It was such a poor start to the second half this past weekend for the Orioles. Swept by the Cubs and three poor starting pitching performances.
Maybe the 2017 Orioles are not done, but it feels like they are. They have the time to salvage this season, but they just don’t seem like they have nearly enough starting pitching to do so.
Growing speculation that the Orioles are considering trading some key players may actually come as exciting news to fans at this point. Many that write on this blog and reach out to me on Twitter want to see the team start building for a better future through trades to acquire prospects.
A pitcher like Zach Britton could potentially bring a nice haul of prospects and interject some top talent into a farm system that could surely use more. I don’t run the Orioles, but if I did, I’d be open to listening to offers on any player right now.
Would fans be open right now to the team taking one or two steps back to hopefully get ahead down the road? How long would that road be? Will the current braintrust of Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter even be here past the end of their contracts in 2018?
Some big questions that we don’t have the answers for right now. But these next few weeks seem right now more inclined to be interesting on the rumor and speculation front than for the games themselves.
One more draft pick signing: It was surprising news, but Ken Rosenthal first reported Sunday afternoon and the Orioles later confirmed the signing of their 26th-round draft pick, UC-Irvine lefty Cameron Bishop.
Rosenthal wrote: “The deadline for signing draft picks was 5 p.m. ET on July 7, but Major League Baseball allowed the Bishop deal to stand even though the Orioles submitted it nearly five minutes late.
“Bishop agreed to terms two days before the deadline and passed his physical the following day; MLB, after investigating the matter, determined that he should not be a victim of delays on the Orioles’ side, sources said.”
Bishop missed his junior year this past season in college with a strained oblique, but he has been pitching this summer in the Cape Cod League. Bishop reportedly sought a signing bonus of a mid-third round draft pick and in the end he got exactly that - a bonus of $607,000.
Bishop is expected to fly to Florida this morning to begin his Orioles career and likely will be assigned to short-season Single-A Aberdeen when they deem him game-ready, which should not take long.
Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich was pretty elated at the MLB ruling and this news.
“Cameron is very, very happy and excited to start his pro career,” Rajsich said. “He’s a good one to have. He’s a 6-foot-4, 240-pound left-hander with a good fastball (touching 95 mph), breaking ball and changeup. What is not to like here?
“Our scout in southern California, Mark Ralston, has liked Bishop since high school. He saw him in the fall throw very well, prior to his oblique injury. He said that if he had pitched this spring, he would have been the No. 1 college pitcher on his list.”
Any player taken after the 10th round could be signed for a max amount of $125,000. A team can exceed that, but any overage had to come out of that team’s draft pool. The Orioles had an available excess pool amount of around $513,000 of which $482,000 went into this deal.
The Orioles signed 32 of their 41 selections in the 2017 First-Year Player Draft.
On the farm Sunday: The Double-A Bowie Baysox are playing some very good baseball these days. Bowie beat Altoona 9-1 Sunday to improve to 50-43. The Baysox lead their division in the Eastern League by two games. On June 16, the Baysox were five games under .500, but they have gone 19-7 since that date.
Outfielder Austin Hays hit two more homers and drove in four runs. Hays has hit six homers in 22 Double-A games. Over 86 games between Single-A Frederick and Bowie this year, he is batting .327 with 22 homers and 61 RBIs. In 495 career minor league at-bats, Hays has 26 homers and 82 RBIs.
Outfielder Mike Yaztrzemski went 4-for-5 with a double, triple, four runs and two RBIs. He is batting .393 in 15 games with Bowie. This marks the first four-hit game for Yastrzemski since Aug. 29, 2015 at Reading and the four runs scored are also a career high. Garabez Rosa drove in two and has 68 RBIs.
Right-hander Lucas Long, moved back into the rotation, pitched seven innings allowing one unearned run. Long is now 6-3 with an ERA of 1.91.
For Triple-A Norfolk Sunday, right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis pitched three hitless and scoreless innings to get the victory in the Tides’ 4-3 win over Durham. Yacabonis is 2-0 with an ERA of 1.27 and a .141 batting average against.
Orioles minor league home run leaders:
22 - Austin Hays, Bowie
17 - Pedro Álvarez, Norfolk
15 - Ryan Mountcastle and Ademar Rifaela, Frederick
14 - Aderlin Rodriguez, Bowie