The Baltimore Orioles are coming off two victories, the latest being a 12-1 romp over the Texas Rangers highlighted by strong pitching and Chris Davis‘ 6 RBIs.
Around the same time, the Baltimore Orioles were in the midst of their victory over the Rangers Tuesday night, and word came out that Peter Angelos has given Dan Duquette the go-ahead to trade several players, including Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Darren O’Day and Seth Smith if it helps the team.
Now, some fans who on Sunday wanted to sell now may be reconsidering, thinking that the Orioles could contend in 2017.
Are both mutually exclusive?
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Can the Orioles sell from their strong bullpen, Smith, Welington Castillo, and possibly others and still be a team that can contend for a Wild Card spot.
Yes, they can.
An article posted highlights today how the Orioles are very good at building talented bullpens.
Look at what they did with Jim Johnson and Zach Britton. Two fledging starters who became excellent relievers.
So, say the team only keeps Darren O’Day and Mychal Givens. Or maybe only Givens?
The bullpen would likely become one of those two as closer, likely O’Day since he has experience.
They would be joined by Donnie Hart, Miguel Castro, Richard Bleier, all key parts of the bullpen who are doing well. Alec Asher would be a candidate to rejoin the bullpen, as someone who did well in short appearances earlier in 2017.
No, it isn’t as good as the bullpen is currently. Yes, they are going to leave up more runs. But, it should be good enough.
If the Orioles trade Seth Smith, can they handle his departure? Yes, they definitely can.
Sure, Smith offers a little more power in the outfield than Hyun Soo Kim or Joey Rickard, but that’s OK. The Orioles have plenty of power, and they need people who can get on base. Kim and Rickard are both players who do a good job of working counts. Also, if an outfielder were traded, Craig Gentry would likely be brought back to the majors, presenting a speed element the Orioles don’t have right now.
That brings us to the catcher position. If the Orioles can find a buyer for Welington Castillo, would they suffer at the catcher position?
Caleb Joseph has had a solid year for the Orioles. In fact, if the Orioles knew they were going to get this type of offense from Joseph, they may not have signed Castillo.
With Castillo expendable, Joseph would be able to slide to starting catcher. He not only has strong offensive numbers in limited appearances, but he also is a better defensive catcher than Castillo is.
As for his backup, there are two options. One is Francisco Pena being promoted and serving as the reserve catcher, which would be warranted.
The other is to realize this movement to the future, highlighted with the trades being made, and bring up Chance Sisco.
Sure, Sisco’s defense is still a work in progress. He doesn’t throw out a ton of runners. But, let him be in the majors, working with Joseph and John Russell on a daily basis.
But, his offense is ready for the major leagues. He continues to hit at AAA, and he is another guy who is a contact hitter, something that the Orioles need.
The Orioles are a team that needs to do better offensively in getting on base. All the power in the world doesn’t matter if no one is on base and all your home runs are solo shots.
One could make a case that having Joseph as the starting catcher would improve the team.
Others would say that Hyun Soo Kim and Joey Rickard could replace Seth Smith without a drop-off.
So, you want to ask whether the Orioles can be sellers and still contend?
They most definitely can. The fate of the 2017 Baltimore Orioles will rely on their starting pitching.
If the rotation continues to pitch well, as they have so far against Texas, they will have a shot at making the playoffs, despite making trades that will make the team (and hopefully rotation) better for the future.
If the rotation pitches as they did against the Chicago Cubs, it will further display why selling is the right move for the Baltimore Orioles.