Could an Unsuccessful 2014 Somehow Benefit the Orioles?Posted on December 14, 2013 by Dillon Atkinson
I'm going to put this in a very nice way... The Orioles have been quiet this off-season. The 2013 Winter Meetings were frustrating for Orioles fans to even think about. Some fans say that executive vice president Dan Duquette shouldn't have even shown up, that's how sad it was. But maybe Duquette has an idea of where he's going with this.. or maybe he doesn't, we as fans do not know. A lot of people feel that everything will be going down the drain if Baltimore fails to reach the playoffs in 2014. On the other hand, there are multiple reasons why it could be beneficial for the Orioles in 2015 and so on. Let's get started:
You all are probably thinking I'm silly, stupid, or both for thinking this could be beneficial. I'm going to keep this one short and simple. No money spent equals more money saved. Remember the big guy who crushed over 50 bombs for the O's in 2013 and was in the race for MVP? Yeah, he's going to be getting a big pay day after 2015. Let's keep that in mind.
Take Your Time With Your Top Prospects
It looks like the O's already are planning on taking their time with Jonathan Schoop. Either Ryan Flaherty or Jemile Weeks will be the Opening Day second baseman, thus giving Schoop more time to blossom. He's the least of my worries. My biggest concern is with Dylan Bundy, who had Tommy John Surgery less than a year ago. I'm afraid that the Orioles will rush him through his recovery to get him on the big league roster. If the Orioles are out of contention, they can take their time with Bundy and decrease the chances of him getting re-injured. If the Orioles can let Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Jonathan Schoop, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Mike Wright develop into what their potential is, there's no hurt. If they rush top prospects like these guys, it could possibly ruin the next few years for the player, or maybe even their MLB career.
2014 Trade Deadline
Nick Markakis is nearing the end of his six-year, $66.1M contract with the Orioles after the 2014 season. Unless the veteran right fielder takes a discount, his days in Baltimore could be very limited. If Markakis proves to people that his declining 2013 statistics were from an injury, then he could be targeted by a lot of contending teams at the 2014 non-waiver trade deadline. If he has a high OBP and is driving in runs in the first half of the season, trading him to a contender would be a great route for the O's to take. He will unlikely re-sign with the Orioles, so why keep him on the roster when you can get good, young talent in return. A couple years ago, the Giants gave Zack Wheeler to the Mets for a half a year of Carlos Beltran. It just goes to show that teams are willing to do what it takes to win it all. If there is a contender in serious need of an outfielder or a left-handed bat, they'll offer a trade that the Orioles would be foolish to decline.
Another possible trade target could be Chris Tillman. The tall right-hander has really progressed over the past couple years, and it's believed to still be going up. Since he got re-called in 2012, Tillman has a 25-10 record with a 3.48 ERA and one All-Star selection. If he can keep progressing, many teams will be interested at the deadline. Tillman would get a lot more value than Markakis, mainly because the team would be getting him for more than just a half a year. He can draw interest from every type of team in the MLB, because the 25-year old right-hander does not become a free agent until after the 2018 season. Having over four years control of a potential ace that already has experience in the majors... I can't even imagine what type of packages the Orioles would receive from teams to land Tillman. It would sure as hell be a lot.
Now, on to my last reason why an unsuccessful 2014 could help the Birds...
It Could Make Peter Angelos and/or Dan Duquette Wake The *BLEEP* Up
I know that I write for Orioles "Uncensored" but I still have to keep some explicit words out of the way. I'm not going to point the finger at one or the other between Angelos and Duquette. I'm not in the office with them, so I don't know how much breathing room Dan Duquette gets financially from Peter Angelos.
Here's the deal, though. Both Angelos and Duquette got a taste of Orioles Playoffs in 2012. They had a winning team in 2013, so they're still facing the correct path. If the Orioles finish below .500 in 2014, it can be used as a wake up call for Angelos and Duquette, saying "Look, your old method won't get us there. Change something up and fix it." Then you may see the Orioles making more moves than a Rule-Five selection in the 2014 Winter Meetings.
You can agree or disagree with everything that I have said. I want to hear your opinion, though. So leave a comment below, or tweet me at @DillonAtkinson_