2018 Topps Team Card
The Orioles picked up their first win since the All-Star Break and the first in the post-Machado era. In doing so they helped the Yankees, who beat Tampa, edge a bit closer to the Red Sox in the standings. Following the game they helped their long time rivals a bit more by dealing Zach Britton to New York for three pitching prospects.
In one week Baltimore has turned two soon-to-be free agents into eight prospects. How will the prospects turn out? It's too soon to tell. I will give credit to Dan Duquette and the rest of the staff for at least pulling in a vast quantity of prospects back even if none of them are sure-fire future superstars. Even with the lack of a Gleyber Torres-esque return, the Orioles have done an excellent job of restocking their average farm system. At least two of the players (Yusniel Diaz and Dillon Tate) will be among Baltimore's top 10 prospects for next season.
With Machado and Britton gone, what next? There are six days left before the trade deadline so expect more deals. If Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman are indeed on the table then there is a chance the Orioles could add at least one more top-10 prospect to their organization. Other than that, look for more organizational filler or even, God forbid, possibly some international bonus money.
Duquette and company have made the two easy trades and have done alright. And while they have talked about a rebuild they haven't committed to it..not yet. In order to complete the burning of Eutaw Street they have to make some tougher decisions. Trading the aforementioned Bundy and Gausman would signal that the rebuild is truly under way. So would dealing Jonathan Schoop, Mychal Givens or Trey Mancini. All of these players have control past this year and could be enticing to not only contenders, but also teams that have stumbled a bit but are looking to improve. Trading young, controlled talent for future talent is the sign of a true rebuild.
Trading pending free agents is nice, but if they stop there, they can always walk it back in the winter by going out and signing other free agents. Which, I wouldn't put past this organization. At this point I would say that anyone on the major league roster is eligible for a trade. To truly rebuild it will take a few seasons at which players Schoop and Mancini are going to be free agents. Why not move them now instead of devaluing them like they did with Machado and Britton.
Schoop for one seems to be trying to play his way off of the team as he has been red-hot since the break. He has regained his stroke and blasted 5 home runs and is hitting about .340 over the last week. Surely some team (Milwaukee) could use a second baseman with some pop in his bat. Move him out.
Other than trades, expect to start seeing some of the actual prospects come up. It might not be until September (can't start that free agency clock too soon!) but I wouldn't be surprised to see DL Hall make a late-season start or two. It wouldn't be shocking to see Ryan Mountcastle or Cedric Mullins pick up some at-bats as rewards for their excellent seasons.
Stretch out some of the players that have already made the team. I hope they keep Yefry Ramirez in the rotation. Keep sending Tanner Scott out there in relief. He may be struggling a bit, but there is no other way for him to learn how to get major league hitters out other than to face them. Lets find out if he's the next Zach Britton or the next Brad Pennington. The same goes with David Hess and Mike Wright, Jr. The Orioles need to find out if they can pitch well enough to carry them through the dark times over the next two seasons.
If they go through with this rebuild it will be a tough couple of years for the Orioles faithful, but if they start now and do it right, then they can build a team that can compete for several years after that.
JustinG.'s Current Trade Rankings (updated!)
(in order of most likely to be traded)
3. Mark Trumbo
4. Jonathan Schoop
5. Mychal Givens
6. Dylan Bundy
7. Brad Brach
8. Kevin Gausman
9. Danny Valencia
10. Adam Jones