Dan Duquette deserves the chance to continue rebuilding Orioles
The Angelos family, which runs the Baltimore Orioles, are letting general manager Dan Duquette shop for the groceries. And if they entrust him with that task they should entrust him to finish the rebuild with a new multiyear deal.
The fact that Duquette and Buck Showalter are twisting in the wind concerning their future in Baltimore is cruel at best. But what would be worse would be to allow Duquette to reshape the team and then not renew his contract.
If Duquette is being judged on how good his trades are then the first two he’s made heading into the trade deadline in dealing Manny Machado to the Dodgers and Zach Britton to the Yankees have drawn extremely positive reactions from those who have evaluated the minor leaguers he received in return. Both Machado and Britton are free agents after this season.
In the Britton deal, Dillon Tate could be a front-line starter if his abundant talents finally emerge. He’s been injured quite a bit the last couple of years, but he has a very good slider that should play well in the majors. Cody Carroll is a 25-year-old righthanded reliever in Triple A who should fit into the Orioles’ bullpen now that they’ve traded Britton and are about to deal Brad Brach and possibly Mychal Givens. Carroll has 52 strikeouts in 42⅔ innings, throws 95 miles per hour, and opponents are hitting only .180 against him. Lefty Josh Rogers is 24 and has had an up-and-down season in Triple A but could project as a back-end starter.
In the Machado deal, Duquette got 21-year-old outfielder Yusniel Diaz, who homered twice in the Futures Game. Diaz is described as a “toolsy” outfielder, very aggressive, and more of a line-drive hitter whose power is emerging. Defensively, he can cover ground and has a great arm, and this season he started to improve his reads and angles on balls. The Orioles also got righthanded pitchers Dean Kremer and Zach Pop, and infielders Rylan Bannon and Breyvic Valera. Valera, a second baseman, is at Triple A Norfolk, where he has a .697 OPS.
All in all, Duquette has received eight good minor league prospects for two players who will hit the open market this offseason. Duquette is moving in a positive direction. Doesn’t he deserve to keep his job?
WHO’S COMING AND GOING?
Red Sox — We expect there’s another shoe to drop given the dire need for a reliever and that could be anyone from the Twins’ Fernando Rodney to the Padres’ Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen, whom the Red Sox have been scouting. Dave Dombrowski did a good job extracting Nathan Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays for lefthander Jalen Beeks, who had a 12.79 ERA in two starts in the majors despite a couple of good minor league seasons. Beeks is young (25), cheap and right in line with how the Rays operate.
■Yankees – When you pick off Zach Britton and J.A. Happ in the same week, that’s simply impressive work by general manager Brian Cashman, who gave up minor league players who were not in the Yankees’ top 10. It’s hard to say which was the coup. Britton, by his own admission, is not quite where he was prior to the Achilles’ injury, but he’s close. He’s been very effective the last two weeks. Happ was necessary for a Yankee rotation that needs a boost.
Between now and Tuesday’s deadline, the question remains, will Cashman do even more? Now he has to deal with the consequences of Aaron Judge suffering a chip fracture in his wrist when he was hit by a pitch on Thursday night. Will Cashman opt for another hitter such as Adam Jones? Will he also try to obtain another starting pitcher like a Mike Fiers? It seems as though we haven’t heard the end of the Yankees’ activity.
■Blue Jays – The Jays received two good players in third baseman Brandon Drury and outfielder Billy McKinney for Happ, who will be a free agent at season’s end. Granted, Drury and McKinney are two players the Yankees didn’t need, but as the Jays do their own rebuilding — with an exciting young player as a potential centerpiece in Vladimir Guerrero Jr. — they will need complementary players. They were not going to re-sign Happ. The Jays also traded effective reliever Seunghwan Oh to the Rockies. And we don’t think they’re done as they try to move starter Marco Estrada.
Rays – It’s always difficult to figure out the Rays’ maneuvers other than they are in a perpetual rebuild. They traded a 28-year-old fireballer making only $2 million in Eovaldi to the Red Sox. They dealt another starter, Matt Andriese, to the Diamondbacks, and then dealt lefty reliever Jonny Venters to the Braves. The Yankees, Dodgers and Padres are pursuing Chris Archer. If virtually everyone else is going, why isn’t he?
