Ugly reality of O’s rebuild, hope for new day


That was the cry from many O’s fans in 2017, when the team took a nosedive in September and crushed any hope of making the playoffs.

It continued into 2018, which saw our Birds out of the pennant race by the end of April. And while we were right to ask the management to “blow it up,” it would seem that not everyone knew exactly just what that entailed.

You see, when fans scream for the ownership to “blow it all up,” it does not mean that it will be restored to its former glory overnight. Baltimore was not built in a day after all. This is a long, difficult, and often painful process, but if done correctly, will pay dividends for the Orioles, the fans, and the city of Baltimore for years to come.

So, without further ado, here is my deep dive into the reclamation project that is the Baltimore Orioles.

In hindsight, this rebuild should have been started before the 2017 season. The team has regressed, albeit slightly, from the dominant 96-66 juggernauts that won the A.L. East and swept the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series.

Manny Machado was at the peak of his game, having a couple years of team control left. He alone would have brought back a titanic haul of top-notch prospects and possibly some decent major league talent. Because as we all should know, a minor league system stocked with talent is the building block of a successful franchise, and that is where the downfall of the Orioles began.

I will give Dan Duquette a small bit of credit. He got a very good return for a few months of Machado from the Dodgers, in the form of Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer, Rylan Bannon, and Zach Pop. But that does not excuse him from the simple fact that his incompetence is what put the team in that situation to begin with.

The Orioles farm system has been under par for many years now, and that was mostly due to Duquette’s mis-management. He did not draft well, and when he did find a potential major league contributor, he often traded them for a mediocre rental player, believing they were the “missing piece” for a team that had no chance of contending to begin with.

All of Duquette’s failures have led to a massive mess for new GM and Executive VP of Baseball Operations Mike Elias to clean up. He is now beginning the slow process of finding and developing new talent to re-stock a much depleted farm system, and for those who have been paying attention, he has done a remarkable job already. 

I see it all the time on the Baltimore Orioles Facebook page. Cries of, “fire the manager!” and, “the rebuild is not working!” from folks that are simply ignorant to this process. Will firing Brandon Hyde, a former Chicago Cubs bench coach known for his development of young players, suddenly make bad players good? It will not, and that idea is ludicrous from start to finish. 

I urge any Orioles fan that is feeling hesitant to commit to this rebuilding effort to pick up a copy of the book Astroball: A New Way to Win it All written by Ben Reiter. It is a brilliant documentary of the “Mike Elias method” that was used to build the Houston Astros from three straight 100-loss seasons into winning a World Series Championship in 2017. These methods are already well integrated into the Baltimore Orioles organization.

There is still a very long way to go, and the results on the field in Baltimore will be painful for a few years to come. So, my fellow O’s fans, if you are able, I implore you to take in a few minor league games.

Take a ride down Route 3 to Prince George’s County Stadium and watch hurlers Dean Kremer and Alex Wells show what they can bring to the table for the future of the Orioles starting rotation.

Go watch Yusniel Diaz, the centerpiece of the Machado trade, prove why he is a bonafide MLB Top 100 Prospect.

A step below that, you can swing by Salisbury and see the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds, who currently own the best record in all of MiLB, behind flamethrowers Grayson Rodriguez, Drew Rom, and Ofelky Peralta.

If you feel like taking a road trip, head down to Norfolk to see the mighty bat of Ryan Mountcastle, and see for yourself why he is knocking on the door of the MLB roster.

And last but not least, head up to Aberdeen and (when he arrives) watch future superstar Adley Rutschman, the 2019 No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 MLB Draft.

All-in-all, there is a lot of reasons to be hopeful for this rebuild. I do not know how it is going to turn out, but one thing is for certain.

The “Mike Elias method” works, and if all goes to plan, he could very well add a second World Series ring to his mantle, only this time with our beloved Baltimore Orioles.

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