Drama Surrounds Baltimore Orioles Push Toward Postseason


Jun 29, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter (26) looks on during the game against the Texas Rangers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles’ franchise has turned around in many ways over the last five years, and there are numerous people who are partly responsible for that.

Andy MacPhail deserves credit for trading Erik Bedard for team cornerstones Adam Jones and Chris Tillman, and also trading for J.J. Hardy.

There is the development of Manny Machado.

But most people point to Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter joining the Baltimore Orioles as a big part of their turnaround.

Now, as the Orioles attempt to earn their way into the 2015 postseason, the drama is swirling around the team.

This isn’t a new occurrence. It all started with Dan Duquette’s dalliance with the Toronto Blue Jays during the offseason. Peter Angelos would not let Duquette go to Toronto for the higher-paying, higher-profile position, and so Duquette stayed in Baltimore.

Many called Duquette’s offseason ‘uninspiring.’ Key acquisitions for the 2015 season included Travis Snider, Wesley Wright, and Everth Cabrera. How many of those are still on the team? Zero.

You could tell in some of Buck’s comments that losing Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz was not exactly popular, among the players or the coaches.

Recently, the columns about growing tension between Buck and Dan continue to grow. It started with articles by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.

Now, the latest from Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports, only adds to the growing popular sentiment that all is not well.

It is important to emphasize that none of this is really new information. There may be new ‘sources’ among the FO expressing dissent, but the overall issues are not new. But, a lot of the national media is running with it, with the O’s currently on the outside looking in. In fact, O’s beat reporter Roch Kubatko commented on one of his blogs that much of this is old news and there is very little new content.

But, let’s look at some of the issues reported in the article.

Rosenthal writes that Peter Angelos wouldn’t let Duquette leave, discontent started to grow. Reasons for the frustration reportedly include the lack of replacements for Markakis and Cruz. The lack of impact from the numerous offseason signings made by Duquette.

Also cited is the continued failings of the Orioles’ farm system, which despite successful seasons among many teams, continues to not produce major league players.

Rick Peterson and the opinion of the O’s minor league pitching development director also appears to be an issue, as well as the fact that most of the minor league coaches do not have a contract entering the offseason.

None of these items shock me, nor should they most fans. If Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz were still on this team, the O’s would almost certainly be division leaders. The players signed to be starters this year didn’t look great on paper, and didn’t play as well as touted by Duquette. Now, none are with the team.

The minor leagues continues to not provide the Orioles with players successful enough to become major league contributors. Sure, there are players like Jonathan Schoop and Manny, but they are the exception.

And the fact that the Orioles haven’t developed a starting pitcher who has been a quality major league starter since Mike Mussina has not been rectified since Duquette came to town. Well, some have developed, but were traded away (Zach Davies and Eduardo Rodriguez.)

Rosenthal says that Buck doesn’t want to be the GM, but he would like more say in decisions. I don’t have a problem with that.  I think the manager should have some input, as he is the one who knows his team best. I’m not sure Duquette agrees.

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Let’s be honest, as much as Peter Angelos and his family can be chastised, they are not dumb. They realize the role Buck Showalter plays as a manager, and how much he means to the City of Baltimore.

If there is dissent, and a change has to be made, I can’t see Showalter going anywhere.

And after a year that saw a team underwhelm, maybe a change does need to made.

The Orioles still have a fighting chance to make the playoffs, and are playing their best baseball right now.

The offseason was always going to be absolutely crucial to the Baltimore Orioles’ future. With all of these rumors, the Orioles will need to do more than just sign free agents.  They also are likely going to have to find a way to deal with the issues in management too.

Hang on folks, if you think it is interesting in Baltimore now, this might just be the start.

Next: Looking back at Yogi Berra's play against the Orioles