Baltimore Orioles – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-11-15T00:29:07Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MASN Arbitration To Take Place This Week]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=137309 2018-11-14T15:51:04Z 2018-11-14T14:54:57Z
  • The Nationals are hoping that a hearing later this week will represent a major step toward the resolution of their longstanding dispute with the Orioles over television rights fees, as Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. A three-person panel consisting of Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, Mariners CEO Kevin Mather, and Blue Jays CEO Mark Shapiro will hear the case. A prior arbitration proceeding way back in 2014 was invalidated by the courts owing to a finding of a conflict of interest in the Nats’ choice of counsel; that decision ultimately led back to this new MLB-constituted panel. As Janes explains, the arbitral proceeding will address a pair of five-year rights-fees periods for the jointly-owned (and Orioles-controlled) Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, with hundred of millions of dollars at stake. Even if the Nationals get the outcome they hope for of course, there’ll still be a possibility of further appeal, though the odds are long against upsetting a properly convened arb panel (which is why the original Baltimore victory, though procedural, was so notable). It’s not entirely whether the Nats’ immediate roster plans will be much affected, but Janes does conclude by noting that, “if the Nationals do get the revenue they are owed, their ability to sign elite free agents will improve, according to those familiar with the organization’s plans.”
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Astros’ Mike Elias Reportedly The Favorite To Be Named Orioles’ GM]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=137297 2018-11-14T05:55:12Z 2018-11-14T05:45:11Z 11:45pm: MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweets that “it is expected that Mejdal would join Elias in Baltimore” if Elias is indeed named general manager.

    11:08pm: The Orioles long-running search for a new baseball operations leader could be winding to a close. Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that “barring a sudden change of heart,” Astros assistant general manager Mike Elias will be named the new general manager in Baltimore. Elias had previously been reported to be among the top candidates in the search.

    Elias’ official title with Houston is “Assistant General Manager, Player Acquisition,” wherein he’s headed up the Astros’ scouting operations both domestically and internationally. Prior to holding that role, Elias served as the scouting director, and Houston’s media guide describes him as “a driving force” in the decision to select Carlos Correa with the top pick in the 2012 draft — a decision that surprised many at the time, given that Stanford righty Mark Appel was considered the consensus top player available.

    Alex Bregman, Lance McCullers Jr., Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley are among the other top names selected during Elias’ run as scouting director, though successive top overall picks of Appel and Brady Aiken in 2013-14 were decidedly less successful. Appel (who re-entered the draft in ’13) is out of baseball, while Aiken went unsigned after some considerable drama surrounding his physical, resulting in Houston receiving the No. 2 overall pick as compensation in 2015 (a fortuitous turn of events in hindsight, as it led to the selection of Bregman).

    Elias, 36 in December, broke into business as a scout with the Cardinals back in 2007 and quickly ascended to manage St. Louis’ amateur scouting operations by 2010. The relationship he developed with eventual Astros GM Jeff Luhnow while working with the Cardinals played a role in moving from St. Louis to Houston, where he’s been a part of one of the game’s most data-driven and analytics-focused front offices for the past several seasons. That’ll help him bring a more modern approach to the Baltimore front office, though his history in scouting and certainly allows him to appreciate the need for a diverse approach to player evaluation.

    Elias’ background would check numerous boxes for an Orioles organization that former GM Dan Duquette admitted had fallen behind in a number of key areas, including international scouting and analytics. For years, the Orioles almost entirely ignored the Latin American amateur market, and while their international scouting efforts did net them some quality players — Wei-Yin Chen and Koji Uehara come to mind — the apparently ownership-driven directive to forgo the amateur market led to a perennially thin farm system. That’s seemingly changing now that Peter Angelos’ sons, John and Lou, have taken up a greater role in the organization’s leadership, but there’ll still be plenty of work to be done in terms of adding to the international scouting staff and facilities.

