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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (nine 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 (eight 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 (eight 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 (eight 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 (eight 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 (eight 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 (eight 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 (seven 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 (seven 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 (seven 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 (seven 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 (seven 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 (seven 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 (seven 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 (seven 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 (seven months ago) link

rutschman is injured tho, no?

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

left forearm tightness for our only good starter

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

will grudgingly accept this outcome. for now...

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

I support it.

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

3 out of four wins have been shutouts.

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

means is getting tommy john : /

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

bad news for everyone in the world except matt harvey

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

kyle stowers contributing, ilx gets results, you're welcome baltimore

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 26 August 2022 03:23 (three months ago) link

ho hum...another series win in the bag.

j.q higgins, Monday, 29 August 2022 13:46 (two months ago) link

today hurt - o's lose, rays jays and M's all win - but at least this is finally happening

Gunnar Henderson and DL Hall are flying to Cleveland tomorrow to join the taxi squad, per source #orioles

— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) August 31, 2022

, Wednesday, 31 August 2022 03:07 (two months ago) link

Happy Gunnar Day everybody! (Batting 6th and playing 3B against the Guardians today.)

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 31 August 2022 20:06 (two months ago) link

it was glorious.

j.q higgins, Thursday, 1 September 2022 23:57 (two months ago) link

ho hum...

j.q higgins, Friday, 2 September 2022 00:55 (two months ago) link

Can't say that having Baltimore at your heels is not comforting. They've got to be playing so loose right now; the Jays, meanwhile, have all these expectations.

clemenza, Friday, 2 September 2022 01:31 (two months ago) link

Double negative...it's not comfortable, is what I meant.

clemenza, Friday, 2 September 2022 01:32 (two months ago) link

I was surprised to read that the orioles and jays still play each other 10 more times this season. Could be interesting!

Michael F Gill, Friday, 2 September 2022 02:00 (two months ago) link

Nine Jays-Rays games, too.

clemenza, Friday, 2 September 2022 02:52 (two months ago) link

toss in the yankees and it's really looking like a dogfight down the stretch.

j.q higgins, Sunday, 4 September 2022 01:24 (two months ago) link

the way the jays rays and mariners are playing i'm thinking the yankees falling out completely is the only way we make it in

, Sunday, 4 September 2022 02:54 (two months ago) link

I know Gunnar's not THIS good but I sure am enjoying this (and the hair)

Guayaquil (eephus!), Sunday, 4 September 2022 12:39 (two months ago) link

situation w/ the jays will resolve itself head to head, i think.

j.q higgins, Sunday, 4 September 2022 14:20 (two months ago) link

1982 redux. sort of.

j.q higgins, Sunday, 4 September 2022 14:23 (two months ago) link

'89 for these two teams--Jays won the division by 2.0 over the Orioles, with the final three games in Baltimore. The Orioles had to sweep to win, two Baltimore wins would have left them in a tie. (I don't know if they went by head-to-head records then or a tiebreaker.)

clemenza, Sunday, 4 September 2022 15:07 (two months ago) link

right down to the "this team sucked real bad last year what happened???" factor

Guayaquil (eephus!), Sunday, 4 September 2022 16:09 (two months ago) link

I'd forgotten all about that! That was the team lost their first 21. I have a very clear memory of the clinching win in '89: Henke struck out somebody and pumped his fists. It was a big deal after blowing it in '87.

clemenza, Sunday, 4 September 2022 16:28 (two months ago) link

Larry Sheets (who had one big year, if I remember correctly).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8ztJxMpVt8

clemenza, Sunday, 4 September 2022 16:29 (two months ago) link

team is absolutely screwed if they have to play a single day game in the playoffs

, Sunday, 4 September 2022 20:54 (two months ago) link

7 sunday losses in a row! why has this been a thing for so long? feel like we'd go on these streaks back in the dave trembley days

, Sunday, 4 September 2022 20:55 (two months ago) link

this team will never win a day game

, Monday, 5 September 2022 20:28 (two months ago) link

Does a 5pm start count as a day or night game??

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Monday, 5 September 2022 20:40 (two months ago) link

gonna say day for this one

, Monday, 5 September 2022 22:43 (two months ago) link

i'd like to be able to blame today on needing to rely on 2 AAA pitchers for both games of a doubleheader but the offense has felt inert for a while.

feels like it might be the end :|

, Monday, 5 September 2022 22:53 (two months ago) link

I woke up this morning feeling "this is the day that makes or breaks the season" and sadly I still agree with myself

Guayaquil (eephus!), Monday, 5 September 2022 23:24 (two months ago) link

Very necessary win. Rougned being Rougned to nearly the greatest extent physically possible.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 7 September 2022 14:50 (two months ago) link

well, that sucked.

j.q higgins, Thursday, 8 September 2022 09:37 (two months ago) link

i don't think we're gonna come back from that series. there's always a chance but.... no

, Thursday, 8 September 2022 18:31 (two months ago) link

Have you met the 2022 Blue Jays? We're a tad streaky.

clemenza, Thursday, 8 September 2022 18:33 (two months ago) link

yeah but this series really just felt like the clock struck midnight. and i think the bullpen just has to be too taxed to get through the like 20 straight games left to play.

