The Baltimore Orioles are mired in one of their worst seasons ever, and while the team is beginning to look toward the future, part of that involves who will manage the team.
Some people still think he is one of the best managers in baseball. Others have been soured by the empty words, such as improving the defense, improving on-base percentage and those not coming to fruition.
Sure, Buck is only the manager and not the general manager, but he is a manager with a lot of clouts. Showalter has rubbed some Oriole fans who support a rebuild the wrong way with his comments during Spring Training toward Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays.
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He has his strengths, which include getting the most out of the entire franchise, keeping his bullpen healthy, and for the most part, using his bullpen successfully. He also has his weaknesses, such as loyalty to his veterans and staying with starting pitchers too long.
Wednesday, an interesting interview with Showalter was published by Fangraphs on his thoughts on baseball analytics, among other things.
This article certainly pushes back on anyone who thinks the Orioles are not taking sabermetrics, analytics and modern baseball into account.
However, one of the more interesting quotes looks back at the offseason and the lack of big contracts.
"“But I’ll tell you one thing that did change. This offseason was the first time I saw front offices not do something they’ve done in the past. There was no collusion, no whatever. It was all about looking analytically at a player and saying, ‘He’s not worth X.’ And they stuck to it. Front offices are smarter with their contracts than they had been. Some of these that are held over… I guarantee you, if you sign a guy to a seven-year contract, you’re going to be lucky if you’re happy for four of those seven.”"
A little buyer’s remorse, perhaps?
Regarding the some of these that are held over, Oriole fans can’t help but think of the situation the team is in with Chris Davis.
Davis is currently the worst player in baseball. His WAR is -2.2. He is hitting .150/.227/.227. He’s also has a seven-year contract worth $161 million dollars. To do the math, that is an average of $23 million dollars a year.
Lastly, Davis hasn’t had any good seasons. In 2016, the first year of the deal, he hit .221/.332/.459 with 38 home runs and 219 strikeouts, which led baseball.
In 2017, he hit .215/.309/.423 with 26 home runs and 195 strikeouts.
The Orioles certainly enjoyed the years in 2013 and 2015, where he led baseball in home runs, and particularly 2013, where he was one of the best players in the game. Could Showalter also be throwing a little shade at the Orioles’ management here?
Much has been made about the pursuit of Davis, and rumors that the Orioles were effectively bidding against themselves. Maybe they would have been ‘smart’ themselves in 2016, and not given the contract to Davis they did had Peter Angelos not stepped in. Angelos was a Davis fan, and he helped make the deal happen.
Now, the Orioles are stuck with a bloated seven-year deal, and it appears may not get one good year out of it.
Meanwhile, one of the best players to ever put an Orioles uniform is likely to be traded, because the team can’t afford to keep him when he hits free agency. It is hard to be a Baltimore Orioles fan, isn’t it?