Random take Tuesday

And now on with the real offseason.

The offseason for the Orioles began in a sense Oct. 6, the day after the last game, but now that the World Series is complete, the hot stove business of baseball is about to heat up. And for the Orioles, it could be a time where small moves are not their biggest activity of the offseason.

The obvious questions are these: Will the O’s add a big fish hitter, pitcher or both? Will that happen via trade or free agency, or both? Is now the first time Mike Elias will be trading young talent/prospects for major league-proven talent?

Elias has said he expects the payroll to go up and for the team to be active this winter. The 2023 Orioles' clear No. 1 goal is to make the playoffs. Playoffs or bust.

“I do continue to view this as an offseason where we are going to have the flexibility to invest in the major league payroll in a different way than I have done since I’ve been here,” Elias said at his season-ending press conference. “We feel like the time is right from a strategic standpoint.”

Elias added: “We’re not going to force it, but we feel that the time is right from a strategic standpoint. In fact, the time is pressing to do that now that we have the foundation of the top farm system in baseball and a major-league team that is young and talented and now with a .500-plus record. This is the time to start to make more significant investments in the major-league payroll whether that comes in the form of free agents or kind of buy-side trades, I don’t know yet, but I would expect one, if not both of those types of those activities from us.”

Winning teams sometimes make trades for big talent and give up prospects to do it. The Orioles may be in the position to do this now with a surplus of talent, a deep top 30 list and a No. 1 ranked farm led by six top 100 prospects.

Sometimes you have to trade something really good to get something good.

On Aug. 31, 2017, Houston acquired right-hander Justin Verlander from Detroit for three prospects. Detroit traded its then No. 3 prospect, a right-hander named Franklin Pérez, who was a top 100 prospect, but not top 25 or 30. They traded outfielder Daz Cameron, the No. 37 overall pick in the 2015 draft and a one-time backend top 100 prospect. He was their No. 9 prospect. And they also dealt catcher Jake Rogers, their No. 11 prospect, for Verlander.

Verlander, who had an ERA of 3.82 for the 2017 Tigers, has now gone 61-19 in four season with Houston since that dea,l with an ERA of 2.26 in 102 regular season games. Meanwhile, Pérez has yet to reach the majors. Cameron has a .597 OPS in three season with Detroit and Rogers has an OPS of .642 in two seasons as a Tiger.

The results to date of this deal is just from one deal, of course, but it shows you can trade promising prospects, who don’t hit their ceilings. Meanwhile, the proven talent Houston got improved on their watch. Big win for Houston in that deal thus far.

Just putting two and two together with so many prospects closing in on Baltimore and only so many spots to play, one could conclude the O’s will be making some trades and maybe dealing from strength. It will be something to watch carefully over the next few weeks and months.

Coaches all returning: A significant move from late last month probably flies under the radar a bit, but the Orioles will retain all their coaches from last year for the 2023 season. The staff returning is big for the Orioles. This group seemed to have a great chemistry and seemed to provide manager Brandon Hyde the exact right amount of loyalty while also giving him confidence to take their input and make good decisions.

As a media member – even one in the clubhouse often – it is hard to judge coaches. So much of their work is out of the eyes of reporters. How effective are they? Do the players truly listen to and benefit from their coaching?

But I have heard Hyde and players sing their praises often enough to believe they must be doing something right. The coaches seem to have a great ability to serve as a team within a team. And their team brings energy and positivity every day. It is such energy that allowed the Orioles to continue to play hard while losing 115 games. And make strides while losing a lot of games so they could reach the point to win 83.

For me, that staff had a big year in 2022 and the return of each of them is big for the team moving forward.

Triple-A honors: This is more fact than take/opinion, but both pitcher Grayson Rodriguez and infielder Gunnar Henderson made the postseason All-Star team in the Triple-A International League. They are the first Tides to do that since Ryan Mountcastle in 2019. That year Mountcastle was named MVP in the IL.

Henderson was also named the Top MLB Prospect in the league. What was formerly known as the International League Rookie of the Year Award prior to the 2021 season, Henderson becomes the first Tide to win the Top MLB Prospect Award since right-handed pitcher Jason Isringhausen did so in 1995. For the All-Star selections and yearly award winners, votes were cast by league managers.

Award finalists: The Orioles have two finalists for BBWAA awards, Brandon Hyde for AL Manager of the Year and Adley Rutschman for AL Rookie of the Year. Read more on that here

Gallagher removed from Orioles' 40-man roster
Because You Asked - State of the Union
 

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