowded in the infield. So if you’re Mike Elias, you have the challenge this offseason of striking the right balance between, you know, understanding you have some positions you want to augment. Clearly they’re looking for at least a top half of the rotation starting pitcher. I think at the very least you’re aiming for a number three, you know, that’s a go along with Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez, those three in any order, you’re you’re identifying that whether it comes via trade, or you’re dipping your toes into the free agent market, you clearly need to do some work with your bullpen. And a lot of that’s going to be dependent on is Tyler Well is going to be a starter moving forward, is DL Hall going to be a starter moving forward. If they’re not, then I think those two along with your Cano, there’s the makings of a good foundation for a bullpen but you’re still not gonna have Felix Batista. So I think you’re targeting a high leverage reliever, whether it’s via trade, or that’s something that you can get in free agency. And again, I think that’s something that’s not going to, you know, that’s not gonna be $100 million kind of contract when we’re talking about John Angelo and the realities of what he is or isn’t going to be willing to spend. So you have that, on the offensive side of things. As I mentioned, I think a big question is, and you you brought this up, mentioning Austin Hayes or Jordan Westbrook just as examples. But I think you have a case for the Orioles where they stand right now. You have a group of veteran guys, and I’m not talking about Gunnar Henderson and Ally Roger, and I’m talking about basically everyone behind them that played in the major leagues this year, you have a group of guys, many of them have been here for at least a few years. And you’re talking about guys that you’re familiar with guys that have offered you a high floor, and guys that, frankly, they were contributors towards winning 101 games this year. So you don’t want to be dismissive of what they contributed. However, how many of those guys are going to be here for the long haul, understanding that we’re talking about guys that are into year two year three of arbitration. In the case of an Anthony Santander, he’s a year away from free agency, and I’m just using that as an example. But you have guys like that. And then you have these guys that are a triple A Norfolk or guys that have gotten a cup of coffee like cursed at, like a Colton Couser Jordan Westbrook got more than that in the second half of the season. But you have guys that have less experienced, they’re not as proven, but they certainly on paper have a much higher floor. So if you’re Mike Elias, you’re gonna have to make some moves. I’d be shocked if this team isn’t making at least a couple notable two significant trades this offseason training guys,


Nestor Aparicio  08:37

you’ve heard of that you like that? You might have their jersey, like, you know, other than rutschman and Henderson, feel in Rodriguez, I guess the rest of radish Bradish. Fair enough.

Luke Jones  08:51

I think those other than those for now, let’s be clear. I’m not saying that those are the only four that I would say will not get trained that there are other guys that they have that I would think are very unlikely to be traded, let’s say Mullins, but yes. And the reason why is not because Cedric moments is coming off of a good season. But you look at their system right now, to me, we saw enough of Colton Couser I think he’s going to hit eventually in the major leagues, but he struggled with the bat. But the big thing was defensively he didn’t he’s not a centerfielder in the major leagues, their closest thing they have to a centerfielder in their system is the Enrique Bradfield kid that they just drafted who is at least another four year away, I think best case scenario, you’re talking about him and in 2025. So I’m with you on that unless unless you’re trading Cedric Mullins and you’re acquiring some other team centerfielder and a different deal or something like that. Yeah. But the point is, you got to strike the right balance here of wanting to continue your upward trend as far as making the playoffs and taking the next step. And it doesn’t mean you have to win 101 games again, because we’ve seen this postseason that. That is not the right Was it for playing in the ALCS? That’s obvious. So but you want to put yourself in position to make the playoffs take the next step. So how are you balancing? The fact that you have 16? Guys that are arbitration eligible on this roster second most in the majors behind the Yankees at 17? You know, I think a couple other teams of 16 as well, the Mets. So that takes

Nestor Aparicio  10:23

the payroll through the doing any a lot of guys.

