When will Orioles make some offseason moves and news to improve?

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Luke Jones and Nestor discuss what is next step for Orioles in an offseason of unlimited possibility – and no Camden Yards lease or Black Friday ticket deals for fans.


talk, point, trade, year, baseball, orioles, elias, bullpen, payroll, team, lease, offseason, players, john, santander, pitcher, ravens, pitching, work, give


Luke Jones, Nestor J. Aparicio

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:01

Welcome home we are wn St. Am 50 70,000 Baltimore and Baltimore positive we’re taking the Maryland crabcake tour out on the road. It’s all brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery we’ll have ravens scratch offs to give away while they last before I get the scented gingerbread and even better than that the peppermint because I like peppermint this time here. We’re gonna be Coco’s. I’m wearing the CoCo shirt next Wednesday in the afternoon for two of the five. Next Thursday will be gertrudes at the BMA with Dan Rodricks. And the folks at the BMA and talking some art talking some holidays, talking about just a great, great show that Dan is doing that I don’t think he needs any help selling tickets at this point. But it’s still a great concept. Baltimore, you have no idea and then next Friday, we’re going to be in Hollywood casino up in Perry Phil just over the bridge, great, great sports book up there. They’ve done some rebranding, they have great food, really enjoy my pen play card when I’m up there. And we’re going to be there on Friday afternoon. And Tom Kelso is going to be joining us in Maryland stadium authority to expound further upon the information in regard to the stadia the land who’s getting all the money who’s paying for it, US and Luke doesn’t care because he lives in Pennsylvania because he’s not a part of this process. Lucas here Luke Jones, of course, you know, we talk a lot football bro, and I’m getting some baseball vibe. It’s Thanksgiving week here got the Ravens going out to LA. And when I think of like offseason baseball when it was good around here in the 90s, and Angeles was trying to compete the the good old days of the Players Association, you know, holding all the cards. I remember and I don’t brag about this much because it’s nothing to be proud of. But Curt Schilling Need I say more. But Curt Schilling when he signed with the Red Sox and Theo Epstein feel what the Shante Kurtz house over Thanksgiving dinner and they sort of work things out for big contracts and this time here, I guess the Phillies sort of open things for your brother in law and all the dark side of your family that supports the National League in the in the the Phillies with the Aaron Nola contract, which was like, how much like Lamar money, you know, and what it’s, it’s not going to be like that here. The offseason. Here is me talking to the former Maryland stadium authority had about how the current baseball owner who beat his brother up in court last year is now trying to hoodwink West Moore and all of our, you know, all of our citizens into giving him full control, giving him all the land to do what God knows what he had that an idea. But this is the offseason we’re in where they don’t even have a lease here. I’m going to continue to talk about that. And I’m gonna let you to continue to talk about like, how they’re going to do better than Kyle Gibson, and what they’re going to do with Ryan mountcastle, and how they’re going to live, you know, after I don’t know name any of the guys that could be coming or going. And this is also a time for dreamers to dream about how they’re going to package, Colton Couser and something else to get something else and something else so and we don’t even know what who’s the shortstop, a new third baseman, it’s because we got a rookie of the year, and we got the next Rookie of the Year about to come up. So an embarrassment of riches of baseball to discuss really, I mean, there’s a lot to discuss here. I don’t think you and I’ve talked baseball since we spoke back from BWI that morning from Arlington saying

Luke Jones  03:20

what happened? Yeah, it’s been a minute but first and foremost, I do want to at least give a nod. Gunnar Henderson this past week named Rookie of the Year, Brandon Hyde Name Manager of the Year Adley rutschman. And Gunnar Henderson were top 10 And Al MVP voting Kyle Bradish. Fourth and Cy Young Award voting. So right there, you just talked about the embarrassment of riches, still so many things to like, even with questions about the lease and payroll and what’s next for a team that won 101 games, but it’s trying to get over the hump in October. So a lot of

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:55

pay payroll together. Thank you for doing that. That’s really, I mean, I’m not kissing. Anybody knows how I feel about you and being educated. But you cannot talk about this baseball franchise, and its dysfunction. And the money that’s been sucked out of it by by the family and where the money’s going to come from, to support whatever needs to be supported here. And I it’s a good time to talk about that. It really is. And the Ravens with the by next week and being really good. The rams are going to be good or bad whether they beat the Chargers or not. This is a good time to talk about the future because the future is now.

Luke Jones  04:32

Yeah, well, and they won 101 games. I mean, there’s so much to like about this current club. It really is. And I thought it was interesting at the end of last week and this was kind of something that was lost in the wash because the Ravens were getting ready to kick off against the Bengals on Thursday night, but we talked about it at the end of the year Nesta that the Ravens or the Orioles excuse me, had this long list of arbitration eligible players of a 16 got up to 17 because they acquired San Hilliard 17 players EHRs eligible eligible for arbitration, they tendered or agreed to deals with all of them on Thursday. So that alone now, do I think all 17 of those players are going to be with them on opening day? No, of course not. But that alone is going to represent a pretty sizable increase in payroll. And look, I’m not saying that. I don’t say that to pat them on the back because their payroll was so low. These last couple of years, we know. But as it pertains to the lease, the long term viability, financial planning, you know, even if you’re just Michael is in the front office kind of waiting for Okay, well, what’s, you know, What’s Mr. Angelo’s going to say the payroll is going to be what’s our budget going to be? These are all, it’s all planning, right? You all have to you have to think about that, especially with all these young players, right? So there’s a lot that goes into it. But I was surprised right off the bat, that Jorge Mateo got a contract Ryan McKenna got a contract, I mean, guys that I thought very much would have been nontender. candidates were are at least here for the time being. And again, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to be on the opening day roster. So much can happen between now and then. I think a lot will happen between now and then. Because as much as we talk about free agency, I think, given the state of the farm system, I mean, you just laid out shortstop and third days and you just said it in passing, but yeah, you have Gunnar Henderson is Rookie of the Year, Jordan Westbrook who was already here, and Jackson Holliday, who, whether he’s going to be here opening day or may 24. Chances are we’re going to see him in Baltimore in the first half of next season, barring something unforeseen so

