Five trades bring 15 new players to the Orioles organization

The Orioles first trade was a 5-for-1 deal that sent shortstop Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 18. Six days later, the Orioles sent pitcher Zach Britton to the Yankees for three pitchers. On Sunday, pitcher Brad Brach was traded for international signing money. Then yesterday, pitchers Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day were sent to Atlanta for four players and international money. And second baseman Jonathan Schoop was sent to Milwaukee for three players.

The Orioles have put a huge dent in their major league roster and the rebuilding is now well underway. It took less than two weeks to add 15 players to the organization.

Here is a look at all 15, starting with where they were assigned at the time of the trade:

Villar-Fielding-Brewers-Sidebar.jpgBALTIMORE
* Infielder Jonathan Villar comes from Milwaukee and should soon join the big league roster. A switch-hitter, he’s batting .261/.315/.377 for the Brewers. In 2016 he had a big year batting .285 with 38 doubles, 19 homers, 62 steals and 63 RBIs. He led the National League in steals, but also in caught stealing with 18. Is he going to become the everyday second baseman?

TRIPLE-A NORFOLK
* Infielder Breyvic Valera was with the Tides, but was called up by the Orioles yesterday. The 26-year-old Venezuelan is in his ninth pro season and is also a switch-hitter. In the minors this year, he’s hit .272/.340/.414. He’s a .154 hitter in 39 career big league at-bats with the Cardinals and Dodgers.

* Right-handed reliever Cody Carroll was also promoted to Baltimore yesterday. Carroll has a high 90s fastball that has touched 100 mph and a slider that can be a plus pitch. He’s averaged 10.3 strikeouts per nine for his career and that number is 11.7 this season.

* Lefty starter Josh Rogers is considered a finesse pitcher that went 6-8 with a 3.95 ERA before the deal at Triple-A Scranton. He threw seven scoreless innings on three hits in his Norfolk debut.

* Right-handed reliever Evan Phillips is a Salisbury, Md., native, and has a fastball that sits between 90 and 94 mph. He had real strong numbers for Atlanta’s Triple-A Gwinnett team, going 4-4 with a 1.99 ERA, eight saves, 14 walks and 59 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings.

DOUBLE-A BOWIE

The Baysox roster got more than half of the new players with eight of the 15 now there or bound for Bowie.

* Outfielder Yusniel Díaz is the highest-ranked player acquired the Orioles and the only current top 100 prospect. He is ranked at midseason at No. 47 by Baseball America, No. 49 by ESPN and No. 57 by MLBPipeline.com. He put up real good numbers for Double-A Tulsa before the trade and hit two homers in the All-Star Futures Game. He’s hitting just .167 through nine games with Bowie, but his bat may be starting to get going. He had two hits last night and belted his first Baysox homer the game before that.

* Right-handed starter Dillon Tate was the No. 4 pick in the 2015 draft by Texas and signed to a $4.2 million bonus. He was New York’s No. 6 prospect at the time of the deal and was 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA at Double-A Trenton. The talent that shows a fastball touching 97 and 98 mph is there. He just needs to stay healthy. He has never thrown over 88 innings in a season, which is his current 2018 total.

* Right-handed starter Dean Kremer is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA in his first two Bowie starts. He has averaged 12.6 strikeouts per nine this year with a solid four-seamer and curveball combo. Kremer was a round 14 pick by the Dodgers out of UNLV in 2016.

* Infielder Rylan Bannon will play mostly at second base for Bowie. He is batting .160 in eight games, but hit his second homer last night, giving him 22 this year in 97 games. He’s not a big guy at 5-foot-10 and 180 lbs., but he generates nice timing and bat speed with an open stance and high leg kick. He was the Big East conference Player of the Year last summer at Xavier where he was both a teammate and roommate of Single-A Frederick pitcher Zac Lowther.

* Righty reliever Zach Pop throws with some pop. The big strong hurler can touch 98 with his heater and has a solid slider and nice sink to his pitches that generate strong groundball rates. He had a 1.04 ERA and .168 average against this season for two Dodgers affiliates.

* Right-handed starter Luis Ortiz comes over from yesterday’s trade with Milwaukee. At Double-A Biloxi, he went 3-4 with a 3.71 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. He pitched for Team USA in the Futures Game, facing one batter and getting him out. He was a top draft pick by Texas (No. 30 overall) in 2014. With Ortiz and Tate, the Orioles now have the Rangers’ top draft picks in 2014 and 2015. Baseball America reports that Ortiz touches 94 and 95 mph with his fastball and at times features electric stuff with plus control. A stocky pitcher that could use some improvements in conditioning, his ceiling is said to be a No. 3 starter.

