Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day are in Atlanta. Jonathan Schoop is now in Minnesota. Zach Britton is headed back to the Bronx and Manny Machado is on deck. Adam Jones is very likely moving on as well.
There seemed to be little consternation around Birdland when Britton agreed to re-sign with the Yankees over the weekend. This could be for several reasons, including that Orioles fans knew he wasn’t coming back. They were never rumored to be pursuing Britton. And that old gang of theirs was long since broken up. It started to happen last July. There was no going back.
But it is a - until July - lifelong Oriole and it is Britton, who was a pretty great Oriole. And I sure don’t ever speak for the fans but I hear from a lot of them. I just think everyone knew Britton had long since pitched his last game in Baltimore and everyone knew there was a chance he’d wind up staying with New York. But it probably won’t ever be easy for Orioles fans to watch him in pinstripes.
Britton’s 2014 to 2016 seasons in Baltimore were incredible. He posted a 1.38 ERA, fanned 9.26 batters per every nine innings, walked 2.37 per nine, saved 120 of 128 chances and recorded a 77.9 percent groundball rate. In 2016, he went 47-for-47 in saves with an ERA of 0.54 and still managed to finish fourth for the Cy Young. Fourth! But that’s another story.
Britton was great that year for the Orioles, but ironically didn’t pitch in the season’s biggest game, the 2016 American League wild card game in Toronto. For all the good he did in many years as O’s manager, that was Buck Showalter’s biggest blunder and it might have been the beginning of the end for that group of winning Orioles. They would fade down the stretch in 2017 and bottom out a year later, leading to the dismissals of Showalter and Dan Duquette and others since last season ended.
No doubt losing those veteran players in July was not easy for Orioles fans, but most realized they had to at least trade the players with expiring contracts and maybe should have traded them well before July. But the time had come to break up the old gang.
That includes Machado, who sometime in this new year will wind up signing a new contract and that could be for the team in the Bronx as well. How would Machado signing with the Yankees play throughout Birdland?
Will Machado’s signing move the needle at all still in Birdland or have the fans had enough time to get used to it and/or resigned that such news is coming?