Nestor J. Aparicio  06:40


and baseball fans know that we’ve seen the end of Adam Frazier, right? Yeah,

Luke Jones  06:45

I mean, I wouldn’t want Adam Frazier back at this point. I mean, I, I wasn’t fond of that signing last winter, let alone bringing him back for another year. Look, he had a good first half, whatever, it’s fine. But the point is, they I just named some names and Joey Ortiz was already blocked at triple A Norfolk this past year, go look at what his numbers were playing shortstop slash second base. Point is something is going to have to give because they can’t can’t keep just hoarding all these prospects, because at some point in time, you either have nowhere for them to go, or in the case of some guys, they might start to lose some value because some of them are gonna pan out. I mean, we talked about this with Kyle sours about a year ago, he would have had way more trade value for the Orioles a year and a half ago, but it happens, you know, it’s not the end of the world. He wasn’t like their best prospect or anything like that. But you’ve got all this, all of these assets in your system. And you have to figure out one where they’re gonna play and then two for the guys who we identify as someone we’re willing to part with in the right deal. Okay, and what are you going to target so, you know, people will talk about free agency and look, there’s names out there. Otani Blake Snell go down the list guys at the top of that free agent market. I mean, we know the Orioles aren’t going to be in on them. Should they be sure will they be no I mean, because you just have to live in reality of of what how they’re going to proceed. But there are a number of intriguing names you know, guys that are approaching free agency. You know, Corbin Burns has been thrown his name has been thrown out there. Class now has been mentioned just not for the Orioles specifically but in passing You know, there are guys Dylan sees who has an extra year of club control. You know, there are some some starting pitchers who are expected to be available it with the right trade offer that kind of look at the Orioles and say okay, you have prospects A B and C that we’re not really sure where they’re going to fit. Can we move those guys along with a couple other pieces to to lamb that what they’re an ace or a number two or number three starting pitcher,

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:52

you know, the last thing like this Bedard but the podar was bloomed you know it was the only traded him Yeah, right right. Last time that they’ve had to trade a Couser or Westbrook trade a real player I mean, there are some fans are gonna get their feelings hurt like on the trading deadline when they decide trade man Seanie or BJ sir off. Yeah, we go through the history of any of that. But I don’t want to say something blockbuster Re. But there should be a WNS D tax brought to you by Coons, Baltimore, Ford, at some point that they’ve done something to trade a guy we know and like, for a pitcher. We know and like better and we should expect that as fans Yeah.

Luke Jones  09:35

It’s like I said at some point in time, you’re just you don’t have room for all these guys. I so what are you going to do otherwise? I mean, are you just going to have these guys just play at triple A and I get it you want organizational depth? I’m not saying you give away prospects. But if you can land a Corbin burns if you can land a deal and see if you can land Shane Bieber I mean, I mentioned glass now I don’t know what the rays traded within the division probably Not, you know, but but those are the kinds of guys that are expected to be available. But what are you going to park with? And what complicates this for me is, I think a name that would come up right away, because typically when a team trades, a pitcher of that ilk, what do they usually want in return, they’re probably going to want a young pitcher in return. DL Hall, you look at him and say, Okay, maybe he’s not gonna fit in the rotation. But he might be there closer this coming year or could project to be there closer, because they’re not going to have Felix Batista. So you always have to weigh those different elements. But, you know, you have guys like Joey Ortiz, you have guys like Kobe mayo, you have different players that triple A or double A on the way to triple A that you just kind of look at it and say, Is there really going to be a spot for them in Baltimore at this point in time, and if there isn’t, then you want to maximize your value, you don’t want to hold on to guys too long. And then, you know, they have diminishing value, or Westberg

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:58

value is having been in the big leagues and looking like now a semi ordinary major league player, you know, above average, you know, far, I don’t know, but I don’t know if he would have been worth more before he got here. Just you know, I’m saying like I, I often wonder, but it’s all in the eye of the beholder. And it’s all based on the need to, it’s all need. Yeah. And