Luke Jones  10:27

Well, and that’s part of this and that doesn’t, you know, payroll is going to be the big unknown here, right. I mean, that’s just the reality, whether you’re on the optimistic side of things, the realistic side of things, or the pessimistic side of things, it’s somewhere it’s

Nestor Aparicio  10:43

gonna be the pessimist because I mean, I’ve seen every decision from here forward is going to involve John Angeles. I mean, John Angelo’s had nothing to do with drafting Colton, Couser, or gunner, or any of that. John’s now an expert because John’s got the money. And I’ve seen John’s ego involved in all of this the last year. Boy, if there’s a way to screw it up, that’s going to be the way to screw it up. The thing that’s going to screw this up is going to be the Angelo’s family. I don’t I that’s not Mr. Speaking, that should be a fair warning to anybody that’s had their eyes open, that this is going to be at the at the pleasure of the Angelo’s family. And that’s when things have always gotten a little weird here. You know, I mean, to me, I love the success. I love the team. I I got my jacket still out because it’s a little winter kind of jacket. I have zero confidence that when Elias goes down the hallway and explains all this to Angelo’s that oh Molins is going to be making 12 million this year. Well, let’s get rid of him. Let you know mean like that, like, what are we talking about with the 16 arbitration? Like what kind of money are we when we put a dart on these players for a salary and 2024 and trying to figure out who’s expendable and who’s not part of it is how much they cost? Right. I mean, the cost was part of Manzini at the end, the cost is part of any of these guys who get to the point where they plan on the rookie deal anymore.

Luke Jones  12:14

Right, right. And long, there are projections at work here. And and I’ll disagree. I don’t think John Angeles is making calls on specific players, but budget wise across the board. That’s where you’re talking about with Mike Elias. And it’s like, okay, we were paying these, this group of 16 players who are you know, and some of these guys are further along in arbitration than others, right? I mean, Anthony Santander and I’m using MLB, trade rumors, their projection projections are usually pretty darn spot on, as it pertains to what guys will likely get an arbitration. Anthony Santander is the big one, he’s going to be $12.7 million in the final year of his presidency, that’s the projection for him. So you’re talking, you know, that’s a sizable race from where he was this past year. In the case of a Mullins or an Austin, Hays, they’re gonna be up just north of $6 million for each of those guys. So let’s be clear, that doesn’t mean they’re gonna clear the deck or anything crazy like that. But

Nestor Aparicio  13:13

there’s been $25 million, you spent $25,000,000.20 $5 million. This I mean, that’s how John Angeles is going to look at it and say, you’re taking my payroll from 40 to 70. And we haven’t even improved the team. We don’t even have a pitcher.

Luke Jones  13:32

Well, it’s not that big of an increase, because those guys weren’t making zero last year. The point is, yes, their payroll is going to go up, how much it’s going to go up? How much that’s going to impact what they spend on on potential free agents, which they have dip their toes into it, but it’s been now it’s been Kyle Gibson, which was $10 million. It’s been an Adam Fraser, who was $8 million, you know, it’s been, you know, it was Michael Gibbons, who was $5 million down the drain, because he was awful this year and couldn’t stay healthy. So you know, it’s not as though they haven’t spent it all. But it hasn’t been very much and they’re going to be forced to now spend more on the arbitration side. So

Nestor Aparicio  14:13

what’s something we haven’t talked about? It’s something that fans haven’t discussed in the least in six years. Other than we suck her we drafting? Oh my god, we’re good. Let’s win the World Series. It kind of happened really quick, right? I mean, there wasn’t a middle phase for this. The middle phases. Well pretend they won 87 games and got bounced in a wildcard game. Yeah. Instead of winning 101 pretend they had a good year. Not a good they had a great year. But this pretend it was a good year and you’re you’re building up into this, the salary comes very, very quickly. And for all of these guys, and we haven’t talked about Henderson and we haven’t talked about rutschman extending those guys. That’s where the real nut is the nut isn’t whether Molins is making six up from two or Santander is making 12 up from six It’s it’s really about, oh, Henderson Oh, we want to keep him around and 2728 29 We’re, we’re making real commitments. That’s $100 million. That’s just $100 million straight out of the gate, you’re gonna have to pay him 30 $40 million a year and put that down on your books down the line.

Luke Jones  15:19

Well, it’s not, no, you’re not paying them 30 or $40 million a year, if you extend them now you’re extending him, you’re gonna you’re gonna pay him more than he’s making now, which is nothing wrong. You’re going to there’s opportunity cost involved there. I mean, you’re certainly going to pay more now. But the beauty about an extension for someone like a gunner Henderson is year 789. And look what he’s signed a nine year deal right now. I have no idea. He’s like Scott Boras client, it is

Nestor Aparicio  15:45

a 300 million deal if you signed a nine year deal, right? It would that it would be 200 at least Right?

