24 October 2017

Blueprint For The 2018 Orioles (Option #7)

Once the Orioles stop playing, we begin playing around with the roster and look toward the next year. The Depot's Blueprint Series tries to take a well focused look as to what the potential solutions are to what ails the club. A subset of our writers take part in this exercise and we invite our readership to submit their own ideas. Below is our third reader submission. This submission is from John.


Hearing patients talk about "blowing up" or "rebuilding" underestimate the difficulty and pure luck that is involved with trading a known commodity for unproven prospects. So this blueprint will be based on making a quality baseball team that will compete in 2018. Lets go position by position in this breakdown.

Catcher- Thank you Wellington Castillo for a great season and we wish you the best as you sign a multi-year deal with another team (preferably a National League one). Caleb Joseph had a renaissance of hitting after his RBI-less year and provides above average defense. He is a tremendously underrated player. Chance Cisco has been one of our top prospects for the past 3 years and he is ready for MLB pitching. Caleb should begin the season as the starter and allow for a slow transformation of Cisco to be our primary starter by the end of the year.

First Base- Chris Davis is signed for a very long time. He isn't going anywhere. No one is going to take on his contract unless the Orioles take on a bit of it which is a distinctly NON-Angelos thing to do. The silver lining of having a hitter that bats below the Mendoza line is his gold glove fielding, something that should never be underestimated. The eternal optimist would point out that Davis is a known streaky hitter and hopefully if he makes a few adjustments or gets contact lenses then he could rebound after his terrible season.

Second Base- Jonathan Schoop is young, controlled for two more seasons, and the best overall player on the roster. He is loved by his teammates and management alike and signing him to a long term deal will be significantly cheaper (and a better investment due to his lack of injury history) than Manny.

Third Base- Manny Machado is a superstar. He is a clutch hitter and poetry in motion while playing defense. My fear is that he won't want to stay in Baltimore and will go back to Miami (Jeter would be drooling at the prospect of signing him). Regardless, the Orioles should attempt to sign him to a 5 year, 155 million dollar deal with a player option. They could even sweeten the pot with a player opt-out after year 3. Hopefully the length of the contract would keep Angelos from getting scared of the commitment and the commitment to winning would hopefully re-invigorate the club and the city. Also Mountcastle is about 3 years away from being ready for the Majors.

Shortstop- Tim Beckham is a streaky, sparkplug player who is under team control for a few season at a cheap rate. The errors are upsetting but not every player will be a gold glove. I will accept that this was a good trade by Dan and has solidified a position with an above average player that can be controlled cheaply for a few more years.

Left Field- I was delighted by the hustle and defense of Trey Mancini in left field last year. He often times caught opposing teams off-guard with a great throw or a great catch. Its troubling that a rookie was our most patient hitter and he will hopefully be an Oriole for a long time coming.

Center Field- Adam Jones is the heart and soul of this team. He will most likely resign and remain in Baltimore for the entirety of his career. I foresee a statue of him one day as I walk into Camden yard. He is getting older and can no longer handle a 160 game schedule.

Right Field- Austin Hays epitomizes the city of Baltimore and has become a fan favorite. He is tough, hard working, likable, and constantly proving nay-sayers wrong. He will begin the season and have a mix and match with an OF free agent (more on that later) and will be moved to CF to let Adam have a day off.

Designated Hitter- ANYONE EXCEPT TRUMBO. Team chemistry is as important to have a winning club as good defense and pitching. Our season ended when he was hit with the second pie and went on to complain. If he was hitting 40+ home runs and batting over .300 then being a stick in the mud would be acceptable. You can either be no fun or no good, not both. You could see the energy and fight just leave the team after that day. Luckily he has only 2 years left at a not outrageously terrible price tag. He must be traded at all cost. We already have Chris Davis, there is no need for him.

Free agent hitters
-Jayson Werth for 1 year. This is a classic low risk, high reward Dan Duqette signing. Jayson will come cheap after a disappointing season for the Nationals. I think that coming to a hitter friendly park would allow for him to rebound and have a productive offensive season.
-Howie Kendrick for 2 year deal. Howie Kendrick should be our starting DH next season, with the occasional day in the outfield to give one of the starters a day off. He is an extremely effective hitter who would provide more veteran leadership to the team and whose personality will mesh very well for the established core players.