Luke Jones  11:18

let’s be clear, I’m, I’m, I don’t disagree with your sentiment, you know, Jordan Westberg. I liked Westberg. I still like Westberg. But yeah, he didn’t, he didn’t tear the cover off the ball when he came up. He was okay. Better than Adam Frazier down the stretch, I’ll continue to point that out, which is why I was a little frustrated that he didn’t play more. Instead of that being a platoon the way it worked out. But the point is you have take your pick, like Coke or Pepsi, right with with all these different prospects that they have at different at the same positions, you can kind of say, Who do you prefer? And then it’s like, okay, that’s fine, then what are you going to do with the other guy because you want to get something in return, having this great farm system is awesome. But it’s not just to supply players for your major league club, it’s also to eventually make trades that will augment other positions that you have some need, like starting pitching, for example, you know, so it’s gonna be really interesting to see how it plays out. You know, I already mentioned if 17 players that were arbitration eligible that they tendered or signed all of them at Thursday’s deadline, which was a little surprising. But again, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re all going to be here for the long haul. Because we know how that works with young controllable players. But, you know, it really is a case for the Orioles at this point that when, if we’re working under the assumption and it’s it’s not an unfair assumption, it’s reality until they suggest otherwise, that they’re not going to be trying to land a massive big fish in free agency, then, okay, if you’re going to try to acquire a top half of the rotation starter, how are you going to do it? Is it going to be you know, Eduardo Rodriguez, who’s a little bit lower on that list where Okay, could you sign him to a three year deal? Let’s say, you know, it’s not gonna be Aaron Nola money. And he’s not granola in terms of quality as a pitcher. So is it that if it’s not that even, then it is the trademark it then it is? What are you giving up for Corbin burns? What are you giving up for? Maybe Dylan sees, you know, who What are you giving up for Shane Bieber. So it’s going to be fascinating to see how it plays out. Because, you know, you look at where they stand right now, you know, position player wise, it’s tough to expect a move to be made there, you know, in terms of adding, right. Even if you can make an argument that they could still add a middle of the order bat that would make their lineup even better, but just based on what they have, as far as the depth in their organization. You know, it’s hard to predict that because they have guys that they’re trying to create opportunities for. So you look on the pitching side, and you say, Okay, I like the the overall makeup of the rotation. But whether it’s an ace, whether it’s a number two that kind of settles in between Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez, you know, however you want to order the guy’s someone in the top half of the rotation. That’s, that’s what they’re looking to land here. You know, they need to be doing better than Jordan Lyles and Kyle Gibson the last two offseason. So I think Mike Elias recognizes that it’s just a matter of gotta go out and do it. And what are you going to part with? If it is a trade? Who are you going to trade and you want to hope that you don’t trade the wrong guy, and then keep the guy in your system that maybe doesn’t end up being as good? So I mean, these are, these are the questions that they’re trying to figure out right now. And these are good problems. Let’s be clear, they have assets to go out and get a picture like that. But what are they going to give up? Are they going to ultimately pull the trigger on it? And you know, whoever it is, are they going to come in and do the job because we saw at the trade deadline? You know, Jack Flaherty didn’t work out so well. So I mean, it’s just and then we never really know you

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:58

know, wind With that veteran guy that sustains them that the Orioles could have had, right you know, in shopping and you gave a bunch of names last offseason you thought they should have done more in the offseason, you thought they should have done more at the trading deadline. I don’t know where that is. I mean, Scherzer Chase changed teams and wound up not being the guy that was the difference maker in the end, strangely enough,

Luke Jones  15:24

you never know. I mean, you never really know. And we talked about that. And I didn’t say that to give Mike Elias and the Orioles a total pass. I mean, for me, it was still you needed to add another bullpen arm. But the way those games played out was the bullpen the biggest factor of why they lost. I mean, you know that their starting pitching got knocked around really badly. So and they didn’t talk

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:46

about Mark Andrews getting knocked out with the Ravens this week, and what that’s going to mean, the ball Teesta thing, you know, I mean, certainly, and that’s a toll on them. In the end. It did. And it wasn’t even

Luke Jones  15:59

so much the three losses to the Rangers because again, those games got out of hand early, you know, so it’s not as though Felix Batista was gonna come in and pitch the third inning. But that is another big factor at work here. I mean, there’s gonna be there’s been so much oxygen for adding, starting pitching and rightfully so I get that. I don’t disagree with that sentiment, but you better fortify your bullpen. And look, if you tell me right now that you think DL Hawk could potentially be the closer Hey, he pitch really well at the end of last season against lefties and righties. So I’ll hear that. But you better add another high leverage guy to go with him because you know what? took him out of the seven things which he just did. Right, right. And we talked about this when we talked about this when they traded Jorge Lopez in 22, Batista moved into the closer’s role and did a phenomenal job. But the problem for that team down the stretch, you know, they still played well. But the seventh and eighth inning became a little bit more of a struggle for them. So, you know, I mean, you just kind of look at where they are with their bullpen. Who are you really going into trust and on the back end and the bullpen held up admirably without Batista down the stretch? But let’s face it, it was dicey. No, it was quite dicey on many occasions, especially when they had that September road trip that and no off days for what, two and a half weeks, or whatever it was. So they’ve got to figure that out. And that’s part of the equation here too. Do you trade? Do you trade one of your prospects or a package of some of your prospects? And I’m not saying your top guys. But do you look to move some of your minor league minor leaguers to add another high leverage reliever, you know, can you count on doing it the way they’ve done it in the last couple of years, which by the way, has worked out really nicely. I mean, they’ve they’ve, you know, look at what Danny coulomb did for them last year. I mean, they, they acquired him right before the season started. And he was one of their best relievers. But I don’t know if that’s all you, you can count on that strategy alone, to make this bullpen good enough, because again, Batista is not walking through the door until spring of 25. So you’ve got to figure that out. And that’s not to say that you’re going to find someone that’s going to be a clonal, Batista. I mean, that’s not realistic, but you certainly need to give yourself some better arms in the back end of that bullpen. And, you know, we’ll see how it plays out again, DL Hall. Looks like he could be that but I just made mention, if you’re going to try to land someone like Corbin burns, or Shane Bieber or Dylan Cece, guess what? Nestor some of those teams, they might want DL Hall. So that’s where then you get into all right, what are you going to give up? And then what’s that? What is that going to mean in terms of consequences for your 2024 rosters? So yeah, it’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  18:44

