As Andy MacPhail spoke to reporters at Camden Yards today he again mentioned the club’s interest in acquiring a middle of the lineup bat.
I asked him if now that some of the young pitchers have made the Major Leagues and had some success, if the club is more open to trading some of its young pitching to get a bat.
“We always have to be open to whatever we think makes us better and we have to look at it on an individual basis. No grand pronouncements about whose not available, who is available, this, that.
“You evaluate each one on what you think makes sense for your franchise. Any trade has got to stand that individual scrutiny and it’s not about the grand design. Are you better after you make that deal or not?”
Since there are surely teams out there that can and have out-spent the Orioles in free agency, does MacPhail feel it makes more sense to go after a big bat through a trade?
“I don’t know. I’m not trying to be evasive, I’m just letting 35 years of experience tell. You just don’t know how these markets play out. Often, one domino falling in one direction, impacts the entire rest of the market for everybody. That’s the way it’s been over the last ten or 15 years.
“So, you can’t make predictions about it because you really don’t know and there’s generally one team that acts in a way that nobody anticipated going into it. You don’t know how that is going to play out and it’s dangerous for us in the front office to make assumptions.”
With O’s attendance down in recent years, MacPhail was asked if the front office has to do a sales job to get some fans back in the ballpark.
“I think you have to win the games. A sales job, by using that definition, you have to be able to deliver what you are selling. At the end of the day that’s going to be a function of wins and losses.
“The one thing I have been encouraged about, is, despite the fact our attendance is going to be 1.7 or whatever, the TV ratings went off the chart. I don’t know if that’s economy related or what that’s related to. I think you do what you can to make your team better and if you do that, then the attendance and those other things take care of themselves.”
But do the O’s have to make a big splash of some sort to show something to the fan base?
“I think it’s a factor that you don’t want to alienate your fan base. We’ve made no secret that, when we first came here and traded off some of our more productive players, we as much as said that sometimes you have to get worse before you get better.
“We are starting now finally to demonstrate over a sustained period of time, some success and some hope that that is the case. You always want to support that and keep the momentum going forward. That’s where we are this year, trying to address those areas that we think are needs that we don’t think we have internal options for.”