Luke Jones  15:51

Um, it probably 200 200 with some wouldn’t be 300. Because you’re talking about six years of, you know, five more years of club control for someone like him, that would be much more cost controlled. But it’s a lot. It’s a lot.

Nestor Aparicio  16:05

And that is in the way of it does it. John,

Luke Jones  16:11

if you’re going to do it, that did they don’t have to do that. Um, see, that’s, that’s proper, responsible, long term planning, but they don’t have to do that to build their 2024 roster. Gunnar Henderson is not going anywhere.

Nestor Aparicio  16:27

Like Elias would care about 2028 And John Angelo Sue, we should all hope that that family doesn’t own this team, five years from now. I mean, like, at the end of the day, I’ll write that all day long. I’ll screen that to the highest Hosannas, like you should hope that when the bill comes through for Henderson, rutschman, whoever they signed, Rodriguez, if he becomes that guy, that they’re not the ones paying that bill. So to some degree, this is about John Angelo’s getting a champagne shower again, 11 months from now, while Stan Charles watches on, instead of asking questions. I would say, for John, and for Mike, their short term thought isn’t about Henderson down the line, but the fans are, I mean, the fans were already asking about it back in May, June. So where and Luke is here, by the way, and you and I got into this fight in Arlington on the way home, it’s so different than football, isn’t it? Just talking about it because arbitration in the players and where the Orioles are with this vast riches of all of these young players and how best to manage the capital, the human capital of that to say, we can’t have three shortstops? You know, we can’t have six outfielders, you know, pitching is different, we can have all the pitching we want. But some of the position players they are gonna get in the way of each other. And I think that opens up a really an unlimited amount of things they could do. I mean, they, they really have a wide, wide variety of a lot of things. And a lot of directions they can go in. And this is the first time Mike Elias and John Angeles are going to sit down and talk about where it goes from here. Because it was not fun to talk about the last five years other than get a player, get a player, get a player hat, you know, keep Brandon’s head together, get out there and play these games so we can get our next Colton Couser. So we can get our next testing curse that well, they got all of that now. And they have to your point. Anybody in the industry would say they have an embarrassment of riches, they have an incredible treasure trove and wealth of things they could do now how they manage it, the one thing they don’t have a lot of his money, although they’ll cry about, they have more money than you think they have. Let’s put it the other way.

Luke Jones  18:44

I don’t disagree with you on that. And the one thing that they don’t have as much of in their system is on the pitching side. They don’t have as much I mean, it’s it’s really the the embarrassment of riches. Is there a position player depth in their in their system? So yeah, that’s where you look at where they stand. And let me just I’m going to run off the names for you right now. Because, you know, sometime there, we mentioned Hayes we mentioned Marlins, yes. Cos it’s going to be part of the conversation, especially when you have Karstadt come in. You have cows are in the system. You have guys, some other guys that are infielders right now, who could eventually become outfielders. So you are going to look at that. But I think where it starts become more interesting is, you know, Jorge Mateo $2.9 million is his projection. I’m guessing where he’d been materials, probably not going to be back. Certainly not going to be back in any kind of capacity where he’s going to be playing nearly as often Ramona Reyes is set to make $2 million. I’d be shocked if both those guys are back. I think it’s if I had to predict right now I’m guessing both guys are gone, but certainly would only think one is back if either or back. So you have that. I think some of these bullpen arms are interesting. We’ve forgotten about Dylan Tate he missed the entire season with four or arm and elbow issues. If the or if he if he underwent Tommy John surgery the Orioles never announced it. Yeah they announced when Felix Batista had Tommy John surgery so we’re still in tightness as he recovered. Can he pitch he was he was a pretty big part of their bullpen in 22. You know, especially late in the season, so where is he but he’s he’s owed $1.5 million projected in arbitration CNL Perez $1.3 million called Ervin 1.8 800,000. Per Keegan Aiken, Jacob Webb $1.2 million. Tyler Wells $2.3 million. Again, these are all projections from MLB trade rumors. So they’re not official, but it’s giving you an idea of players who are becoming more, more expensive. Now, some of the guys I just named, aren’t even necessarily guys that you’re going to want back next year. You know, like Keegan Aiken, I’m guessing there’s a decent chance he’s gonna be nontender. Maybe he’s outrighted to Norfolk, something like that. I don’t think there’s a place for him in this bullpen. Certainly not on the opening day roster. So, you know, you kind of go through the list. You know, Ryan McKenna, you know, he’s a, not a fourth outfielder, he’s probably you know, a fifth or a sixth outfielder, he’s gonna be projected to make 740k Which isn’t a lot, but what does he really give you relative to guys that you have coming? So the point is of those 16 guys that are arbitration eligible, there’s a solid percentage of those guys probably aren’t going to be back this right like on the Fred or