really complicated. I mean, it’s a it is a puzzle. And we talk so much here over 25 years in regard to the football team, and the clock of well they’ll find a Kyle van Noy, they’ll find this they’ll find the that good baseball teams during the course of the year find, you know, players from Kansas City that nobody wants to come in and become your cleanup hitter. Like things happen, right? I mean, in on any of these teams, but baseball side. We have never really been in this because I’ve been on the air 32 years. I mean, they weren’t dealing Alex that show and Jeffrey Hammonds, they weren’t dealing. Lord knows the Mark Smith. I mean, I’m just going through the Adam loions I’m going through all these first round draft picks and these guys and names. These were always the guy whether it was Ken Gerhart Craig Worthington. Pick anybody you want that was a prospect, be like them dealing Cedric Mullins two years ago, they just didn’t do it. When you when you got a guy over performing the salary in the modern era. That’s that’s the honeypot when you have Jonathan scope working on the cheap or even Manny Machado working on the cheap before you get rid of him, but then you try to replenish it At the Machado trade, you and I talked about had they really done this had Buchan to Cat not want to squeeze every squat out of Matt Wieters in an effort to try to win right wringing it out and everything he did with the bullpen and the way they manage the bullpen. Buck was on the front end of neat innings. Let’s hide him out at the Hampton Inn over there in Norfolk. We’ll get him up here. Got him out of town and they will find him out there wasn’t a bad book but you know, bucks wife said nice things about me. So I’m trying to be better to book. Baseball is different man, this offseason is different than any other offseason? Because they haven’t. They have a lease problem. I’ll continue to say that. And that affects every part of what he’s going to say up he’s a liar about budgeting and investment and whether I can afford pick the player Henderson rutschman pick whoever Aaron Nola the next picture, whatever it is money, money, money, money, money, money, I don’t have any poor little pitiful me, I’m little broke, John, all of that’s coming. And then the moving of the franchises and the lease and all the nonsense. But what are they going to pull off? You know, and what’s the environment? Financially to your point, just assume they don’t want to spend any money, they’re not going to spend any money, they’re going to run the franchise that way, they’re not going to make the splash thing and give rutschman a bunch of money or give Henderson a bunch of money. So if they’re not going to give them money, why are they going to give it to some pitcher? Why are they going to give some pitcher $75 million for three years. I don’t, I don’t know. But they if they want to when they need to do what other teams are doing. Right. And this is an inflection point for the franchise in a lot of ways in a lot of ways for what they are. And they’ve always been effed up, always. And it always when the money starts, and you gotta get out and see dad, or you gotta get in and see John, good decisions are not made. And that is me sitting here. 32 years watching this. I’m all about alias. I’d like to know how happy Elias is. If Elias is happy, where’s the press conference for five year extension for him? Let me know he’s here to 28. Because I need to know that. And he needs to know that. And they need to know what a budget is. And they need to figure this out. And they need to figure out their television network. And then to figure out their debts to the Lerner family, they need to figure out their lease, they can’t do any of that I have people who told me they can’t pick wallpaper over 30 years. So when it comes down to Elias being on the bad phone with with with Fredo and saying, I’ve got a deal and Cece, well, you know, is that 90210? Where’s that? You know, I mean, I’m not convinced John knows anything about baseball. So I don’t know what the investment would be in the money would be. But at some point, John boy is going to be the one who has all the purse strings. And I’ve never seen him spend money on anything other than at the Four Seasons at the at the cocktail bar. They’re like I don’t I don’t know what John spending issues are. I know the family looks desperate in that it’s getting rid of all this property. John has spoke out of desperation and come see my books, Dan Connolly, you know nothing. Who by the way, I’ve invited for crabcake and hope he comes out and shows me how much he knows. Because I know he knows a lot. But all this is going on. And I’ll talk about all that while you in Canton shack and I’ll talk about what the value of Jordan Westberg is in a trade and how they’re going to want a pitcher and how Rodriguez is off the market. They can’t have him they can’t have Richmond but yeah, you know, you want Marlins you want to pay him take him off, throw him in. He placed ever feel free you have to pay him because they don’t want to pay guys. So I mean, I don’t think the mountcastle is Mullins. I don’t think anybody’s really off the table. If they got the right picture, and Elias is mine, but Elias is he came from St. Louis in Houston where they have owners who were logical and they had normal meetings and they had normal runs a business they had leases the hip they had all of that I don’t I know the place is a dysfunction of F opportune I know that I know people that work there. I know it’s I know that people the state of authority trying to get John L. So making decisions and Big Boy grown up decisions. It’s this is not a normal place. And until I see it function and act normally I’m never going to go to our public, the listeners out there and say this is normal. Because what you and I sit here and talk about make sense and the fans talk about things that makes sense. I don’t I don’t know really what John’s thoughts are about owning the franchise, how little he wants on the books if mom’s really trying to backdoor it. What they’re trying to do with this lease to gift it to the next owner so that he can get a couple of 100 million more on the way out. I mean, it is shrouded in history. But I assure you this. It’s also shrouded in competency. Historically, historically, cheapness, pettiness and competency. It’s it. And that’s Kevin Brown don’t say it’s not current, it’s very current you and me trying to get into the clubhouse in Arlington. That’s how current it is. That’s how petty they are. So I don’t know how happy Elias and my Dell and all that is, I know it looks like Kumbaya, and 101 wins. But this is the inflection point of Michael is saying, I need a checkbook and I need you to leave the room. And let me do my job. Let me do what I need to do. But the checkbook, man, I’m worried about the checkbook, bro.

Luke Jones  25:42

Well, you said it. I mean, you took the words right out of my mouth. It’s an inflection point. And by the way, that’s a good thing. Right? This is when they started over when they truly started over back in in the fall 2018. But because the thing had been burned to the ground anyway, because the 18 team was so god awful. But this was the the goal was to get to this point in time, right? And they are and you look at it, they had a 31 game improvement gone from 21 when they lost 110 games 31 game improvement in 2022. And then another 18 game improvement this past year, you’re not going to improve by that much once again. I mean, you’re not going to go from 100.

