NEW YORK - The smoke still hasn’t cleared from today’s trade activity. The Orioles are fortunate that they didn’t set off the sprinkler system at Yankee Stadium.
In an impressive late flurry of moves, the Orioles sent starter Kevin Gausman and reliever Darren O’Day to the Braves for right-hander Evan Phillips, infielder Jean Carlos Encarnacion, catcher Brett Cumberland and left-hander Bruce Zimmermann. The Orioles also received $2.5 million in international signing bonus slot money, while the Braves are inheriting the remainder of O’Day’s contract that includes $9 million in 2019.
Villar is coming off the disabled list and expected to join the Orioles later this week in Texas.
The Orioles recalled infielder Breyvic Valera from Triple-A Norfolk, but he wasn’t able to join the club by first pitch, leaving it with a two-man bench for the series opener against the Yankees.
Right-hander Cody Carroll had his contract purchased from Norfolk and is in the bullpen tonight.
Players lined up to hug Schoop in the clubhouse after he received the news of his trade. Gausman fought back tears while talking to the media outside the clubhouse, his voice cracking and his answers shortened before wiping his eyes with his T-shirt and heading back inside.
“It’s something you know is coming more than likely,” said manager Buck Showalter. “I think in a lot of ways you’re kind of glad it’s come and gone. Everybody can kind of settle in, the mode that we need to be in the rest of the year. I think it’s kind of reflected in our play here recently.
“I think the guys kind of know that some changes are coming. We control it. It’s kind of self-inflicted. If we played better we wouldn’t have to do this. I look at it as there’s a certain accountability for that. If we played better we wouldn’t be having to make those deals that the club had to make today.”
The goodbyes never are easy for Showalter, who spoke with Gausman and Schoop in his office.
“Those are tough conversations, really tough,” he said. “I had a classmate in high school who said sometimes life’s great emotions show themselves in silence. I’m just really happy that they’re going to really good places.
“(Brewers manager) Craig Counsell played for me and he’s one of my favorites. He’s a really good manager. He’ll appreciate Jon and what he brings. Good city, good place, competing. They’re all going to places they deserve. And Darren’s got a place there. I think they all know what Darren can bring when he’s healthy. Brad (Brach), it’s the perfect spot for him. And Gaus, you couldn’t ask for a better situation for him, especially going to a different league. They kind of get a fresh start.
“I’m excited for them individually. I think they’re as good a people as they are players. We’ve got some really good players back, I’m sure, and things that we need to go forward, so it’s one of those things that was necessary.”
The Orioles own the worst record in baseball, a half-game game ahead of the Royals, and a rebuild was inevitable. The Orioles are tackling it with gusto.
“It’s got to be done,” Showalter said. “We knew it. And I don’t think anybody’s going to apologize for going for it this year. And we saw it wasn’t going to be there and we had to move in a different direction. You’ve got to know who you are and who you’re not and know how you’ve got to do it and have a plan and an attack because you want to move forward, and we are. We’re a better, deeper organization today and we’ll see.
“I know (director of player development) Brian Graham and them gave got a lot of shuffling to do down there and there will be a lot of good players added to the system.”
The Orioles already had moved three of their pending free agents - Brach, Manny Machado and Zach Britton - but today’s deals relinquished players under control through 2019 (Schoop) and 2020 (Gausman).
“It’s also why they were able to bring back so much in return,” Showalter said. “You’ve got to look at it both ways. Not everybody is Manny at the end. Some guys, you have to move them at the apex of their value. I’m sure it the thinking and rightfully so.”
David Hess could start Friday in Gausman’s spot as Showalter tries to fill out his rotation.
“I’m trying to be real respectful of the time and all the effort Dan (Duquette) and his group put together. We’ll have time to talk about that,” Showalter said.
“Obviously, we know who’s pitching tonight and tomorrow and what our options are for Kevin’s spot on Friday. Let the smoke clear a little bit. I’ve got a couple of thoughts in mind, see how the next day or so plays out.”
Showalter said he’s looking forward to managing this next version of the Orioles.
“Oh, without a doubt,” he said. “It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’ve done it before.”
The Orioles will call up another pitcher on Wednesday to join Carroll as the newcomers on the staff.
“He’s excited,” Showalter said of Carroll. “He’s been real impressive. I know the Yankees hated to lose him. He started out well down there and I’m looking forward to seeing him. He’ll impress you. I think you’ll see why everybody is excited about his potential.”
Showalter spotted Britton on the field during batting practice. How strange will it be for the Orioles to face him?
“I hope that we play well enough that he doesn’t come into the game,” Showalter said. “I just saw him over there. I try not to look too long. It’s a strange look, that’s for sure.
“They’re lucky to have him. He’s one of the best in the game. Once he settles in and gets going they’re going to have a lot of fun with him.”
Coming up: Schoop and Gausman talk about the trades.