So, Manny Machado is really gone. The deal that no one really wanted, yet virtually every one knew had to happen actually happened last Wednesday, as Machado was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for five minor league prospects.
Now that the deal has been done, it’s time for the Orioles to come up with a post-Manny plan, to figure out what to do now that the breakup is official.
In case they’re not sure, I’ve come up with a five step program. They can thank me later.
Machado will not be the only Orioles stalwart to be traded before July 31, the non-waiver trading deadline. As we mentioned last week, players on the order of Adam Jones, Brad Brach and Zach Britton will almost certainly have new addresses before we flip the next calendar page.
If the Machado deal is any indicator, the Orioles are likely to try to load up on young players from other organizations. Given the dreadful current state of the franchise, that’s a wise approach.
And once August 1 arrives, the club should immediately announce that ticket prices will be slashed for the rest of this season and all of 2019. The team is about to resemble a minor league outlet. There’s no reason to charge loyal fans major league prices.
Secondly, the Orioles need to back up a Brink’s truck to second baseman Jonathan Schoop and lock him into a long term contract, one that demonstrates to the fan base that they really are committed to rewarding excellence, something they failed to do with Machado.
Third, as we mentioned last week, the Orioles have the dubious distinction of having one of the worst farm systems in baseball.
In particular, they are said to spend relatively little on identifying and developing players from Latin America, a fertile ground from which some of baseball’s best players, past, present and future, have come.
If the Orioles are to be relevant at any point in the next decade, they will have to beef up their operations in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Cuba.
The Machado trade will actually help in bolstering the farm system. The team picked up five prospects, one of whom, outfielder Yusniel Diaz, was a jewel of the Dodgers system.
Diaz, who hit two home runs in the futures All-Star Game last week, could be a Camden Yards mainstay for decades, but only if the Orioles are smart.
They can’t rush the haul they got from the Dodgers just to prove they got something for Machado. A little patience is in order in all corners of the team’s warehouse headquarters.
And that brings us to step five. The perfect solution to the stink bomb the Orioles have become would be for some rich local benefactor to buy the club from Peter Angelos and his sons to start to restore this team’s tattered reputation.
Since that’s not likely to happen, the next best thing would be for the meddlesome Angelos family to give manager Buck Showalter and general manager Dan Duquette contract extensions, then step out of the way and give them time to fix what is wrong.
And boy, will they need some time!
And that’s how I see it for this week.