The Tanking Will Continue Until Morale Improves: the 2022 Baltimore Orioles

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By many accounts, this team has the #1 all-around prospect in baseball in Adley Rutschman and the #1 pitching prospect in Grayson Rodriguez. They have Cedric Mullins, who last year learned to stop worrying about switch hitting and love hitting bombs, and John Means, who pitched a no-hitter and a bunch of many-hitters, and... well, that's about it. Is this the year Birdland starts on the long road back to respectability? Or the Shed Long road to continued mediocrity?

Guayaquil (eephus!), Thursday, 17 February 2022 01:46 (four months ago) link

i did not realize how much Grayson jumped in the rankings! and what a solid 2021 he had!

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Thursday, 17 February 2022 02:44 (four months ago) link

i love cedric mullins and worry that they will somehow ruin him before he can cash in

the other two will obviously make it, but not before the o's are literally compelled to bring them up

mookieproof, Thursday, 17 February 2022 03:22 (four months ago) link

I mean, there's also the lovably stone-gloved and baby-faced slugger Ryan Mountcastle, there's intermittently exciting Austin Hays, there's speedster Jorge Mateo... it's not like there's nothing to watch here! But objectively it's hard not to think this team is going to lose a lot of games.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Thursday, 17 February 2022 03:41 (four months ago) link

xp surely there's no question Rutschman and Rodriguez play in MLB in 2022??

Guayaquil (eephus!), Thursday, 17 February 2022 03:44 (four months ago) link

Rutschman seems like such a can't miss but obviously I can't help thinking of Matt Wieters, who did have a lot of great moments as an Oriole but let's face it never came close to his promise.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Thursday, 17 February 2022 03:45 (four months ago) link

joey bart is a cautionary tale

(tbf on almost any other team he'd have long since been in the majors)

mookieproof, Thursday, 17 February 2022 04:44 (four months ago) link

anyway still pissed about how mountcastle was literally the IL MVP in 2019 and the orioles didn't call him up in september

mookieproof, Thursday, 17 February 2022 04:49 (four months ago) link

i mean they are among the shittiest organizations in a thoroughly bullshit league, hard to give them the benefit of anything

mookieproof, Thursday, 17 February 2022 04:54 (four months ago) link

one month passes...

Every year I tell myself it's silly to hope for anything, and yet here I am saying to myself "What if Yusniel Diaz is actually good?"

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 25 March 2022 20:38 (three months ago) link

Then again I did keep saying that about Cedric Mullins until it came true.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 25 March 2022 20:38 (three months ago) link

really awesome how they're taking the cancer survivor to arbitration and will end up trading him either way

mookieproof, Friday, 25 March 2022 21:41 (three months ago) link

It's inexplicable, he doesn't get paid very much and he's not going to bring anything in trade, why do this

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 25 March 2022 22:21 (three months ago) link

He should have a decent trade value, no?!

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Saturday, 26 March 2022 00:06 (three months ago) link

he's a bit better than league-average hitter playing corner outfield relatively poorly. and he's 30. so no

but apparently it's more important to the orioles to keep their payroll under $40m than give their fans anything at all to root for

mookieproof, Saturday, 26 March 2022 02:17 (three months ago) link

I mean he's the absolute paradigm of a player who's worth more to the Orioles than he is to any of the other 29 teams, unless you take the view, which Orioles management often seems to, that by definition no player has any value to the Orioles because the winning of games and the happiness of fans are themselves of zero value. So sure, trade Mancini for the next Zach Pop.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 29 March 2022 21:43 (three months ago) link

o's and mancini settle and add a mutual option for 2023...honestly, i like mancini, but was okay w/ whatever outcome. more anxious about means.

j.q higgins, Sunday, 3 April 2022 00:44 (two months ago) link

i want to know the history of mutual options and whether they've ever actually been exercised

mookieproof, Sunday, 3 April 2022 01:27 (two months ago) link

I read something once a while back that it hardly ever barely happens. Like a step up from never.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Sunday, 3 April 2022 04:29 (two months ago) link

lol okay

Mike Elias said of the Orioles' current group of young starters — Akin, Baumann, Kremer, Lowther, Zimmermann — "Some of those guys need to step up."

"That's why we're struggling right now is because we haven't gotten a real cemented breakout from one of those guys."

— Nathan Ruiz (@NathanSRuiz) April 4, 2022

mookieproof, Monday, 4 April 2022 15:40 (two months ago) link

Should be noted that none of those guys were acquired by Elias. He seems to have a pretty pissy attitude towards the previous regime's moves in general, outside of Hall and Rodriguez

, Monday, 4 April 2022 19:19 (two months ago) link

I feel like we just saw a little of what we're gonna see a lot of.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Saturday, 9 April 2022 00:39 (two months ago) link

adley rutschman is now 24yo. he hit .285/.397/.502 in the minors last year. the guy drafted first overall a year later made his big league debut tonight

garbage organization in a garbage sport

mookieproof, Saturday, 9 April 2022 01:30 (two months ago) link

big felix, big mike...nice to see some big arms in the pen.

j.q higgins, Tuesday, 12 April 2022 14:34 (two months ago) link

rutschman is injured tho, no?

