Orioles GM Dan Duquette is at it again. In a piece on FOXSports just posted by Ken Rosenthal, Duquette had some things to say that might be a little horrifying for fans of the team that are looking for it to build from within, around phenomenal prospects Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy
Our future is now. We’re going to try to do everything we can to get into the playoffs this year. I just think it’s important to the fans that they know we’re trying to put a good team on the field and have a good season.
Orioles fans, be afraid. Be very afraid. Duquette is apparently in the market for starting pitching (like many teams), and there are plenty of options on the market, from aces like Zack Greinke and Cole Hamels, to young potential aces like Francisco Liriano and Matt Garza, to "wily veterans" like Ryan Dempster and Kevin Millwood.
If you're a GM talking with Duquette about one of your starters…why wouldn't you try to push him and see how far he's willing to go? If Duquette wants a pitcher so bad….why not see just how bad he wants one? If Duquette inquires about Greinke, ask for Bundy. If he wants Liriano, ask for Machado. If he desires Dempster, ask for Jonathan Schoop.
The Orioles aren't going to the playoffs this year with their current crop of players, and adding one starting pitchers likely isn't going to make that much of a difference. Baltimore had a .657 team OPS in June, and are at .632 thusfar in July. The rotation had a 5.45 ERA in June, and has improved to 4.84 in July. Hell, their ERA in May was 5.16, so it's not as if this was a new problem. Funny note: in each month of the year, the rotation's FIP has been between 4.40 and 4.50. Consistency!
Despite being seven games above .500 at the end of May, the Orioles run differential was just +7. Predictably, they're five games under since the beginning of June, and their differential is a staggering -65. This isn't a playoff team, and one pitcher isn't going to fix that. If your car has a blown out engine and a destroyed transmission, putting more oil in the engine isn't going to suddenly make it run and get you to your destination without a hitch. You might get where you need to be (the playoffs, in this case), but it'll be a terrible, painful ride, and the long-term future of your vehicle is probably going to be destroyed.
Are there really any Orioles fans out there who would rather get into the playoffs as the second wild card and lose as opposed to having guys like Machado, Bundy, and Schoop ready to make an impact in the majors in the next year or two? I highly doubt it. And for the sake of Baltimore's fans, I hope Duquette doesn't blow up the farm system in an attempt to make an ill-fated playoff run. If he did that, and the Orioles ended up missing the playoffs…his hiring this winter would already be worse than any of us ever expected.
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