this offseason is going to be very interesting. i'm not really sure how elias is going to handle it, and i don't envy him. this team is in such a weird position relative to the normal tank/rebuild cycle, because so much of the value this year has come from young, cost-controlled guys that weren't major prospects and don't have all-star ceilings. hays, santander, urias, mateo... and probably mullins and mountcastle at this point. all solid players who deserve full-time major league spots (and there's no obvious platoon splits either aside from maybe mullins), only one older than 27 (urias, 28)

this team's main quality is its depth. adley's the only guy you can confidently project to be a 4 win player going forward, but nearly every position has contributed solid value, even the starters. the only real hole has been 2B. and backup catcher i guess. there'd be a lot more room for improvement if those wins were distributed more unevenly.

and this is an organization that still has a lot of good hitting prospects in AA and AAA - guys with higher ceilings than a lot of the big contributors this year. cowser, westburg, norby, ortiz, mayo are all potential impact guys who could be up by the ASB. stowers and vavra are already in the majors struggling to find ABs. gunnar doesn't even have a set position.

obviously some guys are going to get traded, but how often do you see full-tank teams start to trade top-100 minor league talent (i do think those AA/AAA guys are all top 100 except westburg, maybe mayo who still wouldn't be far off) when only 2 major prospects have been promoted? you have to give other prospects a chance to figure it out, there's too much potential there.

i think there's a very good chance next year's team is worse than this year's team as the solid 1.5-3 win players are replaced with struggling rookies. and even if we get a full year of rodriguez, the return of means, and trade for/sign better starters, there's still less room for improvement after voth/kremer/wells all came out of nowhere to pitch well.

anyway, i'm sure some major leaguers and minor leaguers are going to be traded. it's just going to be nutso to see how it all shakes out. there's so much depth and not a lot of room. looking at the 14-17 astros, not an easy comparison - those offenses were deep, but the solid non-prospect contributors were older soon-to-be FAs, not difficult guys to cut bait on.

also a lot of the improvement this year came from the bullpen and defense, which aren't very reliable year to year. idk, i really don't have much hope in next season i guess.

also i'll say this here because i can't say it anywhere else, but if elias does trade santander, mateo and urias to bring up prospects this team will be blindingly white. he drafts like marge schott.

, Thursday, 8 September 2022 19:30 (two months ago) link

it's possible i'm just not used to having this much talent in the high minors at once

, Thursday, 8 September 2022 19:34 (two months ago) link

A smalll step back next year wouldn’t surprise me. Let the young guys calibrate to the majors and focus on plugging holes with low-risk free agents in 2023 - then spend in earnest for 2024 on free agents and maybe dealing away some of the prospects in the lower minors for major league talent.

FRAUDULENT STEAKS (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Thursday, 8 September 2022 22:50 (two months ago) link

I get you from a tactical perspective but boy I would be sad to see santander and especially mateo go

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 9 September 2022 01:17 (two months ago) link

that'll do it

, Sunday, 11 September 2022 00:32 (two months ago) link

just a real crap time for the bats to go frio.

j.q higgins, Monday, 12 September 2022 19:45 (two months ago) link

almost back to back CGs. so close to a maddux for bradish! granted he was working with the world's biggest strike zone

, Friday, 23 September 2022 01:41 (two months ago) link

who needs bats, let's just have complete game shutouts and an occasional hit by Rougned Odor

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 23 September 2022 01:46 (two months ago) link

bradish notched a 90 game score last night, fwiw.

j.q higgins, Friday, 23 September 2022 13:09 (two months ago) link

what in the world

, Saturday, 24 September 2022 01:54 (two months ago) link

does mike elias have something on astros hitters? are our pitchers doing some sort of reverse trash can magic to throw the right pitch every time?

, Saturday, 24 September 2022 01:55 (two months ago) link

The Jays are doing their hapless thing, so do not abandon hope.

clemenza, Saturday, 24 September 2022 02:10 (two months ago) link

imagine if we didn't lose 2 to the tigers lol

, Saturday, 24 September 2022 02:18 (two months ago) link

xp seems more likely that the Mariners manage to collapse despite their incredibly easy schedule and extend the playoff drought

JoeStork, Saturday, 24 September 2022 03:32 (two months ago) link

ugh, that game might have been the death blow, but what can you do, you can't count on sweeping the astros

Guayaquil (eephus!), Sunday, 25 September 2022 16:11 (two months ago) link

Bradish is absolutely baffling to me.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 28 September 2022 00:35 (one month ago) link

This game.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Wednesday, 28 September 2022 01:04 (one month ago) link

so, after that crazy summer push, feels like a bit of a let down to not nab the third wc spot, but locking in at least .500 season and hanging in the playoff race through september is a huge achievement for a team that hasn't had a winning record in five seasons and has lost well over 100 games in three of those seasons. rutschman and henderson look like the real deal.

j.q higgins, Sunday, 2 October 2022 14:43 (one month ago) link

one month passes...

ramon urias winning a gold glove and jorge mateo winning a fielding bible award were not things i expected out of 2022.

j.q higgins, Thursday, 3 November 2022 16:32 (three weeks ago) link


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