Can it get worse for the Baltimore Orioles? No, it probably can’t.
The Orioles could have very easily put up another 47 win season like they did the season prior, but finally, they had a resurgence of youth.
John Means was the standout on the hill, getting the nod as the third-place finisher in the 2019 AL Rookie of the Year voting. While it seemed to many that this year easily belonged to Yordan Alvarez, Means was the best rookie starter in the American League.
Our very own Ryan Kelly put it best.
“Means’ biggest accomplishment is managing to earn more wins than losses (12-11) while making 27 starts for the Triple-A Baltimore Orioles. Hidden among a respectable 3.60 ERA, .232 opponent BA and 1.14 WHIP is a WAR of 3.0, according to Fangraphs. That’s good enough for the lead among AL rookie pitchers in 2019, and only Mike Soroka of the Braves (4.0) had him beat across all of baseball.”
At the plate, Hanser Alberto was a force to be reckoned with. After being claimed off waivers from the Giants, Alberto absolutely raked, churning out 160 hits, 21 doubles, 12 HRs, bringing in 51 runs. With a slash line of .305/.329/.422 and an OPS of .751, the 26-year-old Dominican utility-man became a staple of the Orioles offense.
Another offense staple for the O’s was Renato Ruiz, another waiver selection, this time from 2018. Ruiz was dominant at the plate this season, proving that he can hang with major league talent. Over his 151 games, Ruiz slashed .244/.311/.460 with an OPS of .771, serving as DH after Mark Trumbo went down with a knee injury. Ruiz used the opportunity to rack up 132 hits, 24 doubles, and 31 home runs. Not bad for the 26-year-old’s first full season in the Majors.
Aside from those bright spots, the Baltimore Orioles are in big trouble in the coming months. Possibly even the coming years.
Most recently the Orioles front office has begun selling off any player with a potentially large price tag. These moves have no competitive thought behind them. Absolutely none. Here’s an example.
Jonathan Villar was acquired by the Orioles in a trade that sent Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop to Milwaukee in exchange for pitcher Luis Ruiz and infielder Jean Carmona. The former-Milwaukee star was coming off his second failed attempt to match his incredible 2016. For a struggling Brewers squad, Villar stole an MLB-leading 62 bases, notched 168 hits, 38 doubles, and 19 home runs in 2016. The following two seasons would see a downturn in production, as Villar fell into the background of Miller Park.
This past season Villar stole 40 bases, knocked 176 hits, 33 2Bs, and 24 home runs, returning to his 2016 form. The most important thing Villar brought to the Orioles in 2019? Consistency. It takes a lot of gumption to play in all 162 games for a team that can’t buy a win.
And now Villar is on his way to Miami? Because you didn’t want to pay him somewhere around $6 million for his services? Get real. That’s bad for baseball and it’s bad for Baltimore.
Even worse for Baltimore? Chris Davis is still owed $69 million over the next three seasons.
As it stands right now, the Orioles payroll sits at $46 million dollars for the year. That’s $10 million dollars more than what the Angels will be paying Mike Trout. So while this year’s team is cheap and young, let’s hope that when the Orioles grow up, they don’t leave the next to find a better paycheck. And the majority of that payroll is taken up by Davis and Alex Cobb. Woof.
Buckle up, Orioles fans! It’s going to be bumpy from here on out.
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