If you are a fan of the Baltimore Orioles, you flip out a lot in the offseason.
Like the Geico commercial … it’s what you do.
If you’re the guy from the Operation Game, you get operated on; it’s what you do. If you’re Peter Pan, you stay young; it’s what you do. If you’re a free-range chicken, you roam free; it’s what you do. And if you’re a fan of the Orioles, you probably flip out a lot about both the moves that are made and moves that are not made.
Four years ago on Monday, the Orioles claimed Darren O’Day off waivers from the Texas Rangers. One would have to say that, even though he is now a free agent that more likely than not will command more money than the Orioles are willing to pay, it has been a good four years.
The numbers are consistently excellent; and in fact, O’Day got better each season over the past four years. It adds up to a cumulative record of 23-8 in 273 games. All of this with an ERA of 1.92 (1.52 this year) and a WHIP under 1.0 … at 0.939. That is simply stellar stuff.
MASN writer Roch Kubatko opined in an article yesterday that very likely on the day of the O’Day acquisition in 2011, the fanbase reaction was to see it as “a transaction that probably had the most sarcastic fans wondering when they could purchase World Series tickets.” This is of course the snarky comment that often gets used when a fan is underwhelmed by a transaction.
So, being one who enjoys looking at what was thought at a given time versus what is concluded from the grand perspective of hindsight, I researched the article written that day to see what was said in the comments.
Actually, to be truthful, there were just as many positives as negatives. This move was done during the brief time that the Orioles were without a GM or VP of Baseball Operations — and that vacancy was being as much discussed as the O’Day waiver claim.
My own blog entry on that day (before I was with this FanSided Network) was speaking of this, without any comment on O’Day. Jerry Dipota (who was the interim GM in Arizona) had just agreed to go to the Angels and Tony DeCava had decided to stay in Toronto, prompting me to write: It certainly seems like the Arizona guy was the best choice. However, I have to say I’m not grieved to see the Toronto dude turn down the Birds. Toronto?? We need to go to the Blue Jays organization for a GM? Man, that really feels wrong! If he was so good, then why aren’t the Jays actual winners?
Several fans wrote of being glad that the Orioles were not spending too much money on relief pitchers who fail, as one said: Unfortunately, the typical Orioles bullpen pick-up of late hasn’t been a low-risk acquisition like this, but instead has been unnecessarily throwing millions of dollars at veteran scrubs who will cost the team draft picks. This is a change of pace, not more of the same. It’s a welcome adjustment in philosophy. Nice low-risk move.
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But the boo-birds were present as well, as some were noting the trend toward players from Texas coming to Baltimore (like the recent trade of Koji Uehara for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter). Among such comments were: Well, seems like this is becoming Rangers East!
Another said: Don’t know how I feel about this guy–other than skeptical–but can we have Koji back next?
And then there were just a few of the more caustic remarks, like: This O’Day person is a typical Orioles pick-up, with little to no relevance at best, but at least it shows that someone is behind the driving wheel … Sorry, but teams don’t just dump 1.94 ERA, 0.88 WHIP pitchers. His injuries must have been barn burners; the kind in which the poor fellow does not see the light of day again.
This same negative writer asked Roch for any news on how players might be reacting to the news of DeCava not coming to the Orioles … speculating that Adam Jones and Matt Wieters would get out of town ASAP … saying: “Surely, they can’t be under any illusions about any serious winning any longer, assuming they ever were.”
Well, since then the Orioles are 355-293 for an average of 89 wins per season. But predicting the Orioles to be the offseason version of the Titanic is … well … it’s what you do in Baltimore.