We covered the usual number of topics yesterday on “Wall to Wall Baseball” on MASN, which meant we were all over the map. Not just the majors.
I’m sticking with baseball this morning.
A viewer asked whether the Orioles should consider trading Zach Britton, enabling them to fill multiple needs. I watch teams in the playoffs having closer issues and think the Orioles should lock up Britton.
Extend him or lock him in a room so he can’t get away. Whatever it takes to keep him in the organization.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette was asked in the season-ending press conference whether he’d consider trading Britton or third baseman Manny Machado, if he had a timetable when he might think about moving them for “other assets.”
“I haven’t thought about that that much, but that’s something we can think about for the offseason,” he replied. “I like those guys on our ballclub, I like the work that they do and I like watching them every day. One’s an MVP candidate and the other one’s a Cy Young Award candidate. Those guys are tough to find and they’re young and they’re good and they play for the Orioles. We like them on our ballclub.”
How confident is Duquette that he can keep them long-term?
“Well, to me, two years is long-term,” he replied.
Alvarez is in the next tier. I’m not dismissing his 22 home runs this season and I would have started him in the wild card game, but he was a platoon designated hitter who lost at-bats against right-handers because manager Buck Showalter wanted Michael Bourn in the outfield and Trumbo as the DH. He’s advertised as a third baseman and first baseman, but his market will be narrowed due to his limitations in the field and career .205 average against left-handers.
Would the Orioles consider re-signing Alvarez if he’s willing to accept another one-year deal and maybe platoon him with Trey Mancini? I’m fine with a part-time role for Mancini despite his age. He can grow into an everyday player. Beats stashing him at Triple-A Norfolk.
Agent Scott Boras obviously will pursue a bigger deal for Alvarez, who made $5.75 million in 2016.
The Orioles received 42 home runs from their designated hitters, second behind the Red Sox (44). They had 14 last year. That can’t happen again.
I wrote earlier that the Orioles want to re-sign Trumbo. It’s a big priority and naturally hinges on what kind of offers he’s fielding.
Trumbo’s fielding wasn’t nearly as bad as I anticipated after spring training, but the Orioles decided they needed to upgrade their defense at the corners. They could continue that mindset and make Trumbo their primary designated hitter, with the freedom to give him starts in right field and at first base. They could maintain flexibility at the spot.
Jim Palmer celebrated his 71st birthday yesterday. We’re the only ones aging.
I’ve shared this story before, but I saw Palmer pitch in the first game I attended as a kid, in the 1971 World Series. The Orioles beat the Pirates 11-3 in Game 2 at Memorial Stadium.
Richie Hebner, who later served as manager at Single-A Frederick, hit a three-run homer off Palmer in the eighth inning to ruin his shutout bid.
Dick Hall pitched a scoreless ninth inning and was credited with the save. In an 11-3 win. Which no longer could happen after the rule was amended in 1975.
Hall didn’t make another appearance in the Series and the Orioles lost in seven games. The teams met again in 1979 and ...
Maybe next year.