Nestor Aparicio  21:27

roleplayers right. But that’s like for Austin Hays or Molins and say we’re gonna trade them for a pitcher to make room for cows or make room for curse that right.

Luke Jones  21:36

Well, and that’s and that’s where this is challenging and it’s a good challenge again, these are good problems to have right? We’re not talking about scarcity of talent we’re talking about an abundance of talent and

Nestor Aparicio  21:47

we have no cost other than Chris Davis whatever he’s left on their their deferred money and right don’t have they don’t have dumb money they didn’t go dumb in two Givens. Right. That was last year’s money. So that’s, that’s like obj this year for the Ravens it’s dumb money, but it’s a one year dumb money thing. It’s not the same problem. Lamar would be or Ronnie Stanley or Marlon Humphrey would be Right exactly.

Luke Jones  22:09

It’s kind of the old the old school of thought is there’s no such thing as the bad one your contract even though yes, there are. You know, you mentioned Beckham making 15 million now the old

Nestor Aparicio  22:19

man. Yeah, that’s another

Luke Jones  22:24

Yeah, yeah. But but Right. And on the free agent side. They have five free agents right now. Kyle Gibson, Adam Frazier, Shintaro Fujinami, Aaron Hicks and Jack Flaherty. I’m guessing none of those guys are gonna be back. You know, I like Kyle Gibson, but you gotta aim higher than that, you know, in the same way that Kyle Gibson was the attempt to aim higher from Jordan Lyles the year before so

Nestor Aparicio  22:44

Gibson they couldn’t even give him the ball with the season on the line. I mean, literally they give him the ball.

Luke Jones  22:51

I mean, he is what he is. He’s a on a playoff club and we even saw this for the court by the Orioles standards by the end of the year on a playoff club. He’s at best a fourth but in most cases a fifth starter or a long man out of the bullpen and I think where the Orioles stand going into the offseason with their starting rotation Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez at the top Mike Elias said the other day John means they his elbows fine like they think it was you know he had a little bit of a tired arm in the way that guys sometimes late in spring training get a little bit of a tired arm and then they’re fine a week or two later that no concerns there. So John means and Dean Kramer who I think ideally Dean Kramer would be my fifth starter and ideally just because of the unknown of the health and and the fact that he hasn’t really pitched in nearly two full years other than a handful of starts yeah I’d like John means to maybe be my number four starter so I’m targeting whether it’s free agency or and I think this is a much bigger Avenue the more likely Avenue trade because you have all these pieces whether you’re talking about some veterans or whether you’re talking about trading a Colton Couser or trading a joey Ortiz who’s a top 100 prospect or trading some other combination of guys. What I’d really like to see them to do is acquire a at worst a number three legitimate number three starter acquire a legitimate top half of the rotation guy like Nathan ivaldi would have been like Jordan Montgomery would have been for them. You know, we saw this firsthand what the Rangers did. Rangers game watch what am I covered look how we pitched against the Astros yeah they won the opener the ALCS you know with a pitcher like that so I That’s Mike Elias priority number one for me is add someone that you project to be no worse than your number three starter if you do that. And then you have John means is your number four and your dean Kramer is your number five and then we can talk about someone like a Cade Povich you know whether he’s dealt or whether he You still in triple A to B to begin next year. You know we can talk about that. Because if you do that, Nesta, then that clears up Tyler wells to me to be in your bullpen moving forward and you’re going to need that because you don’t have Felix Batista. That, to me clears the deck for DL Hall to just become a late inning reliever which a lot of talent evaluators the last year or two kind of thought that might be the his best role anyway, maybe he becomes your Josh hater. You know, one of the bright spots, we didn’t talk about it too much because there weren’t many bright spots and there was so much disappointment do whole pitched his butt off in that division series. He pitched really well missed a lot of bats and did a nice job for them. So you know, you have those two with Cano add, add another bullpen piece, you know, whether it’s be a trade or via free agency, you know, go out there and certainly signed someone better than Michael Gibbons, which they attempt, you know, they made that attempt and it didn’t work out. happens, you’re gonna whip sometimes. But you know, if you do that on the pitching side, I think you have a pitching staff on paper. Now, health is always the great determining factor here. And spring training next year. Low key is going to be an anxious time because Grayson Rodriguez coming off of a career high in innings. Kyle, Brad is coming off a career high in headings, Dean Kramer coming off a career high in innings. That right there. A lot of times when pitchers have injury concerns for overuse and workload issues and things like that. A lot of times it doesn’t show up until the following spring. Now, I am not predicting that. Let’s be clear, this is not

