Let’s rewind to June 2007. Andy MacPhail had just taken over the Orioles, and all signs pointed to a major rebuild. He was going to focus on scouting and development, build up through the system, and when the time was right, he was going to dip into the free agent market if that player or players would set the O’s over the top.
In August 2010, Buck Showalter took over the Orioles. He referenced Mel Gibson and the movie Braveheart when he talked about how the O’s would have to hold, hold, hold onto their resources (aka money) and then when they were on the verge of competing, that “hold” would turn into “now.”
All of these philosophies were true when Andy and Buck took over the O’s at their respective times. At neither point were the Orioles anywhere close to contending. It would have been foolish for Andy MacPhail to heavily dip into the free agent market when he got to Baltimore in 2007, just as it would have been for Buck to get greedy and demand instant free agent players prior to 2011.
Just as those philosophies were true at those respective times, they are still true today as Dan Duquette has taken the keys to the dented ’99 Ford Taurus in Birdland.
Of course, fans don’t want to hear that. Most people are like, “Are you kidding me? We’ve lost for 14 straight seasons, I can’t take anymore building. We’ve been building for a decade.”
No, no they haven’t.
The Orioles haven’t REALLY undertaken a major rebuild yet during their streak of losing seasons. Andy MacPhail had a nice start prior to 2008 when he made some key trades, but then he took a break for a while and watched teams like Tampa Bay and Toronto execute a greater rebuild even though they were already closer to competing than the O’s were at the time.
Still to this day, the O’s are in desperate need of a total organizational rebuild.
Their drafting system and strategy needs to be completely overhauled. The O’s need to re-invest heavily overseas in the Dominican, Venezuela, etc. Koji Uehara was nice in 2009, but the Orioles’ presence in the Japanese market needs to be a bit better than that. And finally, the Orioles need to develop their minor leagues the same way they did back in their glory years. Implement a system that is executed throughout each level of the minors. Establish an “Orioles Way” that is actually a model rather than a punchline.