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Tuesday, 12 April 2022 17:01 (two months ago) link

he is, and it's been radio silence for a while unfortunately

xp seeing felix make wander franco look silly was heartening. i'm really not too worried about the bullpen going forward, which is why i liked the sulser/scott trade. the pitcher we got back for them looks like he might be in the rotation by july.

, Tuesday, 12 April 2022 17:17 (two months ago) link

Yeah, I don't think there's any doubt Adley's the Opening Day starter if he's not hurt (whether he should have been up last year is a question one can discuss)

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 12 April 2022 18:18 (two months ago) link

i'm really not too worried about the bullpen going forward

I admire your optimism but I look at the bullpen and I'm not seeing the 4-5 decent innings a day we're gonna need with this rotation

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 12 April 2022 18:19 (two months ago) link

i think the innings are somewhere in the system, but we may be subjected to a lot of alexander wells, zac lowther and keegan akin before we land on the right mix.

j.q higgins, Tuesday, 12 April 2022 19:47 (two months ago) link

yeah, i don't mean the current bullpen arms, more that a bunch of our mid-tier starters will end up as decent relievers in the next year or two. i have faith that out of "keegan akin tier" we'll get a handful of good relievers. jorge lopez didn't look bad closing. i think guys like rom and even bradish will end up there and could shine. and fangraphs seems to think hall will end up there and turn into josh hader

it's the rotation i'm worried about

, Tuesday, 12 April 2022 22:31 (two months ago) link

bradish definitely has filthier stuff than the akin tier...boy, those rodriguez highlights from the night, though. mercy.

j.q higgins, Wednesday, 13 April 2022 00:59 (two months ago) link

left forearm tightness for our only good starter

, Thursday, 14 April 2022 01:05 (two months ago) link

would love for the rotation to get a little more bradish, but i fear this means the imminent return of matt harvey.

j.q higgins, Thursday, 14 April 2022 12:58 (two months ago) link

kill me. if this doesn't mean bradish and grayson soon.........

Hyde said Means getting second opinions on elbow. Gonna be awhile - to get results and for him to pitch again. Hyde doesn’t know if Means will pitch again in 2022. Said doesn’t expect him back anytime soon #orioles

— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) April 16, 2022

, Saturday, 16 April 2022 21:14 (two months ago) link

On the whole, "everybody in the AL East beats up on us every year, except the Yankees whose season we keep ruining" is about as good as we can hope for right now, so let's keep it coming

Guayaquil (eephus!), Sunday, 17 April 2022 20:52 (two months ago) link

will grudgingly accept this outcome. for now...

j.q higgins, Monday, 18 April 2022 00:19 (two months ago) link

I support it.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Monday, 18 April 2022 14:58 (two months ago) link

3 out of four wins have been shutouts.

j.q higgins, Thursday, 21 April 2022 13:51 (two months ago) link

I mean this is about as good as a team scoring under 2 runs a game can be

Guayaquil (eephus!), Thursday, 21 April 2022 15:14 (two months ago) link

means is getting tommy john : /

mookieproof, Saturday, 23 April 2022 16:23 (two months ago) link

bad news for everyone in the world except matt harvey

Guayaquil (eephus!), Saturday, 23 April 2022 17:08 (two months ago) link

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/introducing-the-new-orioles-bullpen/

i am a bit amazed at this team coming into the season with an original plan (setting up middle middle) and implementing it... thought that kind of thing was just for the rays and dodgers and giants

bautista is so fun to watch

, Tuesday, 26 April 2022 23:27 (two months ago) link

it was noted on twitter today that every oriole to play so far this season is at least 25 years old

mookieproof, Tuesday, 26 April 2022 23:32 (two months ago) link

keeping rodriguez down this long is bullshit but aside from him and adley, who will be up within a few weeks, there is no one in the organization under 25 who is ready to be called up right now. and aside from rodriguez who should've pitched at AAA last year, you can't point to any other prospects and say they were held at any level too long.

, Wednesday, 27 April 2022 00:08 (two months ago) link

and i have no idea what scocca's problem with bruce zimmermann is? am i supposed to be angry at the orioles for tanking for young prospects or angry at them for not giving up on 27 year old former prospects? should i be angry that they stuck with non-prospect cedric mullins while he was experimenting with a new approach and then developed into a player who could star on a playoff team? am i supposed to just be angry at everything the orioles do all the time even when there are positive developments on the 26-man roster that have nothing to do with tanking?