Nestor Aparicio  26:32

the problems with that this year. Between means between Givens between tait I mean, there are other there’s somebody else I’m missing two, right. Somebody else was supposed to pitch a bunch this year and didn’t try I mean, they shut they shut wells down for for incentives. I mean, but they just get injured. If he mentioned 15 pitchers, five of them are going to be injured next year.

Luke Jones  26:55

Right. Right. Right. So but my point is just what I laid out, which was not my priorities there are acquiring a number three starter or better. And getting another high leverage bullpen arm, you know, to add to what I would plan wells and DL haul to be in your bullpen with Cano you know, and we can talk about whether you bring back CNL Perez, we can talk about Danny coulomb we can talk about Jacob Webb, you know, but but the point is, they they’ve got some work to do to their bullpen because Felix Batista is not coming through that bullpen door in 2024. That’s a spring of 25 reality for the Orioles at this point. So

Nestor Aparicio  27:34

you need to Fuji by the way.

Luke Jones  27:36

He’s gone. I mean, you can’t. He’s a free agent. I think if I had seen progress, like if he had started out shaky, really shaky, but then got better. But it was just this up and down. I mean, it was


Nestor Aparicio  27:52

on the postseason roster, and you can’t exactly it’s yet yeah, I mean, let’s face

Luke Jones  27:56

Nestor, Let’s call a spade a spade here. They put Brian Baker on their postseason roster, over Fujinami. Baker had pitched in the major leagues once since late July now, I think you could disagree with that call it personally I would rather see Cole Irvin than Brian Baker on the postseason roster, at least least he would have given you some length in game two, when you were down nine to two and, you know, had no real, pragmatic, practical chance of coming back. But the point is that they showed how little they told you exactly how they felt about him when he didn’t even make the postseason roster, because they had other guys at the back end of that bullpen. They didn’t trust that they took over him. So, you know, they’ve got some work to do. It’s not this incredible mountain of work to do, but they have some work to do on that front. And then on the flip side, you know, with the offense, outfield and infield, you know, who are you holding on to who are the veterans that you value? You know, sometimes there’s we’ve talked about him for two or three offseasons now in terms of whether he’d be dealt, you know, that was a different conversation two years ago, of course, and we have

Nestor Aparicio  29:02

mountcastle is a year he talks about him to write about Yeah, yeah, but But

Luke Jones  29:07

you know, and Sandtown sometimes there’s case you’re talking about a $12 million player this coming year, last year before free agency. Most teams even even like teams like the raise, you know, teams that hadn’t have been in that category. They’ve looked at to do guys like that. But if you’re the Orioles if you’re me looking at the Orioles, if there’s one area they need to get better with with their offense. They were middle of the pack and home runs last year. And if you look at this postseason, Philly’s near the top and home runs, Astros near the top and home runs Texas near the top and home runs now Arizona is the weird, Cinderella outlier, right but look at the rest of the teams in the Division Series who didn’t make it through Atlanta near the top and homeruns. The Dodgers near the top and homeruns the Orioles they could stand to add had some home run pop now. Some of that’s going to just come from improvement. I think Gunnar Henderson is going to hit over 30 home runs next year. But the left field cost them 20. home runs this year as a team on the right hand side. Yeah. And that well, and that’s why you look at most of what they’ve drafted has been left handed.

