Abandon Hope, All Ye Orioles Fans, For 2020
It’s official: The 2020 Orioles will stink.
That’s not exactly lurching deep into Nostradamus territory. With seasons of 115 and 108 losses as prologue – the worst two years in franchise history -- it’s not a stretch to think that the new season won’t be much better than the last two.
Still, the Orioles pretty much crushed the hopes and dreams of whatever 2020 could be into so much dust with the trades of pitchers Dylan Bundy and Andrew Cashner and second baseman Jonathan Villar.
The Cashner deal in July to the Red Sox for two minor leaguers was a foretaste, not of glory divine, but, instead of a massive rebuild.
Villar, meanwhile, was dealt to the Miami Marlins, in what can only be described as a salary dump, as he was scheduled to make roughly $10 million in the coming season and could be a free agent after that.
However, it’s the trade of Bundy to the Los Angeles Angels for four pitching prospects last week that provides the biggest harbinger of the waiving of a white flag.
While none of these three will likely be enshrined in Cooperstown, what they represented collectively was a sign that the club took the 2020 season seriously and wanted to provide fans a reason to come to Oriole Park.
Instead, general manager Mike Elias has launched a reconstruction project that appears to have multiple years as its length.
Elias, who arrived here after the 2018 season from the Houston Astros organization, seems to have the green light to, in effect, put a wrecking ball to the franchise.
After all, he wasn’t responsible for bringing Villar, Bundy or Cashner to Baltimore, nor hardly any other players who are here for that matter.
So, in theory, Elias has the permission of John and Louis Angelos, the sibling duo who run the club, to tear it all down and start over.
The hopeful result of it all, of course, is that when the reclamation project is done the Orioles will resemble the Astros, who have won a World Series title and an American League pennant in the last three seasons.
And that’s all well and good, but that kind of thinking leads one to wonder a couple of things.
First, what if Elias is wrong? His pedigree, from such a successful organization, is admittedly impressive, but Elias has never run an organization before.
He has already rubbed some feathers within the franchise the wrong way with his dismissal of longtime scouts and employees. Meanwhile, attendance was at an all-time low, in 2019 and that’s when there was hope, albeit minimal.
And that brings us to the second question, which is why would anyone go to see what pledges to be a mess?
One of the joys of the winter for baseball fans is the hope that your team has a chance to contend, an opportunity to make the coming spring, summer and maybe fall meaningful.
The current forecast calls for winter to last well past April, June or September. And asking Orioles fans to weather this may be a bit too much.
And that’s how I see it for this week. You can reach us via email with your questions and comments at Sports at Large at gmail.com. And follow me on Twitter at Sports at Large.
Until next week, for all of us here, I’m Milton Kent. Thanks for listening and enjoy the games.