The goal of any professional sports team is to win games and championships. How they get there or try to is up to them and others don’t have to like it.
After a 115-loss 2018 season - in fact, even before that 2018 season was over - the Orioles began their rebuilding. It continues this year and has its ups and downs. Ups like watching players like Hanser Alberto and Anthony Santander state their cases to be a part of the Orioles’ hopefully better future. Downs like losing 16 straight games to the Yankees.
National reporter Jon Heyman fired off this tweet after the Orioles lost to the Yankees on Tuesday night.
The Orioles don’t belong on the field with the Yankess. Sorry but that’s the truth. These tank jobs, or complete rebuilds if you prefer a euphemism, are not good for the game.-- Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 14, 2019
I don’t know if rebuilding is bad for baseball, but I know the Orioles and any team in the major leagues can’t worry about what’s good for baseball in making in team decisions. Do the Yankees do that? Or the Red Sox, Dodgers or any other club?
Yeah, easy answer. They don’t.
The Orioles had little choice. They kept together a team that included Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Zack Britton, Kevin Gausman and Brad Brach in 2018 and that team crashed and burned.
That team started last year 8-27 and was already 17 games out of first place by May 8. At that point, it was a matter of time until there was a July sell-off of players and the term “rebuild” moved to the front of Baltimore baseball vocabulary.
Was it good for baseball when the Yankees could spend millions and millions more on international talent than other teams? Was it good for baseball when Boston and New York outspent the American League East and could afford to make expensive mistakes that other teams could not?
No, it probably wasn’t. Did they care about that? No they did not.
Should the Orioles care now if their rebuild is not good for baseball? Not for a second. Not only were they left with almost no alternative, they’ve seen the Astros and Cubs rebuild all the way to the World Series, where they won it all. Then they took key executives from the Houston front office to help their own rebuild.
They did what they had to do.
Heyman is a solid and well respected reporter. I just don’t agree with his opinion. Watching all the homers we see nightly in the sport and games that take three-plus hours almost every night is probably not good for baseball either.
But you can’t set up rules for the acquisition of talent within a sport and then tell a bad team what they are doing is bad for the sport.
Tough. Losing 115 games was bad for Baltimore baseball. The front office in place now is doing what it can and should to keep that from happening again.
No matter who likes it or does not.
Farm highlights last night: Double-A Bowie right-hander Michael Baumann pitched a complete-game four-hit shutout as the Baysox blanked Richmond 4-0. Baumann, who threw 97 pitches, walked two and fanned seven. He is 3-2 with an ERA of 1.86 and a WHIP of 0.90 in 10 games with Bowie. He’s the first Baysox pitcher with two complete-game shutouts in one season since Terry Doyle in 2015.
Catcher Carlos Pérez hit a two-run homer and drove in three, hitting Bowie’s first homer of August. The Baysox are 36-17 in the second-half, but still trail Erie by two games for first place and there are now 19 games left.
Short-season Single-A Aberdeen won again 5-4 at Tri-City. Aberdeen left fielder Andrew Fregia hit a three-run homer to bring Aberdeen from 4-2 down in the eighth. Catcher Adley Rutschman went 2-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI. He is 9-for-22 (.409) during a six-game hitting streak with four doubles and seven RBIs. The IronBirds (33-26) moved to within a half-game of the wild card lead in the New York-Penn League.
Single-A Delmarva beat West Virginia 8-3 to improve to 81-39. Winning pitcher Gray Fenter gave up two runs over five innings to improve to 7-2 with a 1.98 ERA. The Shorebirds, who have 18 games left, tied the 1998 team (81-61) for second-most wins in team history. The winningest club ever was the 1996 squad (83-69). The Shorebirds would only have to go 3-15 to set a new wins record.