Nestor Aparicio  30:16

And by the way, save their pitchers. 22 Sure, exactly. There’s right right, but the point, but they’re not going to get a lot of homeruns because they play anyone games in a bar. Well,

Luke Jones  30:26

unless you’re unless you’re lefty, you know it left handed hitters hit homeruns at Camden Yards. It’s still very Homer friendly for left handed hitting. That’s why look at most of the Orioles, young dads, you know, in their system, they’re lefties for the most part, but that is something that I think they need to add. So that’s where I am very reluctant to look at dealing Anthony Santander even if he might have he not might he definitely has more value than trying to trade Austin Hays for example. You know, he’s does have one more year club control. But Austin Hayes has also been a guy who is excellent in the first half of the season, and he’s worn down the last two years, you know, in the second half, also like him in left field. You do. But I guess my point is I’m, as I’ve thought about it more if you would ask me this question in June, and I think I probably brought it up in passing a couple times. I probably said from a long term standpoint, they’re probably the they’d probably look to deal Santander. But can you subtract 30 home runs from this lineup right now as I just laid out? That that was where are they coming from deficiency for them? I mean, Gunnar. You tell me, Gunther is going to hit more. Great. I’ll sign off on that. If Westberg is there everyday third baseman or everyday second baseman depending on how they want to align their infield? Fine, I’ll sign up for him hitting more than he had, which he only had a couple but he did hit a lot of doubles this year. Jackson Holliday will be here at some point next year that will be more power than Adam Frazier. Let’s say well, they

Nestor Aparicio  31:51

look a curse that is a power hitter.

Luke Jones  31:53

Yeah, curse that. I’m glad you brought him up. Because I, he should have been the first name I mentioned, because he’s the guy if he’s playing right field, or if he’s your pseudo regular DH, he’s probably going to be a guy that you’re going to be projecting a lot of power from. So it’s not as though they don’t have young guys that can do that. But do you want to subtract Santander from that formula? When when you know that recent history tells you especially in October, when you’re going up against elite pitching, you want to have some long ball ability? Because that is how that’s the way that you quick, instantly change the game.

Nestor Aparicio  32:24

Castle into that if you get rid of mountcastle and Santander and the offseason. Yeah. And where where? Where is the power coming from? Unless you’re projecting gunner to hit 42 Next year, you know, right,

Luke Jones  32:36

right, exactly. So you know, and again, these are all good problems to have. They don’t have to trade these guys, but you’re trying to figure out, okay, who can we move on from that a little bit older, more expensive, might not have as high of a ceiling long term, to create an opportunity for this guy to come in? who is younger? Yeah, he’s cheaper. But more importantly, to the big picture of the baseball team and its quest to play October play deep in October is guys that have more upside long term? So you want to create that? I mean, in the same way that the Orioles? Yeah, they’re not gonna go into into the spring with any ideas of Jorge Mateo playing at all for them. I mean, probably not gonna be on the roster. Why? Because, well, Jackson holiday, even if it’s not opening days, at some point going to be there. It’s just gonna be a question of when and where is he going to play? Is he going to be there shortstop with Gunner playing third? Or is he going to be their second baseman with Gunner plan short? I mean, well, if

Nestor Aparicio  33:36

you take opening day, just opening day of this year, which wasn’t that long ago, let’s add the names into this right Couser Westberg curse that. Henderson was up and I’m missing somebody. That’s

Luke Jones  33:51

all your T’s was there for five minutes, and then they didn’t have luck. But like

Nestor Aparicio  33:55

so you’re saying, Okay, I love those guys. Their first round picks their core Orioles. They’re not platoon players anymore. We’re gonna play them. Well, then you’re pretty much saying that mountcastle Santander and Matteo or you know what, they’re gone. They’re Frasier, they’re gone. Oh, all those guys would be gone. That makes all the sense in the world. I mean, these guys, and but and now Castle was the guy we’re always trying to get rid of. I don’t know. I tend to like him more. Some of these guys are like furniture for me now that they’ve become piled divers. Hayes mountcastle were Mullins were sitting around when these guys are losing 120 games with them. I think they smell different. Santander, two, I think they rule five. I think they smell different. Once they’ve marinated a couple of years here, where you’d be like, What do you know don’t get rid of don’t get rid of mountcastle Don’t get rid of Austin A’s. Well, you want Couser to play you want Karstadt to play you want Westberg to play. There’s only nine spots in the lineup.

