It is Tuesday evening. The Orioles are currently winning 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning. We are also 29 hours removed from the major league trade deadline. Like many of you, I got up yesterday and thought to myself, “Today is the day. Today is going to be the day we say goodbye to three or four of our Orioles. While this will be a sad day, I am excited. I am excited because we will address a serious issue within our organization, our minor league system. We will finally have a built in pitching future because we are going to make some significant trades today.” I then pulled into work. I park in the furthest lot in my building. I enjoy the walk and I typically try to give myself as much time as possible before I am hit with the first “subpar” sports opinion I get due to walking in with my Orioles cap and Orioles lanyard that holds my government identification card. Without fail it hits me nice and early.
“Hey Steve, who we trading today?” A co-worker asks.
“Well if we were smart, we would probably move several guys. If I am Steve Duquette I am trading Britton, Brach, O’Day, Seth Smith and I’d even explore options on Wellington Castillo, but we will see.” I reply.
“Zach Britton!? Steve are you crazy! Why would you trade our closer? He is one of the best!” the co-worker exclaims.
“Yeah, that is definitely true, but we would get really good value for him and we need some youth in our minor league system.” I try and explain.
“I don’t know about all that, we got a chance at the playoffs. Glad you aren’t pushing the buttons today!” as he chuckles.
“Yeah me too, have a nice one!” I exclaim. Mainly because I am happy to get out of the conversation.
I walk up to my desk, log onto my computer and get myself through my Monday. Monday’s in my office can be a bit hectic. Typically the day is spent checking up on our results from the week before, making sure any of our leftovers are taken care of and then setting up for the week that is about to fall upon us. Of course at lunch, I eat and take a chance to peruse the internet, checking ESPN, Rotoworld, and any other site that will have some of the latest trade information. “No trade yet. Wonder what is going on with Britton? Who’s looking for him? Dodgers, hmmm ok. Damn they would be good if they got Britton to go with Jansen. Astros. Wow, would be a bold move for a young squad, I know they have prospects. Hopefully that is where he is headed.” Of course the day rolls on, I finish up with lunch and head back to work. While I continue my day I cannot help but be distracted. 2:00pm. 2:45pm. 3:15. “None of my buddies have text me yet, what the hell is going on?” It gets to 3:45 and I cannot take it anymore. I stop work, check back on the web. Hop on twitter and I see talks heating up. “Alright, whew. Last minute trade but the Orioles will get this done.” Not so fast. 4:00pm comes and goes and Zach Britton is still a member of the Orioles. Not only have we not shipped pieces away, we added a member, Tim Beckham. WHAT!
That is correct. We made a single deal at the deadline. We traded for Tampa Bay Rays SS, Tim Beckham. In exchange we send an 18-year old right handed pitcher, Tobias Myers to the Rays. Listen, I like trading for Tim Beckham, especially considering we have control of his contract for a while and we seemingly gave up an unknown. It is hard to predict how an 18-year old kid will progress through the minor league systems. I have no problem with any of this, in fact, I am for the trades of Jeremy Hellickson and Tim Beckham. They were quality value trades. However, I have a SIGNIFICANT issue with not trading key pieces of this roster.
Now, the big talk was about Zach Britton. After all the dust settled, the collective opinion seemed to be that teams were not offering up as much as the Orioles expected in return for a player like Zach Britton. Of course, a lot of that was due to the injury Britton suffered earlier in the season. Today, however, reports came out stating that a deal was done and agreed upon between the Houston Astros General Manager, Jeff Luhnow and our own, Dan Duquette only to be vetoed by no other than…..you guessed it folks, Peter Angelos.
My first question is simple, why is Dan Duquette here if that is going to happen? You fought to block Duquette from going to the Blue Jays back in 2015 only to take away his power in 2017? Why? How is it that you were so satisfied with the job he was doing after the 2014 ALCS run that you said no to him becoming the Blue Jays team president, to now in 2017 telling him no to trades he finds valuable for this organization. Explain that to this fan. Explain to me why I have invested in this team for the entire 25 years you have owned this organization and time and time again you have acted like the television movie version of George Steinbrenner. It is unacceptable. You now sacrificed the next five years of this franchise to chase an opportunity to play in a one game road playoff game and we all saw how that turned out last season. Zach Britton should have been traded yesterday. Plain and simple.
While my anger goes towards Mr. Angelos, Dan Duquette deserves some blame. Where were the news sources on guys like Brad Brach, Darren O’Day, Seth Smith and Wellington Castillo. We heard NOTHING about those names yesterday. Nothing. Why? Tony Cingrani, Jeremy Jeffress, Tony Watson, Brandon Kintzler and Addison Reed were all the notable bullpen names traded at the deadline. Let’s compare numbers….
Brad Brach – 44.1 IP, 16 SV, 6 HLD, 2.64 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 1.3 WAR
Darren O’Day – 36.2 IP, 2 SV, 13 HLD, 4.91 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, -0.1 WAR
Tony Cingrani – 23.1 IP, 0 SV, 4 HLD, 5.40 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, -0.1 WAR
Jeremy Jeffress – 40.2 IP, 0 SV, 4 HLD, 5.31 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, -0.1 WAR
Tony Watson – 46.2 IP, 10 SV, 6 HLD, 3.64 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 0.6 WAR
Brandon Kintzler – 45.1 IP, 28 SV, 0 HLD, 2.78 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 1.3 WAR
Addison Reed – 49.0 IP, 19 SV, 4 HLD, 2.70 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 1.8 WAR
WHY THE HELL IS BRAD BRACH STILL HERE!
Outside of Britton, explain to me why Brad Brach is still here? You are telling me you could not sell Brach’s numbers to the Dodgers, Indians, Astros, Brewers or Rockies who were ALL looking for an extra shut down arm towards the back end of the bullpen. It is unacceptable.
So we go back to the original question of the headline, where do we go from here? For this Orioles fan it is simple. We have to go for broke. As an organization, not making the logical deals for your future simply tells me that we have now gone all in, not only for 2017, but also for 2018 and then we will try and figure out the mess. On top of that, you are telling me that this offseason you will attempt to make a splash, since you did not at this deadline. It tells me that you are going to make a real effort at signing top notch free agent starting pitching. You will go after Darvish, you will try and extend Hellickson and you will make an offer to Alex Cobb, because if you do not, it is simple. If you choose not to make a valiant effort at this free agency heading towards 2018 it will tell this fan that you simply care about my money, not my interest in this club or how to protect its success. But then again, we already knew this was the main focus of this owner.
Signed, the frustrated Orioles fan.