Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 20

Orioles Victory Number 20: 10-4 over the Miami Marlins

2018 Topps Manny Machado 1983 Insert

How about an insert from one of the best designed Topps sets of all times of the most recent superstar player to wear an Orioles uniform?

So, the Orioles finally cracked the 20-win mark on Father's Day. Dylan Bundy pitched well enough to win and finally received some run support.  Baltimore avoids getting swept on the homestand and heads a short train ride south to Washington with a little more confidence in their offense.

A lot has changed since the last time I was able to post here. Chris Davis has been benched. The Orioles went from one Joseph (Caleb) to none, back to one (Corban) and now up to two (Corban and Caleb). One dominating left-handed reliever returned (Zach Britton) while another was shut down for the season (Richard Bleier). Andrew Cashner missed a start while David Hess has solidified his spot in the rotation.

Benching Davis is the biggest move that has happened in the 11 days between victories and probably the most important one. The big first baseman with the big contract was on pace for one of the worst seasons in major league history and looked completely lost at the plate no matter where Buck Showalter put him in the line-up. He's not going to get traded and will most likely refuse an assignment to the minors (a move that Minnesota just pulled with their struggling slugger Miguel Sano) as his right as a veteran player.

The organization can't trade him as his value is significantly below that of a replacement player and he's owed more than $100 million on the rest of his contract. Trying to shoehorn him into the impending Machado trade would only lower the value of the return even more. Nor will the Orioles waive him with the length and money left on his deal.

So now the only solution is to hope that the extra work he's putting in with hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh and jack-of-all-trades Brady Anderson pays off in some shape or form. With a natural regression back to how he's been since signing his large contract would be a boon to the offense-starved Orioles line-up. If he can get his game back to where he's hitting .230-.240 and clubbing home runs every now and then that makes there line-up better.

In the meantime, can he be a reliable off the bench pinch hitter? Showalter had a chance to use him late in Saturday's game trailing by a run and instead pinch-hit Corban Joseph. So at this point the answer seems to be no. That hamstrings an already short bench and will make for some interesting roster decisions once Tim Beckham returns from his rehab assignment.

Corban Joseph is the most likely candidate for demotion once Beckham returns to play third base, which would set Trey Mancini as the starting first baseman (his natural position) and bump Jace Peterson back to the bench. Now the Orioles would have Peterson, Davis and Pedro Alvarez, all left-handed hitters, as their primary replacements. That's not ideal.

The next few weeks will see a lot of change to the Orioles roster (hopefully) and their may be an influx of youth coming in. It would be nice if Chris Davis regains his form enough to be a presence in the line-up instead of a shadow of his former self on the bench.

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