07/18 20:13 CDT Machado exit could start a trend for underachieving Orioles
Machado exit could start a trend for underachieving Orioles
By DAVID GINSBURG
AP Sports Writer
BALTIMORE (AP) --- Buried in the AL East cellar and well on their way to a
second straight losing season, the Baltimore Orioles enter the so-called second
half with this unavoidable realization: It's time to break up the band.
The trade of shortstop Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday
night started the inevitable rebuilding process for a team that has bottomed
out in 2018. After reaching the playoffs in 2012, 2014 and 2016, the Orioles
own the second-worst record (28-69) in the major leagues, have endured six
losing streaks of at least a half-dozen games and have been shut out nine times.
Thus, Baltimore approaches the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline in full
selling mode. The exit of Machado could be followed by the departure of
outfielder Adam Jones, lefty Zach Britton and right-hander Brad Brach, all of
whom are in the final year of their contracts.
"Obviously, you never want to be in a position to sell, but that's just the
nature of this business," nine-year veteran Danny Valencia said. "The front
office is going to make moves that they feel (are) going to better this team in
the future. Us as players, we have to accept this."
It hurts even more because the Orioles left spring training fully expecting to
"There's no shortage of talent on this team," right-hander Kevin Gausman said.
"That's the most frustrating thing."
The Orioles tried to keep a good thing going. It didn't work. All they can do
now is offer a hug and a wave to those headed elsewhere.
"If Adam Jones is gone, I'd be bummed. He's one of my friends," Valencia said
before the All-Star break. "Manny, too. It's a good thing for those guys
because they're going to be going to teams trying to win a World Series, but
you don't want to see guys like that playing in a different uniform."
Machado has never suited up for anyone but the Orioles, but he'll be wearing
Dodger blue on Friday night in Milwaukee. Britton has played only for
Baltimore, and Jones began his career with Seattle but became a five-time
All-Star with the Orioles.
And now, it appears as if it's time for them to move on.
"It sucks, man," Valencia said. "When you're winning, the team stays together.
Losing, they break up the team. And I think the saddest part of this is, at the
end of the year guys will be on different teams and the offseason will come,
and they'll look back and have regrets because they will realize this team was
super talented and underachieved."
Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette is carefully
weighing all options. It took him a while to unload Machado, and he probably
won't make another deal until he's absolutely sure he's getting as much talent
"Until it happens, it hasn't happened," Britton said. "You don't know the
offers that they're getting."
Come August, and maybe sooner, it will be time for the Orioles to take a long
look at their younger players and try to make the best of a horrific season.
Manager Buck Showalter is currently protecting the team's trade chips (he
prevented Machado from playing on a wet field Sunday) while making plans for
guiding a different sort of club.
"There's things I'm trying to do with people who could potentially be moved,
trying to do what's best for the organization long term and short term,"
Showalter said. "I stop and think about those factors every decision I make."
The influx of youth can be invigorating, but there's a risk in rushing players
to the big leagues too early. How this goes is anyone's guess.
"I have no idea," catcher Caleb Joseph said. "The five years I've been here,
we've been buyers at the deadline every single time. So, I've never experienced
"There is a certain level of energy a young player brings, but they also bring
inexperience," Joseph noted. "Patience is the key. But there are some
interesting pieces in the minor leagues, and they may be getting a chance soon.
It will indicate where we're at as an organization."
Over the final 10 weeks, the focus for the Orioles will be on finishing strong
and seeing who's worthy of being on the retooled 2019 roster.
"We've got to forget about what's happened already," second baseman Jonathan
Schoop said, "and look to the future."
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