Indians – They made a huge splash to revamp their bullpen by acquiring Brad Hand and Adam Cimber from the Padres for a top prospect, catcher Francisco Mejia. The Indians would like to add a hitter — don’t be surprised if they start looking at Brian Dozier, Adam Jones, and another bat that could be impactful. Also on the Indians’ radar are Toronto’s Curtis Granderson, Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton, and Miami’s Derek Dietrich.
Twins – They have interesting pieces in starters Kyle Gibson (5-7 with a 3.42 ERA), Lance Lynn, and comebacking Ervin Santana as well as relievers Rodney, Zach Duke, and Addison Reed (though there’s too much money there). Late Friday night, they traded reliever Ryan Pressly to the Astros for prospects Jorge Alcala and Gilberto Celestino after dealing Eduardo Escobar to Arizona earlier in the day for three Single A prospects.
Royals – They moved Mike Moustakas to the Brewers.
Tigers – They have a valuable pitcher they could deal in Mike Fiers. Fiers has been highly consistent this season and is in demand. Closer Shane Greene also is an effective reliever who could go to numerous places, including Boston. And don’t forget former Red Sox reliever Alex Wilson, who has carved out a niche for himself in the bullpen. Shortstop Jose Iglesias also could be a defensive piece for someone, and his hitting isn’t bad, either. The Phillies are looking.
White Sox – The White Sox haven’t had any takers on first baseman Jose Abreu, who is not enjoying his best season. The Astros’ interest in him has waned and now it appears he’ll remain a White Sox. James Shields’s name is always in the mix, but his inconsistencies keep him at arm’s length for most teams. Lefty specialist Luis Avilan could be moved.
Astros – The Astros sputtered on Britton, but acquired catcher Martin Maldonado from the Angels and Pressly from the Twins. Pressly should solve their late-inning relief issue. They have been scouting the Reds’ Raisel Iglesias as well, so it’s obvious they would like a high-profile-type closer on a good team that just needs a tweak.
Mariners – The Mariners are getting Robinson Cano back soon from his PED suspension (and he’ll likely play first base rather than second), so they feel they’re good offensively. They’re not well-stocked in the farm system so it may be hard to get the reliever and starter they need. In May, the Mariners obtained reliever Alex Colome and outfielder Denard Span from Tampa Bay for righthanded pitchers Andrew Moore and Tommy Romero. They were able to swing a deal for Cardinals reliever Sam Tuivailala to add to their middle relief.
Athletics – Entering Friday the A’s had won six straight games and are trending toward catching the Mariners for the second wild card spot. This team is clicking for sure. They acquired Jeurys Familia last week to shore up their bullpen but they also may not be done, perhaps searching for a starting pitcher. The A’s have used 12 different starting pitchers this season.
Angels – They got 21-year-old lefty Patrick Sandoval in the Maldonado deal. The Angels could sell off second baseman Ian Kinsler. Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney could draw interest on the pitching front.
Rangers – Look for Keone Kela, the Rangers’ closer, to possibly be on the move (Houston?). The lefthanded Diekman is also a target even with reverse splits. Veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre is drawing interest from the Braves. The Cole Hamels deal with the Cubs has freed Texas of a big money obligation. They received pitchers Eddie Butler and Rollie Lacy and a player to be named from the Cubs.
Phillies – The Phillies acquired infielder Asdrubal Cabrera from the Mets for righthander Franklyn Kilome. They had been interested in Baltimore’s Adam Jones. There was talk about Hamels returning, but it never materialized. The pursuit of another starting pitcher may be in the works. The Orioles’ Kevin Gausman or Dylan Bundy could be targets, as could Archer.
Braves – GM Alex Anthopoulos could be hunting for a third-base upgrade with Beltre and perhaps another starter (Fiers, Estrada, Tyson Ross).
Nationals –They’re at .500 but seven games off the NL East lead. Sell? Buy? If they sell, they have a pretty good closer to dangle in Kelvin Herrera. Ryan Madson woud also be of interest to some teams. With the Braves and Phillies not going away, the Nationals have an uphill climb to take a wild card.