Luke Jones  35:00

Well, and this is where and for anyone listening, I am not saying that they’re going to trade all their veterans. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying you’ve got to figure out who you want to keep, and who you want to trade from that entire pool. Now, there’s, there’s something to be said because of how they handled Joey Ortiz this year, that he, despite the fact that he’s a top 100 prospect, and he might have great value in the eyes of other teams. The Orioles might not love him as a player. And that might be the reason why he was stuck at triple A. And look, he put up great numbers at triple A, and he still has presumably, good value to other teams, that might be a guy you look to trade. In the case of Colton Couser. Look, I think he’s eventually going to hit I don’t think you should judge anyone on their first 65 plate appearances in the major leagues, or whatever it was, but he struggled right. And he certainly did not show an ability that he could play centerfield. So to me, that changes, you know how you might use Cedric Mullins, at least for the next 12 months, or 16 months or whatever it might be two years. So you might you can catch, there might be someone that you say, You know what, we love this guy, we’ve developed them into this player who is ready to play in the Major Leagues. He is the former, you know, a former top five overall pick in the Major League draft. But you know what, he can be the centerpiece for us to go out and get that, that two years of club control top half of the rotation starting pitcher from another team, who is not at the same place in, you know, trying to win and contend and things of that nature.

Nestor Aparicio  36:34

He was the target back in July. I mean, I don’t know that changed anything last week, but maybe a year from next week, that if you I mean, you bring him in? Now you’re talking about you said you want to

Luke Jones  36:45

three? Worst I want to three,

Nestor Aparicio  36:49

that’s an argument for him and Rodriguez and Bradish to say, well, you know, now that sounds like something that deal with next October for Houston or Texas or whoever you see. Sure. And

