We have heard it all offseason; we have heard it for the past decade. After Orioles owner Peter Angelos was quoted saying Baltimore is a “limited market.” GM Dan Duquette has reiterated those sentiments, discussing the minute “resources” and trying to stay “competitive” against the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox.
We all know the real story there; the owner refuses to open his wallet, knowing he is going to take $3.50 from every household in the Baltimore area for his MASN network. The reports circle every offseason how much Angelos grosses from his TV deal, but we all know that money will never be re-allocated to the roster, while he is in charge.
In the end, he is the owner and that is his prerogative; he can basically run his “business” however he so chooses (even if that means spitting in the face of those who fatten his pockets; but that’s a different story, which is already well reported by the WNST staff). If Angelos is going to stick to that “business plan” (if you want to call it that), then the team must operate as such.
Every offseason for the past ten or so years, we hear about those players that the Orioles are “interested” in acquiring. Whether it is Mark Teixeira or Zack Greinke or Nelson Cruz, everyone knows the real story; the team will not pony up enough to garner their services, but cry that those players would not sign in Baltimore. So as a fan base, this is a plea for the the organization to stop with this nonsense.
It is time for the Orioles front office to embrace the “limited market” mantra they have been spewing for years. Stop acting as if the team will be actual players in the offseason; start acting like the team that will build from within.
Andy McPhail started that idea years ago; after moving Erik Bedard for Adam Jones (a move that panned out pretty damn well). But those are the smart (and tough) decisions the organization has evaded, since their resurgence in 2012. Take emotion out of your moves; basically make decisions with your head and not your heart.
The team traded away Closer Jim Johnson, one year too late and could not capitalize on his value at the time. A contending team like the Dodgers or Tigers or Cardinals (I know I’ve said this before) would have given up an everyday player or at least some top level prospects in return if they would have pulled the trigger last offseason. Instead, the Orioles received a struggling 25 year, who was demoted to Triple A in 2013.
The same goes for fan favorite Matt Wieters; he’s been a gold-glover and an All-Star, but is he really worth the $100 that his agent (noted Orioles pain in the ass, Scott Boras) will ask for. The question is now what can you get in return for an overworked catcher, who is slow and cannot hit above .250? If they would have considered moving Wieters before last season, they would have returned several top prospects and MLB players, while his value was at an all-time high. Now, no one can even be sure Wieters can get back even one everyday player or starting pitcher.
The point is that if you want to pretend that Baltimore is such a “limited” market than put your business plan in place as such. Do not keep stringing along the hopes of fans holding out that the team will actually sign a Shin Shoo-Choo; start following the same model of successful “limited” market teams, like the Tampa Bay Rays.
Before last season, they traded away a pretty good top-of-the-rotation starter in James Shields. In return they only received…the top prospect in baseball in OF Wil Myers and the Royals best pitching prospect, Jake Odorizzi.
Now the team is in the same bind with former Cy Young Award Winner, David Price. Since their actual resources are limited, they understand they cannot retain him under their budget. In turn, the Rays, a perennial winning franchise in baseball, is looking to deal one of the top five best pitchers in the entire MLB.
And why? Because they understand value and have a business plan in place for the next several years. They are stocked with young talent on throughout their farm system and continually replace players, like Price or Shields, with more top prospects.
The Orioles brass seem to have little grasp of this concept, especially after standing still for the past two offseasons. The tough moves are always the hardest, but will always help in the long scheme of things. If the front office has no intentions of keeping around some of the team’s “star” players in the not too distant future, (i.e. Chris Davis) then why not make the tough decision now.
If the slugger is not in your future plans or budget, then why not recoup as much as possible for players the Orioles will have control over for the next seven-eight years. Teams would be lining up with their best offers to acquire the services of a power-hitting first baseman with two years left of team control.
But then again this is the Orioles we are talking about. They will bank you parking your butt in the seats at Camden Yards for the next two seasons, to watch “Crush” hit bombs towards the warehouse. All the while, you handing them money for tickets and hot dogs and beers and merchandise.