Nestor J. Aparicio  26:21

Can I say something on this with all these awards and stuff? Why isn’t Elias going down the hallway and asking for the sun, the moon, the stars are saying I’ll go run the Yankees, like how do we not know that’s not going on? Like, to me that has to be going on behind closed doors, because it goes on in every NFL organization in every game and everywhere else. This guy is a freaking genius, right? Like, seriously, right? Like he is the best thing we’ve ever seen around here. Maybe we don’t talk about it enough. Maybe we didn’t do a segment 45 minutes. And you know, and laughing him last week after he won. But whatever they’re paying him it’s not enough. And whatever he asked for John better give it to him. I mean, seriously. I

Luke Jones  27:04

agree. Although it’s an inflection point for him to because the job is different now for him than it was three years ago, four years ago when it was all just he won’t anymore. Right. Right. Exactly. And that’s and that’s not to say they won’t trap they won’t continue to draft well, but it is a different animal now. And now it’s a case of you’re no longer rebuilding, you just won 101 games, you let the American League you were the number one seed all of that. And we know how it played out in October. But the point is now you have a playoff caliber, you have potentially a championship caliber roster. Grow, right? And that’s and to the point that you just made talking about, you know, what payroll and all those questions for me? Where my question lies is okay, you strike a deal for Dylan C’s and I’m just throwing his name out there. And look, he didn’t have a great second half and I just, for example, Humor me on this. You acquire Dylan C’s, you’re okay to pay him what you’re going to pay him but then John, Angela says, well, we can’t go that high. So then you acquire Dylan C’s but then if you have to trade Anthony Santander and you say okay, well, that’s going to clear a spot for Heston curse dad, but Anthony Santander hit 60 home runs for them the last two years. I’m not

Nestor J. Aparicio  28:24

all over again. Right. Um, and

Luke Jones  28:26

he’s not Nelson Cruz because Nelson Cruz I mean, my goodness that he did it for almost a decade after he left the Orioles you know, it was a compliment.

Nestor J. Aparicio  28:37

is somebody’s gonna have to hit those homeruns Oh, no doubt,

Luke Jones  28:40

no doubt but but that’s and when I look at their roster right now and look, I’ll by Gunnar Henderson is going to hit another another level this coming year or the next couple years, I’ll buy that because I think he’s so supremely talented, oh, by all the hype, projects and holiday. But if there’s one thing you could talk about with this 2023 Orioles lineup, it was they didn’t have a ton of homerun pop, you know, you look at where they ranked compared to the rangers and the Astros and some of the other top teams in the AFL. They were a little lacking in that department, which I’m not saying that’s the end of the world. But then if you’re going to turn around and trade Anthony some time there who has been one of your most consistent homerun bats over the last few years. You know, so and if you’re only doing that for payroll purposes, then that concerns me that concerns me then in terms of your ability, or lack thereof to max this thing out over the next few years, you know, even before we start getting into, you know, some of their best players getting closer and closer to free agency. So you know that that’s just, you know, that’s part of it. And again, there are so many different ways that they can go with their roster and there’s so much to really, really like even acknowledging dysfunction and questions about ownership, the business side, all those different things. There’s still so much to like about this team. But the last thing I want to see is you pull off a trade for a starting pitcher that said, you know whether he’s an ace or number two, number three, somewhere, you know, someone to match up with Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez that you have a top three that you feel really good about. And that’s what they’ve been talking about John means and some of their other guys. But to do that, then you have to go trade Anthony Santander. You know, that’s when I look at this thing and say, you know, what is the max payroll going to be? You know, how limited is Michael is going to be to enhance and augment what they already have, which is really, really good. Let’s be clear about that. We’re not talking about the Orioles needing major surgery this offseason, in terms of roster building. You know, we’re talking about a move here, a move there. And in terms of starting pitching,

Nestor J. Aparicio  30:43

who’s not What do you mean, in your mind? I mean, we talked so much about mountcastle. We talked so much about Santander. I mean, these were guys we were trying to give away at various points and saying rebuild trade this that. You told my Frasier being gone. He maybe never should have been. But but they getting there, not the pitching. I’m talking about the position players. Where are you on where they are with Austin Hayes as an example? Yeah, I

Luke Jones  31:11

mean, it’s tough because you have some I mean, in the case of Santander, and the reason why I’ve mentioned him is because you look at what he made this past year, which was $7.4 million arbitration, and this is his last year before hitting free agency. And, you know, I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t be looking to extend Santander, but I also don’t want to just give them away as a salary dump, you know, so, but he’s projected to make, you know, MLB, trade rumors had him at $12.7 million. So, look, we’ve talked about Santander as a trade, potential trade for two or three off seasons. Now that’s nothing new. So we’ll see what happens with that, you know, Austin Hayes, as much as you love the Gold Glove caliber defense he played in left field, which is a very challenging left field at Camden Yards with all the territory to cover. We’ve also seen him struggle in the second half the last couple years and you do have Colton cows or you do have Heston couristan. So you know, who, you know. And it might be that you trade cows, or you might trade curse dad, but you’ve got to kind of figure that out. Right? Hey, so

Nestor J. Aparicio  32:13

small. My point, you know that my point is, that make money that you feel like, you know, we could live without and to your point, living without Santander. That’s why I brought up Nelson Cruz, I will just yeah, the next guy will just do that. No, he won’t, you know, not that. Not that. But

Luke Jones  32:29

he might. He might, but you don’t know. Right? It’s the unknown. And let’s be clear Santander until the last couple years was a guy who had all kinds of injury concerns. And, you know, it wasn’t until the last couple years that he actually started walking some I mean, this going into 22, I think he had a career to 90 on base percentage. So it’s a credit to the coaching staff, the player development and him for the work that they put in to make him the player he is but you

Nestor J. Aparicio  32:54

think the stop sign?