Luke Jones  37:02

and CCE is just an example we’re using, right? I mean, everyone understands that but but that’s where you might look at it and say, Okay, I’m not going to trade a veteran, but Colton Couser might be the guy I trade in that spot. And he might be the guy along with a couple other lesser prospects, that goes out and gets me a legitimate number two or number three starter that I can put in the top three with with Rodriguez and Bradish. And then then I’ve got a rotation that looks more legitimate with the understanding that Bradish and Rodriguez, while it certainly didn’t go well for Grayson, but they have a postseason start under their belt now, they now know what it’s like to pitch with that crowd noise and to go up against the league competition and know that the lights are bright. I mean, that’s part of it. Now, when this team gets back to October, presumably, whether it’s next October, the year after that, whenever I mean, you never know there are no guarantees. These are all guys who have some experience now. Now it was failure. But you learn from failure, right? I mean, I made mention before this whole thing even started that, you know, the Braves, the Astros, the Dodgers, all these teams in recent years, none of them want on their first try. So that’s where the Orioles are trying to learn. You know, they’re they’re ticked off, little embarrassed. But now it’s a case of how do you take the next step and what we just laid out, which is, oh, my goodness, it’s a huge pool of players, whether you’re talking about that, and guys that are in the majors or prospects. And you know, for Mike Elias, he’s got to, he’s got to strike the right balance here. You don’t want to trade too many veterans to the point where you take a step back, because development is not linear. But at the same time, you don’t want to be in a position where you’re just hurting guys, a triple A and Kyle sours is a great example of this this Kyle sours have as much trade value now as he would have had 18 months ago. No, because, you know, he, he failed in some small sample sizes for the Orioles. And, you know, he’s kind of just Waller to triple A and he hasn’t been bad at triple A. But you know, he’s a guy that if you traded him a year ago, would have had a little more value than he has now. Most likely. So the point is, you know that they’ve got some challenging decisions to make. And I don’t say that in a doom and gloom way. It’s just the reality of what can you do to shape this roster, improve it and maximize the value of the players that you have? We’ve talked in these terms for years with Eric Acosta, that every player is an asset, right? Every player is a chip, every player has value attached to him. The Orioles are the same way with the 26 guys that played in the postseason and everyone else in their organization. So Mike Elias is challenged this offseason is trying to balance taking the next step and not wanting you know, you don’t want to trade veterans and take a step back with young guys, but at the same time understanding that you want to do what you can to take the steps forward. And that might involve trading a veteran or two. And it might involve trading a couple prospects here and there to go out and land a number three starting pitcher or number two starting pitcher to go out and land, a guy that you can pencil went into the eighth or ninth inning of your bullpen and feel great about him to maybe even go out and land another bat that we’re not even talking about now, because he recognizes what I did in saying, You know what, we might need a little more homerun power, and maybe we’re gonna trade Anthony Santander, but you know what, we’re gonna go get this guy from this team as part of another trade, who has 35 homerun potential to add to the number four number five spot in our lineup. So there are many ways to roster build. And in the case of Mike Elias, he’s been in this build and ad phase for the better part of five years now. But he’s now much more in the phase of how are we augmenting? How are we tweaking? How are we changing things with the idea of getting better in the long term? And it’s gonna be interesting to see how he does with this because this is, you know, we talked about this at the trade deadline a little bit. We talked about it a little bit last winter, but he is in a much different phase now as a general manager, and he’s learning just like everyone else, you know, coaches and players learn executives learn as well. And he’s at a point now where, okay, you had a 101 win ballclub that maybe played a little bit over its head, but they were regardless, they were darn good. You know, I mean, don’t take that away from them just because of what happened in the Division Series. But now the question is, how do you tweak how do you augment How do you manage 16 guys, who are arbitration eligible? How do you go out and approach free agency to go see if you can land, you know, maybe not a big fish, but let’s say a medium sized fish after landing small fish the last few years in free agency. So you know, that’s that’s part of it. And it’s gonna be interesting. It you know, a lot of this happens behind closed doors because the Orioles are so tight lipped on the baseball operation side. And baseball’s offseason, as you laid out is different inherently than the NFL where everything isn’t a big event. But it’s going to be fascinating. Oh, yeah, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention at least in passing that over the weekend, you know, the Orioles also dealt with what up and coming organizations deal with they lost Brad selek, their director of draft operations, he’s heading to the nationals. I don’t think it crushes them. But certainly a good person, you know, someone that had been one of the, you know, one of the rare holdovers from the do cat era who had actually stuck around and, you know, was integral with their drafts over the last four or five years. So, you know, there are other good people that I don’t think they’re going to miss a beat but that right there is also a reminder of part of this when you get good when you build something like the Oreos are building. Other teams take notice and the Nationals took notice and they they hire away Brad’s see like over the weekend. So yeah, that’s just something else to keep in the back of your mind as the Orioles move forward in this quest to get better and to play deeper in October next year.

Nestor Aparicio  43:04

He is Luke Jones. He’s Baltimore Luke you can find him in Owings Mills. He will not be talking baseball except when I make him talk baseball or tennis makes me talk baseball. He’s he’s giving it up. For for October here. Detroit Lions coming to town we’re taking the Maryland crabcake tour back out on the road, presented by our friends at the Maryland lottery get some ravens scratch off winners up at a Hollywood casino on Sunday, as well as on Friday over at the fountain and drug city. Luke joined us along with my longtime science companion at Dundalk, high and Sparrows Point George Shula and as well as my son, I stopped by to talk about old fashions and proper cocktails and milkshakes at the fountain that drug said you’ll hear that all week long. We are rallying our crabcake tour as well as our 25th anniversary here. I promise I’ll get back to the countdown from 23 down. It’s all brought to you by our friends at curio wellness and Farr and daughter. Important to be on the WNS D tech service brought to you by Coons, Baltimore for Dennis’s on respite this week. He’ll be back next week. But you can still get over security Boulevard make that happen anytime get on the tech service to get breaking news and if that trade happens with that Mike allies moment happens in November or December you’ll be the first to get it. In the meantime, we pine away and watch the Houston Astros take on the Texas Rangers and await the Detroit Lions I am Nestor. He is Luke we are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore, celebrating 25 years of madness and we never stop talking Baltimore positive

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