Starting pitchers
-There is good news and bad news with the starting pitching. The good news is we have two starters that are young, controllable, and could develop into an Ace. The bad news is that we have nothing else. We have 60% of our rotation empty. At this rate we would garuntee lose 60% of our games (a similar statistic to when Ubaldo and Miley took the mound towards the end). The first no brainer move is to resign Tillman to a one year deal. I believe that he never fully healed and rushed himself back when he saw the struggles of the team only to worsen the situation. The most important signing of the offseason would be C.C. Sabathia. I hope we can lock him in at 2 years and 22 million. Having a proven leader in the rotation could hopefully help the inconsistency problems that have plagued Bundy and especially Gausman. The second free agent signing should be Alex Cobb. He will most likely cost 35 million over 3 years. He has already had Tommy John and is one of the most consistent pitchers on the market. A one year minor deal to Derek Holland would also be a great insurance policy for Tillman.

Relief pitching
- Nothing should change. Don't rob from peter to pay paul.


Boss61 said...

This one is closest to my thinking. One change I would make is (say) Lance Lynn or Cashner instead of Sabathia - on'y because I believe CC will stay in New York.

I love this series. Well done Camden Depot!

Unknown said...

It was Trumbo all along about the pies? Get rid of that guy PLEASE. The Orioles should be willing to eat the final year of his deal in order to move on. I can see a team willing to trade scraps for Trumbo if the O's take on half of his remaining salary. Its cheaper than cutting him outright and its worth opening a roster spot.

Boss61 said...

Trumbo has 2018 and 2019 remaining. If the Orioles ate contracts, Ubaldo never would have lasted four whole years.

Pip said...

The Orioles ate 9-11 million Bud Norris dollars, they ate 5+ million middle reliever Tommy Hunter dollars( he was eventually traded but I think the Os are most of the money)
They also needlessly released Gonzalez to save 3, traded a draft pick to save Matusz' s 4-ish and traded a draft pick to save Ryan Webb's 3-ish.
Money isn't the issue.
The Angels saw Josh Hamilton's contract as spent money. They were on the hook for all of it, so getting back even a fraction of it was considered worthwhile.
The Orioles don't think that way, it seems.
The reasons Trumbo remains are many, but money, though significant, is unlikely to be the main reason.

Jon Shepherd said...

Just to clear up the numbers, Orioles ate 3.4 MM for Norris. They dealt all of Tommy Hunter's money to pay a similar amount to Parra.

Anonymous said...

The O's should not take on any contracts from 34-38yo FA. This is exactly the age range when sudden declines happen or even gradual declines. You cannot expect an older player to contribute the same production as his younger self (see Jones, Adam). I would but no FA agent older than 31. Seems to me that players are in their prime around 28 and often have a resurgence around 32 as they adapt to their changing physical attributes (the good ones anyway - many don't). I can see bringing in a 30-32yo for 2-3 years. That's why I prefer Garcia, Lynn, Cobb, and others to the Sabathia's or Kendrick's of the world. Do not buy what they were; buy what they are now.

Unknown said...

Trumbo to KC for Ian Kennedy, swapping bad contracts.

Unknown said...

Orioles did not eat Tommy Hunter money. Funny, I said Tommy Hunter and eat in the same sentence, go figure!

Pip said...

Thanks for the clarification. I thought Norris's contract in 2015 was for 10-ish million and they released him in May so had to eat most of it.

Pip said...

I think my other amounts were basically accurate and the point certainly remains valid.

O's Brose said...

Sabathia already declined and adjusted. He went from throwing 98 MPH to 91 MPH. He also has figured out how to deal with his knee issues while still throwing a mid-3.0 ERA. He literally fits your description as an older player who has adjusted to his changing physical attributes not the other way around. We wouldn't be signing him to be our ace but a mid rotation guy who is leaps and bounds better than Uvalde or Miley.

O's Brose said...