I hate the phrase “do something,” as it’s often used shortsightedly, when the people involved are much more concerned with optics than they are actually solving problems.
Sometimes, the best option is to do nothing.
Orioles general manager Mike Elias effectively did nothing at the Trade Deadline, moving a couple of fringe pieces that have little value towards the theoretical competitive core of players that are currently in the organization. All the O’s best players — Cedric Mullins, Trey Mancini, John Means and Ryan Mountcastle — are still Orioles.
This year’s Trade Deadline in no way resembled the fire sale of 2018, when the O’s punted on their collection of productive players in favor of a long-term approach. Manny Machado, Zach (also known as Zack) Britton, Jonathan Schoop, Kevin Gausman and others were all traded away, mostly bringing back prospects that have yet to break out at the major league level.
It also looks nothing like what the Nationals did this week, which was turn the roster upside down and see what falls out. Like the Orioles in 2018, the Nats moved critical pieces of their organization, though their return looks to be far greater than that of the Orioles’ haul three years ago.
At the time, most of those moves were prudent. Perhaps trying to re-sign Machado might have been a better solution, but there’s no guarantee that the O’s front office hadn’t let that relationship deteriorate enough already. By and large, however, it made sense for the Orioles to unload their top-tier talent because the franchise was so far away from being able to compete at a high level.
Things have changed.
People can clown the Orioles all they want for their struggles this season, but those same people must admit that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
Some of Baltimore’s best prospects are already validating themselves at the major league level. Even a few of the less-ballyhooed ones have made an impact. One of them, Mullins, has become the team’s best player.
In shorter terms, the Orioles have a direction. It’s a clear direction, too, one that looks like it’s headed toward success.
Keeping these core players — Mullins, Mancini, Means and Mountcastle — not only means the “M” section of the roster will continue to run-on for what seems like forever, but it also ensures that when the rest of the Baby Birds arrive, they’ll have productive veterans ready to bring them along.
Like every other Orioles fan, I’m also sick and tired of the losing. But before this season began, I wrote about how the O’s prospects performed meant far more than the accumulating losses. Mullins’ leap towards stardom, Mountcastle’s validation of his hot 2020 season, Mancini’s comeback and Means’ incredible start show that there is indeed talent in Baltimore.
It’s a good thing they decided - this time around - to keep it.
When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.
Ricky, your first four paragraphs were written masterfully. You made it so intriguing to think that doing nothing at all is a workable strategy in itself, that I just had to click and read why this was the best route for the Orioles. Well Done!
Earlier in the day he told me if any of those four core players got traded, "we riot at sunset"