Baltimore Orioles: Untouchable players if Orioles decide to rebuild

Jun 7, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini (16) celebrates with teammates after hitting a walk off home run in the eleventh inning to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-6 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 7, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini (16) celebrates with teammates after hitting a walk off home run in the eleventh inning to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-6 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Orioles are a team that is struggling in a major way, and while the team isn’t done, there are very few signs of the team turning it around, either.

It is next to impossible to consider that the Baltimore Orioles were the best team in baseball just over a month ago.

Since then, the team has imploded.

Starting pitching has been miserable outside of Dylan Bundy. Relief pitching has suffered from injuries and a weak middle bullpen, which has often been needed due to the subpar starting pitching.

More from Baltimore Orioles

Many people are saying the Orioles should turn toward rebuilding. That may be a bit premature, but it is worth a look.

So, let’s take a look.

Untouchable players (on the 40-man roster): 1B Trey Mancini, 2B Jonathan Schoop, OF/DH Mark Trumbo, SP Dylan Bundy, RP Mychal Givens, SP Chris Lee, SP Jesus Liranzo, SP Gabriel Ynoa, SP Alec Asher

For position players, that’s it. Chance Sisco isn’t on the 40-man roster. I’d keep Joseph as your reliable backup but offer Castillo to anyone who wants him, and when healthy he has been excellent this year.

I would also be willing to trade Chris Davis if you could find someone to take him. The defense is a plus, and so is the power. But the contract looks bad and the strikeouts, especially this season, look worse.

J.J. Hardy is likely gone at the end of the year if his contract doesn’t vest, and all Oriole fans should hope it doesn’t. Let’s offer him up and see if someone wants a still good defensive shortstop.

I don’t have any reason to keep Seth Smith, Hyun Soo Kim or Joey Rickard. Smith and Kim are on short contracts, with Kim a free agent after 2017, so if you are going to rebuild they aren’t necessary.

Adam Jones is a bit more complicated, as this guy is arguably the face of the Orioles. But, he is getting older, and more injury prone as well. Cedric Mullins has emerged as the center fielder of the future. Could Jones be a valuable piece as a leader? Yes. But, the Orioles didn’t pay Nick Markakis to do that (which in hindsight was a bad decision), so why Jones.

Manny Machado is the first person I would try to trade. Teams will look past his terrible 2017 at the plate and realize he is a top ten player in baseball. The Orioles need pitching. This is how you can get it.

As for pitching, many of these guys are gone at the end of the year as it is, and it is probably a good thing. I would probably pick up Wade Miley‘s option, while Ubaldo Jimenez and Chris Tillman go. It is a sad fall from grace for Tillman, who has not been good.

More from The Baltimore Wire

I would be willing to trade Kevin Gausman because I don’t know if he can turn it around in Baltimore. I don’t get it. He was fantastic to end 2016. Is it a different pitching coach? Maybe. Is it the pressure of being an Opening Day starter? Shouldn’t be. Is it in his head? Possibly. I don’t know. His value has never been lower, nor has his ability.

As for the bullpen, you have some tough choices. I’m trading Zach Britton, knowing he is a top closer. That means that you can try to make Brad Brach the closer long-term, or trade him as well. If it is a real fire sale, you don’t need a closer and trade Brach. Darren O’Day can close (another bad contract) or Mychal Givens, who I would build the bullpen around.

Now, there aren’t replacements at every position in the minor leagues, but keeping only the untouchables and some other bench type players, let’s look at what the 25-man roster would look like after the trade deadline if I were general manager.

Also, I am getting rid of Ubaldo. I’ll eat that contract. I’m also not even considering players whose contracts are wrapping up. In a real world, they would likely not be going anywhere, but I’m planning for the future:

Catcher: Chance Sisco, Caleb Joseph

Infield: Trey Mancini, Jonathan Schoop, Ryan Flaherty, Drew DoschRuben Tejada (Ryan Mountcastle isn’t ready yet (but should be promoted to Double-A Bowie), so Flaherty plays shortstop, Dosch at third base. Tejada as a utility infielder. Chris Johnson would also be a good fit as a DH)

Outfield: Joey Rickard, Craig Gentry, Anthony Santander, Mike Yastrzemski

Starting Rotation: Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Wade Miley, Alec Asher, Gabriel Ynoa

Bullpen: Darren O’Day, Mychal Givens, Donnie Hart, Mike Wright, Jimmy Yacabonis, Richard Bleier, Logan Verrett, Miguel Castro

This team allows players who need more seasoning to get it in the minor leagues while promoting players who deserve to have a chance to show what they can do.

One would hope that if the Orioles traded players like Machado, Davis, Jones, Welington Castillo and more, it would provide at least one major league caliber starting pitcher, and another who would be ready in 2018.

If it is really time to blow up the Orioles, the team needs to make a cornerstone building trade, like the one made to acquire Jones and Tillman.

Next: Ravens finally acquire veteran receiver

No, it didn’t end up in a World Series win. But, it restored the Orioles to respectability.

Now is time to transform the Orioles into a young team with the pieces to compete for a World Championship, even if takes a few years to get there.