Luke Jones  32:55

You know, it’s tough, I don’t want to give them away. Because, again, he’s been so good, but at the same time, is he a guy that I’m of all the players, we could be talking about? What contract extensions? Is he the guy that I’m really looking to, to say, Oh, you’re

Nestor J. Aparicio  33:09

gonna have a $64 million payroll next year, because that’s what you think you’re gonna have. And he’s gonna be 14 million of it, as opposed to seven and a half on a $40 million bag. I have no, you know, like, again, they’re not transparent about any of this, which is makes them such a poor organization, because they could say, hey, we made more money. I mean, if they really were honest with Dan Connolly, and you and me and we’re fighting with us about our Clubhouse badges through time zones away, like they would say, well, we’re gonna up payroll to 90 million this year. Because on this we have sky boxes and CFG bank bought in and royal farms bought in, we have scraped why spot. We have great sponsors in our local in our community and our bed net. They don’t do anything. They’ve been there dormant. And all they’re really doing is fighting behind the scenes to embarrass Westmore further, like literally, that’s the most important thing they can do is that and I think Elias understands that behind all of this is that and the energy for all that should be okay, John, boy, we just gave you a billion dollars. And we gave Steve Ashati a billion dollars, right? Literally a billion dollars for each of you. And you’re telling me you can’t afford an outfielder? What? Right, you know, so the expectations will be up when we know how much money they’re actually getting, you know? Sure,

Luke Jones  34:27

sure. No question about it. So, you know, these are this is all part of for Elias. Not talking about John Angeles but for Elias in the front office. You know, these are all that’s all part of it. And we don’t know right? I mean, again, it’s great to trade for a picture if you can do it. If you can land Dylan sees if you if you can land Corbin burns and not have to give up half your farm system is awesome. But it does take some of the steam out of it if it means you got to trim payroll and dump Santander because you can’t have a payroll above and I’m just throwing out On a random number $75 million, and I don’t, you know, that’s just a number out of thin air. But, you know, you look at what are they

Nestor J. Aparicio  35:07

guys, John, number b out of thin air because they have more money than that they really do.

Luke Jones  35:14

Of course. And that’s the game that owners play in Major League Baseball right? It’s up for sale. Doesn’t that really sounds very vague.

Nestor J. Aparicio  35:22

That was the old Andy MacPhail line that Mike Flanagan that I’m so offended by. I’m so offended about all of that, that I like to bring it up that Andy MacPhail once said that Mike Flanagan Wi Fi and mistake when the lead hamburger. Yeah, yeah, so this is the offseason of that where where and also the Padres implosion is something that John’s gonna brag go too far off the rails, the massing data, you know, the Nationals out of it, you know, can’t can’t go there gotta you know, that’s at the end, we’ll wind up saying that March, when you when are watching the team get together and share. So to say they did some things, but they could have done more, because they always could, right. And they’re competing with the Yankees and the Red Sox and the Dodgers and then, you know, on and on and on. That’s the hardest part of all of this is it’s so unfair. It’s a different conversation than we ever have with football with a salary cap, or it’s as different as saying, How does Maryland compete with Alabama or Ohio State or, you know, it’s, it’s literally that way now that they can pay the players on the up and up. But they’re always a popper nation here. You know, it’s a poverty franchise. That’s Dennis’s line poverty franchise, he uses that all the time. They they really are poverty franchise, he likes to talk more poor. Now they’re poor mouthing themselves into the governmental deal. But as it relates to baseball, they get measured against these other 30 teams and what their abilities are to do they you know, they’ve talked themselves into being a Third World franchise in regard to finances.

Luke Jones  36:54

Yeah, yeah. And that’s, that’s what’s so frustrating because the baseball side of it, the assets that they have, in their farm system, the players that they have on their major league roster right now, I mean, Nestor all those teams are competing with the Orioles to, they won 101 games last year, you know, that wasn’t, it wasn’t out of that sheer luck, okay, maybe they weren’t a true 101 Win team, but they were at least a 95 Win Win team in terms of their talent level, if you look at run differential and all those different things. So it’s, it’s legitimate, it’s very legitimate, and they’ve got a heck of a chance to win a World Series over these next few years, even if they don’t make an abundance of outside editions. But you’ve got to do something, you’ve got to augment, you’ve got to pick, pick and choose the right players to trade away and bring in the right players that are gonna help fortify your rotation or your bullpen or give you another bat in the lineup, whatever it might be. I mean, they have a phenomenal opportunity here. But everything that you mentioned from the lease on down, yeah, it’s part of it. And you can’t deny that and it is something that where they are right now, understanding that you’ve made this extraordinary improvement over the last two years. And now the question is, what’s next? What are you doing to help yourself get over the hump and, and look, some of that’s going to be internal improvement. It might be, they might go out and try to acquire, like, let’s say they sign Eduardo Rodriguez, to your point with the max Scherzer thing. There’s no guarantee he’s gonna be healthy. And it might be that they’re back in October. And guess what, Grayson Rodriguez, and Kyle Bradish break through this time, because they’ll have that experience under their belt of what happened last October. So you never really know how that’s going to play out. They have all these young players, but you still want to maximize your odds, right, you still want to improve. You want to give yourself more outs, you want to improve your depth, you want to have more pitching, you want to have better arms in the back of the bullpen, knowing you’re not going to have Batista this year. And they can do that. But you’ve got to have the proper resources and you got to spend use those resources wisely. Whether you’re talking about trade, whether you’re talking about signing players, you know, you still need to make good signings, right it signing players is one thing, you want to make smart signings. And, you know, that’s Mike Elias at this point in time in this at this stage of the rebuild now being over, you know, that’s where the jury’s still out on him in terms of being able to make those kinds of moves. You know, we saw at the trade deadline, the two deals he made, didn’t work out so well. You know, they and he own that, you know, he flat out said it didn’t work out and that’s on me, so and that’s fine. No one’s gonna bat 1000 Eric d’acosta Doesn’t bat 1000 Ozzie Newsome didn’t bat 1000. But they are at a point now where you do want to augment you do want to be able to make some moves, trade away. Some, you know a subset of your prospects that maybe aren’t your best prospects that are still very valuable prospects to bring in a pitcher or whatever else you identify as a need. So There’s lots of opportunities. And there are a lot of a lot of ways to do this. And in doing that, Nestor, it doesn’t mean their payroll has to go up to $150 million in one offseason. It wouldn’t. But you know, I’m not, I’m not even saying that that’s what’s required. But you do have it at some point in time, you need to give Elias the flexibility financially, for him to be able to be bold, and make a land a bigger fish, so to speak, doesn’t mean it has to be a $250 million contract. But you look at what they gave Jordan Lyles, what they gave Kyle Gibson this past year, it’s got, you know, he’s got to be able to aim higher than that. And, you know, if they can’t do that, if he doesn’t, I don’t want to say can’t, that’s the wrong word. If he’s not permitted to do that, then shame on them. Because boy, they’re really wasting something that really looks like it has a heck of a chance to be special here over the next five, six years. But you can’t just rely on your prospects, you can’t just rely on, you know, your minor league system and that, you know, at some point in time, you are gonna have to bring in some outside additions who can really help you in whatever way it is, but specifically looking at it, another top half of the rotation guy, and like I said, I want to see some tweaking of that bullpen. I think you need at least need to add at least one legitimate high leverage arm at the back of that bullpen and probably to you know, Luke, I

