At the end of April, The Orioles were sitting high and in first place with a 15-8 record, but since the end of April, they have gone 17-24 and are free falling fast. Their worst stretch came against the Yankees and White Sox on the road, as the Orioles were outscored 60-26 in those games and looked really bad. From June 10th -12th, Orioles’ starting pitching averaged only 2.1 innings before being pulled after giving up 9,7 and 6 runs in their outings. As I said before in my previous article, The Orioles have not fared well in away games and for the rest of the season, the majority of their games are played away from Camden Yards. And with potential big money contracts on the horizon (Machado and Schoop), the Orioles may have to start cutting bait with some of their power bats and focus on a hard rebuild.
Opponents are hitting .277 against Orioles pitching.
That puts the Orioles last in the Majors.
— Dan Clark (@DanClarkSports) June 11, 2017
Fans have noticed for years that the Orioles will spend big money on bats and thrift shop for pitching; the big contract for Albert Belle comes to mind and the lack of one for Mike Mussina after the 2000 season. Most recently, it has been big money for Chris Davis, but signing over the hill pitchers like Ubaldo Jimenez, Yovani Gallardo and Wade Miley over the past few years, but with the elite bullpen they had, it was enough to win the Al East in 2014 and make two wild card appearances in 2012 and 2016. That appears that it’s not going to cut it anymore.
It’s time for the Orioles to start talking about what this is going to look like over the next 5 years. With players like Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy having their best years behind them, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo are strictly getting paid to hit home runs. On the flip side, young players like Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop are thriving, but toiling away with a team that might not finish over .500 this season. It’s time for the Orioles to fortify their farm system fast, and the only way to do that, without taking another 5 years to do it, is trading some of the bats away.
If the O’s were buyers, they could go after pitchers Chris Archer (Rays), Yu Darvish (Rangers) and/or Gerrit Cole (Pirates) for long term projections, but would likely only be able to grab one of them since it would basically costs them too many of their quality prospects to do so.
% OF PAYROLL
Based on the chart above, The Orioles are spending almost 20% of their payroll on three pitchers that are spot starters at best, but the problem for the O’s is that no team in their right mind would trade to pay that kind of salary for mediocre pitching. The only option the Orioles have at this point is to trade some big bats (Trumbo, Castillo, Davis) for some cheap pitching prospects that they can develop in the minors.
The Orioles have to think long term at this point, and if they want build around Machado, Schoop, Mancini, Gausman and Bundy, and not leaving much for the starting rotation or bullpen. The Red Sox and Yankees have already put their trust in quality starting pitching and young talent, it’s time for the O’s to do the same.