    As for Baltimore’s R&D / analytics department, the team has already lost director of analytics Sarah Gelles — somewhat coincidentally to the Astros (as first reported by BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Rich Dubroff, on Twitter). That’ll only give Elias more hiring work to do in order to begin to get the department up to par.

    As for the Astros, the loss of Elias would be significant. Houston already lost director of research and development Mike Fast, who took a position as a special assistant to Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos earlier this month. Beyond that, special assistant Sig Mejdal left the organization earlier this month after serving six seasons as one of the Astros’ top analysts. Houston’s coaching staff has also been raided. Bullpen coach Doug White jumped to the Angels as their new pitching coach, while assistant hitting coach Jeff Albert was hired as the Cardinals’ new hitting coach. Meanwhile, hitting coach Dave Hudgens was named the Blue Jays’ new bench coach late last week. Suffice it to say, Houston GM Jeff Luhnow and the remainder of his staff will have ample hiring needs in the coming weeks, while others in the organization could find themselves moving up the ranks with a promotion to fill some of the newly created voids.

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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Orioles MASN Dispute Nears Resolution]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=137150 2018-11-12T15:33:54Z 2018-11-12T15:33:54Z
  • Also in Washington, the Nats could see a boost to their finances if their dispute with the Orioles over rights fees from the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) is settled, as expected, by MLB’s internal arbitration panel. An appeals process could still be at hand, but baseball officials hope both teams will live with whatever verdict comes down from the Revenue Sharing Definition Committee, which consists of Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, Mariners CEO Kevin Mather and Toronto CEO Mark Shapiro. In dispute is over $200MM in rights fees from 2012 to 2016. If the hearing goes as expected, the Nats will see an influx of cash that should grant them future payroll flexibility. Before you ask – no, the matter will not likely be settled in time to aid in the wooing of Harper.
  • For the Orioles part in the above dispute, Rosenthal suggests it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Orioles’ next front office hires to include someone in good standing with the MLB office. Along with the more explicit organizational issues, Baltimore has also apparently had a poor relationship with the league office as well. A portion of the discord stems from the above dispute with the Nationals over rights fees for the Orioles’ owned MASN, but there’s also suspicions that Camden Yards has somewhat unfairly been passed over for the All-Star game in recent years. Camden Yards was a forerunner for the way modern sports facility are built, but they have not hosted an All-Star game since its second year of existence in 1993. Other organizations have longer droughts in this regard, but the missed opportunity to honor the 25th anniversary of Camden Yards in 2017 still stings.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Seeking Infielders]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=137087 2018-11-11T19:06:34Z 2018-11-11T19:06:34Z
  • Unsurprisingly, the Orioles won’t be big players in free agency, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com hears. However, Kubatko relays that they will prioritize adding infielders, likely on short-term deals. Assuming the rebuilding Orioles don’t contend in 2019, they could then try to trade those additions over the summer, Kubatko notes. Of the infield options currently on Baltimore’s 40-man roster (Chris Davis, Tim Beckham, Jonathan Villar, Renato Nunez, Breyvic Valera, Steve Wilkerson and Engelb Vielma), only Villar and Nunez offered passable major league production last season.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Latest On Orioles’ GM Search]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=136466 2018-11-10T17:21:13Z 2018-11-10T17:18:55Z It’s a time of change for the Orioles. Most notably, John and Lou Angelos have taken over regular operations from their father, Peter Angelos. The club has been without a manager since dismissing Buck Showalter, though that post figures to remain open for the time being. That’s because there’s an even more important hire in the works for the Angelos brothers, who are working to identify the person who’ll head up their baseball operations department.

    In the interim, there is a small group of executives left over from Dan Duquette’s regime who are currently responsible for overseeing the roster moves in Baltimore this offseason. Brian Graham, the director of player development, is said to be handling the day-to-day operations as the interim GM. VP of baseball ops Brady Anderson and amateur scouting director Gary Rajsich are also present to weigh in on the offseason’s earliest action.