Nestor J. Aparicio  41:23

wrote a dear John Liu letter five years ago asking if they were Rockies or bull winkels in regard to ownership, referring the rocky works, who was the son of the Blackhawks owner, who was such a creep, and things went better and they had some creepy stuff that happened, you can Google all that. But they did win Stanley Cups, they became instantly competitive, they would be loved in the city above the bears above the bulls above the White Sox not above the Cubs because the Cubs have the Cubs but they fix things. And I held out hope that John Angelo’s and Lou angelos, were better humans than their father, I there has been zero evidence of that zero evidence of that. I learned that firsthand in Arlington, so much so that I have to laugh. 17 years after I did the walk out now going into 18 years, having gone the walkout. So I would just say this, this is the time where we all wish it weren’t dysfunctional. But I have every piece of evidence in regard to have they’ve negotiated the deal with the state. Kevin Brown, my own personal dealings, how things have been handled with business with them, that it’s not better, and I wish it were better. And this is a time for it to at least look better, maybe feel better. But I think the expectation levels of the fans who are vested the people that are all in that we’re on this journey this year. I think the fan base is so battered that and they expected the bar is so low for what they could or should or might do, as opposed to what normal would do that if they had a real owner who had pockets who wasn’t a creeper a jerk. And they, they they ran the organization, normally, they would make normal offseason decisions. And we would see Henderson have a real deal. That’s the state of baseball at this point would be to get that done. But there’s so much in flux with the old man’s health, with your television network with a lease. And this is coming. There’s no bad time to win 100 games, there’s no bad time to have a cupboard full of young stars, there’s no bad time to have the Manager of the Year and Executive of the Year and the Rookie of the Year and all that. But and I’m not a Debbie Downer about any of this. I’m a I’m an absolute realist and a pragmatist and a historian. And, and, and I know a lot about all of this. They could do so much more, they have so much wealth. They haven’t they’re not going to this would be the worst time in the world for them to look rich. You know, I mean, they’re they’re they’re they’re threatening a divorce with the state of Maryland and threatening the maitre d Commissioner not to talk to the governor and the governor can’t talk to the commissioner. And the kids sort of running the team in some sort of weird receivership with the old man check down and when he dies, who knows who’s running the team, like this is a awkward time for them to be this loaded. And with this many decisions to be made and what the this really, really small window they’re going to have, until these great players get really expensive or cranky, or like Adam Jones scratched their head said what the hell is going on here? Because it doesn’t, it took buckshot Walter’s wife, you know, a few years after she left to figure out what the hell was going on here. And she’s retweeting me this summer. Kevin Brown knows what’s going on. And I spent time up there amongst the bread highlanders in the bedroom all of the tortured masses who work under the thumb of John Angelos and tell him he’s taller. And he really did hit that triple. And they saw it, they have video of it HD in it, and it was off, it was off Palmer. So I just, I want to temper my own soul and your soul as the safe you come back to me on February 15. And they broken for for spring training, and they’ve acted as a normal organization. And they’ve done all check off of all things, including letting everybody in on we’re alized and hide our, from a snug standpoint, in regard to the contract. And their star players, quite frankly, that there’s a vision, the vision that he threatened Dan Connolly about you know, the opening of the books and all of that. And right now, I’m gonna go up against this again, too, they don’t have a lease, they can’t even put their tickets on sale. They don’t have a building the plan or an agreement to play in it. It’s

Luke Jones  45:59

I mean, I’m gonna throw one name out there that if if this were all normal, and everything that you just laid out wasn’t an issue or wasn’t at least a concern or at least a perceived concern. You’d go land Blake Snell and free agency left handed starter who was arguably the best pitcher in baseball over the final like four months of 2023 31 years old, left handed, pitching at Camden Yards now not to Camden Yards at all, but the big left field. I mean, you’d go sign Blake’s now and guess what, even signing him to whatever the market will be for him. And, you know, we’ll revisit that whenever he signs with, you know, whichever team is going to land him. Even making that signing their payroll would still be way low compared to most baseball. So, absolutely.

