The individual who replaces Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette or is given a different title already will have relayed his or her vision of the rebuilding process to John and Louis Angelos. There won’t be a more important point in discussions. It starts right there.
Interviews are underway and it’s possible that the Orioles make two hires, including a president of baseball operations.
The wheels, as they say, are in motion, and the Orioles really do need to get moving because there’s so much work to be done in the front office and below it.
Besides the changes in personnel, they have vowed to beef up their scouting departments with particular emphasis on the international side and upgrading their analytics department.
I haven’t been in the room and I don’t have access to the transcripts as the meetings play out. I’m left with my own set of questions.
They aren’t listed numerically because I’m not that organized, but one of the first would be whether the club intends to fill its roster with prospects and other unproven players and see which ones float and which ones sink to the bottom.
The thinking here would be that the Orioles aren’t contending in 2019 and they should do their evaluating at the major league level. Let the kids play. Walk away from the free-agent bargain bin.
We already know that they aren’t inflating the payroll.
The other option would be to stress development in the farm system, plugging various holes in the roster while waiting for these prospects to push their way onto it. Because, again, the Orioles aren’t contending in 2019 and why risk stunting their growth by force-feeding them?
As former manager Buck Showalter used to say, we’re not here to develop players in the majors. It’s supposed to happen down below.
All rebuilds aren’t the same. Teams have taken different approaches. We never really knew how Duquette envisioned it beyond following instructions to lower the payroll, gather more international signing bonus slots and improve scouting.
He ran out of time, and so did the media that would have pried deeper into his thinking.
The Orioles likely will chose from both columns. Elevate the players who are deemed the most worthy and capable of handling it, and take a slower approach with others, which on the surface makes the most sense.
The person put in charge will need to expand the plan to include how to stay within the budget, however it’s defined, while brightening the future. How to clear room on a 40-man roster that’s currently full and holds only one pending free agent.
Spots always open when the free-agent market does, but Adam Jones is the only subtraction.
Five Orioles on the 60-day disabled list - pitchers Richard Bleier, Pedro Araujo and Gabriel Ynoa and outfielders Mark Trumbo and Austin Hays - will need to rejoin the 40-man roster if the club wants to keep them. Ynoa is the only one in the group who’s at risk.
Players also will need to be protected in the Rule 5 draft, with pitchers Dillon Tate and Branden Kline slam dunks and catcher Martin Cervenka expected to join them. Reliever Luis Gonzalez is another possibility after teams passed on him last year.
AFL note: Steve Wilkerson batted leadoff and played third base yesterday for the Glendale Desert Dogs in the Arizona Fall League opener. He went 0-for-2 with three walks.
Tyler Erwin, who posted a 1.58 ERA and struck out 84 batters in 68 1/3 innings with Single-A Frederick, allowed two hits in a scoreless inning.
Today’s question: Duquette’s return likely would have strengthened Renato Núñez’s hold on the third base job. He’s gone. Showalter’s return might have intensified the urging for a plus defender. He’s gone, too.
Should Núñez be the starting third baseman on opening day, a bench player or minor league depth if the Orioles can get him through waivers?