Thursday morning musings –
Lots of conjecture by national media folks that our own Orioles are the “front-runners” in the Jeff Samardzjia sweepstakes. I’m not sure what “front-runner” means in this case. Does it indicate that Dan Duquette has made the most phone calls to Cubs GM Theo Epstein? Have the Birds offered the most players? Is the quality ranking of the prospects the Orioles have dangled in front of Chicago better than any other inquiring team?
Whatever the case, I’m not buying it.
It’s not in Dan Duquette’s DNA to give away high-profile minor-leaguers like Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey. Most people think at least two of those players would have to be included in a deal involving Samardzjia, who would undoubtedly help any pitching-starved playoff contender.
Would I support a deal for Samardzjia? Sure. These opportunities to challenge for a division pennant and work your way into the World Series don’t come around much. In fact, in Baltimore, the World Series logo hasn’t been painted on the stadium grass since 1983, so we know all too well about the rarity factor of late October baseball.
But, there’s a difference between “supporting a deal” and saying, “We have to get Jeff Samardjzia or we’re doomed.”
Jeff Samardzjia, as his career numbers show, is a good pitcher who is having an outstanding season. I’m not saying his 2014 is a fluke — but I will say he isn’t a pitcher who’s going to come to the American League and sport a 1.97 ERA in 13 starts to end the season.
Would I take him in a deadline deal to help bolster the Orioles pitching staff? Sure. But not if means the Birds get fleeced in the process.
I understand the concept of drafting young players and grooming them for the future from within your own organization. That’s a noble concept. It’s also an idea that often times falls short of expectations because you’re drafting kids, for the most part, who still have plenty of growing to do, both physically and mentally.
I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Kevin Gausman over the last two seasons during his occasional action in Baltimore, but by no means am I ready to stamp him as a can’t miss, sure-fire-thing in the big leagues. Still, let’s keep in mind he was a 1st round draft pick for a reason.
Dylan Bundy? Might turn out to be terrific once he fully recovers from Tommy John surgery. Might turn out to be just another guy who everyone thought was going to be good. Ready to give up on him? Not this guy.
Hunter Harvey? He evidently has “electric stuff” in the low level minor leagues. Throw those pitches to Miguel Cabrera in three years and get back to me with the results. There’s a big difference between striking out ten kids making $900 a month at Delmarva and forcing Mike Trout to look foolish on a Thursday night in September.
That said, while those three in particular are still very much unproven in the majors, they’re always going to be part of a any deal involving a quality player because that’s just the way deadline deals work.
In other words, like I always say, if you want to play at the $50 a hand poker table, you can’t go up there with a bunch of quarters and expect to hang around very long.
If the Orioles really feel like the team is now to contend, they’re going to have a tough decision to make in six weeks as it relates to Samardjzia. It would be a huge gamble on their part, because Samardjzia is far from a slam-dunk. He’s never pitched in the American League, for starters. He’s essentially been a “good-to-very-good” pitcher in the National League, but let’s not mistake him for Adam Wainwright or Zack Greinke.
To Drew, it’s not a gamble worth taking if the deal involves Gausman or Bundy.