The Orioles officially have surpassed their win total from 2011, winning their 70th game on Monday night versus the White Sox. The organization has finally started to turn things around, as they are in a well-publicized playoff hunt and on pace for their first winning season since Davey Johnson was manager north of the BWI. A year full of “Orioles Magic” has been a long time coming in Baltimore, but has been a long work in progress as well.
Though his tenure here was not only brief, but extremely disappointing, Andy MacPhail actually laid the ground work for the team that is winning games at what seems to be a rapid rate this season. Though the Orioles have witnessed momentous failures (Brian Matusz, Mark Reynolds and Felix Pie), the core of this group can be credited to MacPhail’s tenure in Baltimore. Now this does not mean that current GM, Dan Duquette, does not deserve his own fair share of the credit. The moves he made throughout the season have been unspectacular, yet crucial in their own right. Nobody thought the Wei-Yin Chen experiment would amount to anything, but he has exceeded probably his own expectations as the Orioles best and most reliable pitcher.
The Jason Hammel deal sent fan favorite, Jeremy Guthrie, out of town but in turn brought back two quality starters. Obviously Hammel has spent a good portion of the season on the DL, but pitched well enough to be considered a building block for the rotation. The Orioles also received Matt Lindstrom in return for Guthrie, who now has been moved for Joe Saunders. Doing the math, any major league roster would take two quality starters for one. Add in moves to bring in Nate McLouth, Omar Quintanilla and Luis Ayala, while bringing up top positional prospect, Manny Machado; Duquette’s 2012 can be nothing more than remarkable.
But that does not take it account what he has inherited here in Baltimore; which is a lot more than anyone would have given him credit for in the offseason. MacPhail made the moves to acquire Adam Jones, Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy; who are the best hitters in this lineup not named Markakis. He drafted Gold Glove (and fan favorite) catcher Matt Wieters, rising star Manny Machado and the top prospect in the minors, Dylan Bundy; none of which with the first pick in the draft.
So five of six most productive starters in the lineup came from the daunted MacPhail era, along with the future Ace of the rotation. But most importantly, he is the one get Buck Showalter off MLB tonight and back into the dugout. MacPhail is the one to recognize Buck as the fit to lead this roster past a decade and a half ineptitude. So even though he never was able to make the small moves, which sets rosters apart from winners to losers, he made the big picture for the Orioles much better for present day and the future.