Nestor J. Aparicio  46:46

Natural weekend conversation with how effed up then seriously, because they’re not willing to just say no, but teams are willing it but I’m just saying,

Luke Jones  46:53

right. But that’s my that’s my whole point. You know, I’m alright. And it goes back to what you said, the lowering the, you know, the lowering of expectations that, you know, we didn’t even talk about Blake’s. Now we’re not even talking. I mean, of course, we’re not talking about Otani and can’t pitch this coming year anyway. But, you know, Blake Snell, who was the healthy, the best, healthy pitcher on the market, right, you know, this offseason? And we’re not even talking about that when he would be perfect for the Orioles. I mean, he really would be just baseball, right? If you were serious about winning financial side of baseball right now. And again, signing him would not take you up to a $200 million payroll far from it, because that’s where they are either. So they are so cost effective right now. And so cost control, you know, club control, cost control, with all these great young players that they haven’t. By the way, that’s a good thing. That’s not a bad thing. That’s a great thing. But you’d like to take advantage of that. And that’s when you would be able to go out and sign up Blake Snell, you know, when you’re talking about, like, where the Astros were six years ago, you know, and they had all these great young players. And then yeah, they went out and got Justin Verlander at the deadline, and they want it all down, you know. So you want to see the Orioles be able to make that move. And with all of those things you laid out there, and all of the history and ownership and lease and all that,

Nestor J. Aparicio  48:16

and no sign that it’s any better right now, you know what I mean? Like, that was where I was with the rocky Bolga thing to say, Man, once we get to this point, show me your competence. They have not I know coming up and it’s in their competence. Baseball

Luke Jones  48:28

operations is very competent, but the business side and that still is going to clash at some point time. And I can still recall Nestor, I was talking to a nother member of the media, this was like, This was probably a month before the pandemic started, you know, and the world shut down. And the conversation we had was no thing as good as things are, you know, a trending from a farm system standpoint, development, all those different things, the young players that they have, the sentiment was, they’re going to get to a point where they’re going to be ready, you know, that and look, they they won 101 games this year, they’re more than ready, they’re, you know, they’re past that point. But they’re going to get to a point where it’s going to be time to augment it’s going to be time to go spend whether you’re talking about free agents, whether it’s trades, whether it’s resigning your own, and the fear at that point was the business side is going to ruin that or at least interfere with that would probably be the best way to say it. But and here we are, and until we see otherwise, it’s tough not to be skeptical in terms of ownership being willing to do what it takes to really fortify and augment this thing and not just put me in a position where hey, they were they were awesome last year, you know, and they got these young players but but to be able to say we’ve got all these young players and we just added a legitimate number one or number two starter to go with Brad and she was fourth and Cy Young and to go with Grayson Rodriguez, who was looked like a stud the second half of last year. You get some like that had his fan base would be really jacked up. Is that going to happen? Well, I’ll believe it when I see it. And to your point, the lease beginning with that looming over everything inevitably is going to interfere with the baseball side at some point in time here unless we see a resolution that looks satisfactory, but again until that happens hard to hold your breath on it.

Nestor J. Aparicio  50:25

Next time you and I talk baseball, I’m going to show you my biggest offseason acquisition which was a near mint condition 1962 Luis Aparicio with the the panel behind it. I you know, we signed all these cards, and I took them down to the Babe Ruth Museum and like, I’ve been on the lookout for the ones that are a little more beaten up. So like, I gotta improve my 57 a little bit. My 56 is in pretty good shape. And when I saw that the mint condition was sold for $314 in the overnight from 56. I’m like, not so much on that. But But I am back in acquisition mode for Houston Oilers and Luis Aparicio stuff now that I’ve almost completed my Pacific a belt buckle collection. So I’m looking for baseball acquisitions. I acquire Geddy Lee’s book on Friday, like there’s some baseball in there. So, you know, Rick Emmons coming on the show this month, so I got some rock and roll stories to tell. And I might even get getting on to talk some baseball. So it’s been fun talking. Basically, we talk more baseball. Now. I mean, now that we’re under one games, like, Can we do some baseball talk around here? Are we allowed to be critical?

Luke Jones  51:23

Yeah, look, I don’t want to just be critical. I want to I want to be excited about the offseason. I mean, they want 101 games. And they’re not really losing guys of consequence, unless they trade them away, because you’re trying to trim payroll or whatever. So there’s a lot to

Nestor J. Aparicio  51:40

win 102 games, I need them to win the World Series.

Luke Jones  51:42

And that’s the you just said it. And that’s where again, they’re at this point, they’re at the point where you say they’re a playoff, you know, whether they win 101 again or not. They’re a playoff caliber club, especially with three wildcards. What can they do to put themselves in better position that when they return, if and when they are back there playing in October, that they improve their chances? A lot of its luck, right. I mean, a lot of it’s random, you know, the Arizona Diamondbacks are a great example of that. But what can you do on the pitching side specifically to fortify your chances there and we’re gonna see how it plays out here over the next couple months.

Nestor J. Aparicio  52:19

You find Luke at Baltimore, Luke, you could probably find them out in Owings Mills as well as the Ravens go la by and it’s a weird week and we’re all gonna have turkey and feel fat sit around and watch football for four days this week. So until we get to play on Sunday night, and then we’ll sit around and do it more and at some point, the Orioles are gonna have to get on it, not sit on it because it’s Thanksgiving and they were pretty good last year. So we got an eye on that. I have an eye on the Maryland stadium authority Tom Kelso came on this week I would highly encourage you to get educated on where your tax dollars are going and what shenanigans the Angelo’s family is pulling that’s going to benefit the Ashanti family and what it means ultimately, for the price of your tickets, the downtown experience, the quality the teams, and really the quality of the lifestyle here in the land of pleasant living. I am Nestor we are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore. My baseball last name serving me well here in the offseason we’re Baltimore positive stay with us.

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