* Catcher Brett Cumberland is a switch-hitter who between high Single-A and Double-A this season was batting .228/.357/.389 and he has thrown out 42 percent of attempting base stealers. Cumberland was drafted No. 76 overall by Atlanta in 2016 and he was rated as the Braves’ No. 30 prospect by MLBPipeline.com at the time of the deal.

* Lefty starting pitcher Bruce Zimmermann has gone 9-4 with a 2.86 ERA this season at two levels, including Double-A. A finesse lefty, he skipped a level to get to Double-A after beginning the year in the South Atlantic League and making the SAL mid-year All-Star game. Zimmermann is a Baltimore native and Loyola High School grad who also played some college baseball at Towson University.

SINGLE-A FREDERICK

Sorry to report that the Keys are the one team above the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles that has not gotten even one player in these deals. But that could happen down the road and the Keys do have one of the top rotations to watch right now on the O’s farm - one that includes Lowther, Michael Baumann and Alex Wells, who was in the Futures Game.

SINGLE-A DELMARVA
* The Shorebirds are getting 20-year-old third baseman Jean Carlos Encarnación, a native of the Dominican Republic. He was batting .288/.314/.463 with 10 homers and 57 RBIs for Rome in the South Atlantic League and he has produced an OPS of .800 plus each of the last three months. He was rated as Atlanta’s No. 14 prospect by MLBPipeline.com at the time of the deal. MLBPipeline says he has solid tools with a plus arm and will grow into more power as he fills out his 6-foot-3 frame.

SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A ABERDEEN
* The IronBirds will be adding 18-year-old Dominican-born shortstop Jean Carmona. A Dominican Summer League All-Star last year he is batting .239/.298/.406 this season for rookie-level Helena. Milwaukee signed him for $725,000 on July 2, 2016 when he was rated as the No. 16 international prospect by Baseball America. He’s considered to have solid bat speed and an above-average arm.

Of the 15 players, the Orioles added five starting pitchers and three relievers. They added five infielders along with one catcher and one outfielder. They added players between ages 18 and 27 with 10 being 23 or younger.

MLBPipeline.com has already updated the Orioles top 30 prospects list and 10 of the new players are in it. Díaz is No. 1 followed by holdovers Ryan Mountcastle and DL Hall. Of the rest of the new players Tate is No. 6, Ortiz No. 7, Carmona No. 14, Encarnación No. 15, Kremer No. 16, Carroll No. 17, Bannon No. 23, Pop No. 27 and Cumberland No. 30.

To show how the new players added some depth to the O’s farm, right-hander Baumann, who has had one of the best seasons of any player this year on the O’s farm, is now the club’s No. 21 prospect on this list. He is 11-2 with a 2.65 ERA between Delmarva and Frederick.

The restructuring of this roster and additions to the farm were necessary and as bad as the Orioles played this year, the decision to rebuild was the best decision to make. Probably the only truly prudent one. Losing players like Schoop and Gausman will be hard for some fans to accept.

Over the next few months and years, some important questions will be answered. Was this the right decision? How long will it take for the Orioles to win again? Will the fans still support the team during a rebuild? Will new clubhouse leaders emerge? Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter are in place now at the start of the rebuild but will they be retained beyond this year?

More reading: Of the Orioles crazy final hour leading up to the trade deadline and the five trades they’ve made this month, the O’s Dan Duquette said: “It’s a lot like building a house. I think it’s easier if you demolish the house and build it with a good foundation from the ground up rather than renovating it one room at a time.” Click here to read more of Duquette’s quotes after yesterday’s trades.

Adam Jones did not prefer to tell reporters why he declined the chance to leave the Orioles via a trade. Click here to read his postgame comments from last night at Yankee Stadium. If you click here, you can read what Schoop and Gausman had to say in their interviews after Tuesday’s trades and it got a little emotional.

Want even more coverage?: If you want to see and hear more about the Orioles rebuilding and trades, you can both see and hear more from me later today. From 5 to 7 p.m. this afternoon I’ll be a panelist on “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” on MASN after the Orioles and Nationals play afternoon games. Then tonight from 7-9 p.m. I’ll be taking calls from Orioles followers on 105.7 FM the Fan. Click here to listen live tonight.

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