, Wednesday, 27 April 2022 00:37 (two months ago) link

there is no one in the organization under 25 who is ready to be called up right now

The exact point is that that itself is the problem for an organization that has supposedly been rebuilding since 2018.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 27 April 2022 00:55 (two months ago) link

And nobody has anything against Bruce Zimmerman, Bruce Zimmerman rules, he represents the kind of "find unexpectedly useful guys off the scrap heap" philosophy that the Orioles have always been decently good at (Rodrigo Lopez, Nate McLouth) -- but the idea was meant to be to use those guys in combination with players you could actually expect to be good.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 27 April 2022 00:57 (two months ago) link

The exact point is that that itself is the problem for an organization that has supposedly been rebuilding since 2018.

i don't really see how that's the case if the prospects are still there? it's just ignoring every bit of context to make a provocative tweet. the covid year didn't help, nor did major injuries/illnesses to hall and kjerstad. i will 100% say that adley should've been up last year (he still would've been injured this year so he still wouldn't be on the team) and rodriguez should've made it to AAA and started this year in the majors. i am currently pretty furious that bradish isn't starting in the majors, though he struggled at AAA last year so i can see why they started him there again. but the rest of the prospects are still there, they're playing at the levels expected of them and being promoted pretty liberally after they come to succeed at said levels.

and santander or hays or mancini should be traded asap to make room for stowers, but then the scoccas of the world would just tweet about the bad tanking team recommitting to an endless death spiral by trading away actual major leaguers in their arb years.

everyone knows where this team started when elias actually came in. zero analytics, zero international signings, one of the worst farms in the league, an expensive go-nowhere major league team that was 2 years past any hope of being a couple FA signings away from competing again. prospective GM brady anderson. this was never going to be a rebuild like the jays or braves or tigers or white sox or padres who all started light years ahead of where this team was. there was never any sensible reason to think this team would be able to follow that sort of a timeline.

, Wednesday, 27 April 2022 01:52 (two months ago) link

>when elias actually came in. zero analytics, zero international signings,

did not realize it was this bad. i remember about 8 years ago they were so good for a team that looked just okay-ish on paper. i just assumed they knew what they were doing behind the scenes

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Wednesday, 27 April 2022 04:19 (two months ago) link

it was a team that combined a group of great players amassed by the previous regime with a GM that was almost supernaturally good at supplementing those players with random guys he found. there were almost never any holes on the roster.

it was also a team that sacrificed its 2016 first round draft pick for yovani gallardo

, Wednesday, 27 April 2022 04:49 (two months ago) link

re: baby birds

would love to see stowers up sooner rather than later, dl hall will probably debut this year...a lot of people like drew rom and i'm also curious how quickly they'll move prieto and cowser.

j.q higgins, Wednesday, 27 April 2022 18:33 (two months ago) link

...also think they'll give akin, wells, lowther and kremer (once healthy) a few chances to sink or swim. don't know what the leash is like for gutierrez. owings probably not long for this world.

j.q higgins, Wednesday, 27 April 2022 18:35 (two months ago) link

psyched bradish is getting the call tonight. hope he gets an extended look.

j.q higgins, Friday, 29 April 2022 21:27 (two months ago) link

Bradish certainly earned the extended look.

Walk-off unearned run on a terrible bunt!

Guayaquil (eephus!), Sunday, 1 May 2022 15:10 (one month ago) link

Enjoying the Orioles playing like an ordinary bad team instead of a historically bad team!

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 10 May 2022 12:51 (one month ago) link

orioles hitters in may (admittedly only eight games all at home and mostly against mediocre teams, but still): .293/.343/.448

that's v. good!

pitching is also above average but they're not getting a lot of strikeouts (relatively speaking)

mookieproof, Tuesday, 10 May 2022 21:19 (one month ago) link

Kyle Bradish is!

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 11 May 2022 02:08 (one month ago) link

honestly whenever i encounter his name i start imagining (you know, if he were a yankee, or a hitter) what kind of home run call john sterling would give him

mookieproof, Wednesday, 11 May 2022 02:14 (one month ago) link

yesterday i went to opacy for the first time since the pandemic. nice to see big felix in action and a walkoff earl weaver special in the much ballyhooed left field extension.

j.q higgins, Friday, 20 May 2022 14:06 (one month ago) link

Dang lucky you being at that game -- how was turnout?

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 20 May 2022 15:42 (one month ago) link

Sounds like no Adley today, booooooooo

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 20 May 2022 16:06 (one month ago) link

turn out was good! 23K paid.

j.q higgins, Friday, 20 May 2022 16:50 (one month ago) link

happy adley day, friends.

j.q higgins, Saturday, 21 May 2022 12:13 (one month ago) link

much excited

Guayaquil (eephus!), Saturday, 21 May 2022 12:47 (one month ago) link

i like the new era

Guayaquil (eephus!), Sunday, 22 May 2022 23:02 (one month ago) link

Nice comeback tonight, down 6 in the 7th at Fenway, end up winning by 4.

