Remember Andy “McFail” MacPhail? Turns out he wasn’t a failure. MacPhail was brought on board as the Baltimore Orioles President of Baseball Operations in the summer of 2007 with the intention of bringing the winning ways back to Baltimore. During his four years with the organization, he wasn’t necessarily a fan favorite, but in reality look at what he’s done to help improve the team. MacPhail didn’t just improve the team he set the team up for success in the many years to come. From finding talent in the draft, trades/acquisitions brought in, to the hiring of Buck Showalter, turns out this guy didn’t do that bad of a job at all.
The Baltimore Orioles top prospects in the minors, pitcher Dylan Bundy and SS/3B Manny Machado are considered to be the future of the Orioles in the next year or two to come. Both players were first round selections in the draft. Machado, drafted in 2010, was one of the top prospects coming out of high school. He made his major league debut with Orioles minor league team, Gulf Coast League Orioles and in just his second game, he hit his first homerun. Machado began the 2011 season with the Delmarva Shorebirds and after hitting five home runs at the end of April and his successful season, he was selected to play in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game. After the game, he was then promoted to the High-A Frederick Keys. Bundy, drafted in 2011, was another stellar prospect that fell to the Orioles. He attended high school in his hometown of Oklahoma where he was exceptional. In his senior year, Bundy posted a 0.25 ERA with 158K’s. He made his professional debut with the Shorebirds striking-out six batters over three innings. Through thirty innings of work, Bundy was able to maintain an electric 0.00 ERA with 40K’s. Just recently, he was promoted to the Frederick Keys where he joins Machado. Machado and Bundy are the two Orioles minor league representatives to appear in the 2012 All-Star Futures Game July 8th in Kansas City.
Andy MacPhail has to be recognized for the job he’s done bringing in players through trades. Most of the players that he’s given away haven’t panned out, but in return the Orioles were rewarded. The most successful trade that hasn’t gone unnoticed was trading away pitcher Erik Bedard for in return, the emerging all-star outfielder Adam Jones. MacPhail also traded away Koji Uehara for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter who is currently in the starting rotation. Chris Davis’ power numbers have carried over from Texas where he is currently batting with a .273 average, with 12 homeruns and 31 RBI’s. Tommy Hunter, even though he hits a roadblock here and there, is starting to turn the corner. Other notable players that MacPhail has acquired that have made an impact to the team’s success are Robert Andino (traded Hayden Penn to Marlins), J.J. Hardy (two minor league players sent to Minnesota) and Pedro Strop (traded Michael Gonzalez to Texas Rangers). The Orioles didn’t lose anything in the players MacPhail gave away to acquire these players. In fact, we had the better of the deals with every trade.
In 2010, MacPhail made one brilliant move that has that has been one of the reasons for the Orioles turnaround. During the 2010 season, MacPhail parted ways with GM Dave Trembley and brought in Buck Showalter. Even though the season was yet another losing season last year, the players played with fire to finish the season under Showalter. Under Showalter, the Orioles ended the year on a high note with optimism. They were finally able to experience the atmosphere of playoff baseball on the last game of the season last year, knocking the Red Sox out of playoff contention, winning 4-3 on Robert Andino’s game-winning hit. Showalter’s track record shows that he’s been able to turn teams around in his second year as manager. This season is Showalter’s second season with the Orioles and you can see the difference. The Orioles are relevant in June, sitting with a 40-31 record and having one of the top five best records in baseball. Showalter is definitely one of the best, if not the best manager we’ve had in the organization for quite some time. We’re in contention!
After spending five years with the team, general manager Andy Macphail parted ways with the Orioles. From 1994-2002, Duquette was the general manager of the Boston Red Sox. During those years, the Red Sox played exceptionally well, winning the AL East pennant in 1998. In 2004, when the Red Sox won the World Series, Duquette was the man in charge who put the team on the field. His most notable player acquisitions are pitchers Tim Wakefield and Pedro Martinez, outfielder Johnny Damon and catcher Jason Varitek.
Duqette joined the Baltimore Orioles with determination. This past off-season the team traded away Jeremy Guthrie for pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom. Also, he brought in Wei-Yin Chen and Luis Ayala. Judging from the way this season is turning out, Duquette knows what he’s doing. We have the pieces in place and with the trade deadline approaching and the Orioles playing relevant ball in June, Duquette will look to be aggressive. “We are in contention, so we are going to do whatever we can to make the playoffs.” Whether that means going after Garza, Saunders, Dempster, Soriano, Youkilis, etc., that remains to be seen, but it’s definitely going to be interesting the rest of the way. It’s time to get excited about Orioles baseball again!