Marlins – They have a few guys they’d like to jettison, notably reliever Brad Ziegler and starter Dan Straily. They’d like to move infielders Starlin Castro and Martin Prado and are looking for decent hauls for relievers Kyle Barraclough, Drew Steckenrider, and Adam Conley.
Mets – The Mets have now dumped Familia and Cabrera and would listen on righthander Zack Wheeler. Dealing ace Jacob deGrom would be a long shot.
Cubs – Acquiring Hamels from the Rangers does come with risks; mainly, he hasn’t been that good for a while. He’s allowed seven or more runs in two of his last four starts. Hamels is obviously a top pitcher capable of beating big teams if he’s right. The Cubs, who have also added Jesse Chavez, are still looking for a reliever. They were trying to compete for Britton, but like the Red Sox didn’t have enough and were beaten out by the Yankees. The Cubs are now looking at Diekman and Kela.
Brewers – Love the Brewers’ aggressiveness. They went hard after Machado and Britton and fell short, but they got a dependable reliever in Joakim Soria, who would have been a good choice for the Red Sox. Soria was having an excellent season for the White Sox. The Brewers then traded for Moustakas, dealing minor league outfielder Brett Phillips and minor league pitcher Jorge Lopez. Moutsakas will play third, with Travis Shaw moving to second base. The Brewers may still be trying to add a starting pitcher and seem to be eyeing Gausman or Bundy. They also are making a bid for second baseman Jonathan Schoop.
Cardinals — This is really looking like a lost season and could be their third straight out of the playoffs. Free agent closer Greg Holland didn’t work out and now he’s designated for assignment. The Cardinals may offer first baseman Jose Martinez to an AL team in trying to land a reliever such as Diekman, John Axford, Jared Hughes, or Aaron Loup.
Pirates – A recent 11-game winning streak got the Pirates back in the buyers business as they’re within striking distance of a wild card. Bullpen help is their big need and they’ve been scouting Kela and Brach and many other relievers.
Reds – They are ready to move Iglesias and Amir Garrett and have interest from several teams. They also have starter Matt Harvey to deal.
Dodgers – They’ve got the big fish Machado and now they need a bullpen piece after their bid for Britton fell short. If Washington sells on Herrera, they could be a player there. They’ve also been scouting Brach and Greene.
Diamondbacks – GM Mike Hazen already has acquired Andriese from the Rays to be a reliever, but Arizona could still be in the market for a lefty (as are a lot of teams). Hazen also bit on the Twins’ Escobar, who can add some pop to the lineup at third base.
Rockies – With the trade for Oh, the Rockies may be done, though it wouldn’t be shocking to see another bullpen add, perhaps from the left side. They have also been scouting Gausman and Bundy with the Orioles.
Giants – Even the Giants probably aren’t sure which way to go — buy or sell? There’s always the elephant in the room; do the Giants make Madison Bumgarner available in a deal? In the crowded NL West, the Giants are a good winning streak away from being in the hunt. We’ll see in the next few days how much they feel they can get back into it. The Giants lead the majors with 21 blown saves, so relief help could be in the offing if they’re buying.
Padres – They already sent Hand and Cimber packing, but they are getting considerable interest from teams in two of their bullpen pieces – Yates and Stammen. The Red Sox seem to be in on both, but the question is do they have what the Padres want to make it happen?
From the Bill Chuck files: “Since Zach Britton was moved to the bullpen in 2014, he has pitched 47 games against the Red Sox, Indians, and Astros and has a 0.71 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP, a .194 batting average against and has saved 27 of 28 games, a 96.4 percent save rate.” Also, “The Rays now have had 14 different starter/openers and they have had 20 different pitchers with at least one win; both numbers lead the majors.” . . . This season could find all of the homes of the Braves — Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta —
make the postseason . . . Congratulations to former Milwaukee Brewers GM
for becoming a US citizen . . . Book plug:
“Ted Williams – The first Latino player in the Hall of Fame” . . . Wonderful man, wonderful essayist, wonderful reporter. RIP
. Happy birthday
Material from interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report.