Michael F Gill, Saturday, 28 May 2022 02:59 (one month ago) link

Heck of a night for Tyler Wells!

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 31 May 2022 01:34 (four weeks ago) link

This game is going well but that moment where it's up to McKenna and Owings to get the runs in is kinda hard to take

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 31 May 2022 01:44 (four weeks ago) link

Grayson Rodriguez has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 right lat strain, Mike Elias said this morning, which likely won't pin him to a return to action until September.

Elias wouldn't rule anything out, but focus is on Opening Day 2023. There's a chance Rodriguez is done for '22.

— Zachary Silver (@zachsilver) June 5, 2022

mookieproof, Sunday, 5 June 2022 17:13 (three weeks ago) link

Not feeling the morale improve tbh

, Sunday, 5 June 2022 17:37 (three weeks ago) link

should probably tank for a bit longer

Bruce Stingbean (Karl Malone), Sunday, 5 June 2022 17:49 (three weeks ago) link

This sucks but I don't see any reason this would have been any less likely to happen if he were in Baltimore.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Sunday, 5 June 2022 19:20 (three weeks ago) link

Anyway, I definitely think morale is improving!

Guayaquil (eephus!), Sunday, 5 June 2022 19:26 (three weeks ago) link

xp true, but he’d be getting paid and accruing service time

elias is no doubt secretly thrilled

mookieproof, Sunday, 5 June 2022 20:13 (three weeks ago) link

Yes, good point, I was thinking about "to what extent does this timing suck for the Orioles" but the extent to which it sucks for GR himself is much greater

Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 6 June 2022 02:10 (three weeks ago) link

Maybe the DL Hall call-up comes earlier now, I dunno

Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 6 June 2022 02:11 (three weeks ago) link

beginning to wonder if gunnar henderson isn't up before the end of the year.

j.q higgins, Monday, 6 June 2022 16:58 (three weeks ago) link

Holy moly, I did not expect a promotion this early for him (and Westburg too)

, Monday, 6 June 2022 19:24 (three weeks ago) link

interesting to compare him this year to witt last year...witt's almost exactly a year older.

j.q higgins, Tuesday, 7 June 2022 13:30 (three weeks ago) link

Gunnar homered in his first game in Norfolk

Guayaquil (eephus!), Thursday, 9 June 2022 14:29 (two weeks ago) link

pic.twitter.com/bfwdzkbmeY

— Matthew Sprague (@MSprague518) June 9, 2022

mookieproof, Friday, 10 June 2022 05:49 (two weeks ago) link

stowers finally debuting! as a vax replacement lol

, Monday, 13 June 2022 20:56 (two weeks ago) link

adley bomb off of berrios. guys, he may be adjusting.

j.q higgins, Thursday, 16 June 2022 00:21 (one week ago) link

If the Orioles (12-9 in June) win 2 of their next 5 games, they will claim their first full winning month since August 2017. It's been almost 5 years!!!!

— Matt Kremnitzer (@mattkremnitzer) June 25, 2022

also:

have allowed one run on 13 hits in their last 27 innings

have the same number of wins as the white sox

mookieproof, Saturday, 25 June 2022 16:13 (four days ago) link

better record over the last 10 games than the yankees

, Sunday, 26 June 2022 00:35 (three days ago) link

not allowing myself to get excited. it still feels like a lot of the reasons we're doing better this year are going to get traded at the deadline... bullpen guys, mancini, santander. and i wonder if players like mullins and hays are going to still be around by the time the younger guys are settled. right now the only big 'post-tank' pieces are adley, mountcastle and bradish, still a lot of holes to fill.

, Sunday, 26 June 2022 00:40 (three days ago) link

they broke the glass on stowers. definitely curious to see when he next comes up. definitely seem to be avoiding trial by fire for the sexier mi prospects, but w/ jones out of the picture, maybe vavra's next man up? pretty amazing what westburg and henderson are doing at nrofolk, though.

j.q higgins, Monday, 27 June 2022 14:22 (two days ago) link

don't think stowers is up full time until santander is traded, or maybe mancini but they probably want him in the outfield. i'm not pinning a lot of hope on stowers though.

cowser, mayo and norby all promoted to AA despite not blowing the competition away at aberdeen. wouldn't be surprised to see any of them hit the ground running simply because ripken park is a cavern and bowie is a bandbox.

, Monday, 27 June 2022 20:34 (two days ago) link

btw, rutschman above 100 ops+/wrc+

j.q higgins, Tuesday, 28 June 2022 11:56 (yesterday) link


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