    To this point, the Baltimore organization hasn’t settled on a job title for whomever becomes the organization’s top baseball decisionmaker. In and of itself this doesn’t mean much, but as the Athletic’s Dan Connolly pointed out in early October, there is a perplexing lack of clarity regarding division of labor moving forward. Brady Anderson, for one, has had significant negotiating responsibilities in the past, so his continued involvement is certainly notable, despite ownership’s claim that the new hire will have “final determination on all baseball matters”.

    Here are the latest on the Orioles search:

    Latest Updates – 11/10/18

    • UPDATE: The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal now tweets that Tigers AGM David Chadd is no longer under consideration for the position in Baltimore. This coming on the heels of Chadd supposedly being a finalist for the position as of two days ago. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale had named Chadd as a finalist for the top spot in Baltimore (via Twitter), but that appears to no longer be the case.
    • The Orioles are keeping most of the details regarding their GM search close to the vest, but Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reminds us (via Twitter) that their first priority is identifying the executive to head their baseball ops – that hire will have the prerogative to name their top assistant. The original plan was for the top hire to be given the title of President, but the exact nomenclature (more than the responsibilities) remains TBD. Presumably, this will depend upon who they bring aboard and what kind of title bump that individual requires.
    • Regardless, there will be two eventual new hires to head up the O’s front office, and some names are starting to emerge. The oft-mentioned AGM of the Houston Astros Mike Elias remains in consideration, per the Athletic’s Dan Connolly, but two new names have entered the field as well: Phillies assistant GM Ned Rice and MLB Diversity Pipeline Director Tyrone Brooks. Before moving to the Phils front office in 2016, Ned Rice was an official with the Orioles for 11 years. Tyrone Brooks, for his part, took on the responsibility of driving diversity hires throughout MLB’s administrative levels in 2016 after Commissioner Rob Manfred created the role. He does has front office experience as well: he was a scout in the Indians organization before serving as an assistant GM with the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2009-2016.
    • Also of note, vice president Brady Anderson did not represent the Orioles at last week’s GM meetings, despite his home being only an hour away. Connolly wonders if this might have been a signal from ownership that the runway is, in fact, clear for the next hire to run things without demonstrative input from incumbent front office holdovers like Anderson.

    Click to review the potential names under consideration and prior updates to the process:

    Read more

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles Not Likely To Deal Trumbo Before Midseason]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=136552 2018-11-04T18:54:40Z 2018-11-04T18:54:40Z
  • The Orioles will be open to moving any and all veterans as they rebuild, but it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll be able to deal Mark Trumbo this winter, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko writes.  Owed a hefty $13.5MM in 2019, Trumbo was already going to be a tough sell in trade talks, but his season-ending knee surgery at the end of August almost surely ruined his stock for any potential suitors.  Trumbo’s surgery isn’t expected to limit him for the start of Spring Training, and the O’s will have to hope that he performs well in the first half of the 2019 season to potentially become a trade candidate by the deadline.  Trumbo rebounded from a sub-replacement level season in 2017 to hit a solid .261/.313/.452 with 17 homers over 358 PA in 2018, though he’ll need to significantly top those solid numbers to increase his trade value, given his salary and defensive limitations.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Could Non-Tender Tim Beckham, Caleb Joseph]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=136501 2018-11-03T23:37:59Z 2018-11-03T23:37:59Z
  • Orioles infielder Tim Beckham and catcher Caleb Joseph are “at risk” of being non-tendered before the deadline, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes. Swartz projects Beckham to rake in $4.3MM via arbitration, and that would’ve been a reasonable sum had the 28-year-old looked something like his 2017 self this past season. Beckham instead took several steps backward, hitting .230/.287/.374 (79 wRC+) with minus-0.5 fWAR in 402 plate appearances. Joseph, who’s projected to earn $1.7MM, was also ineffective, evidenced by a meager .219/.254/.321 line (54 wRC+) in 280 trips to the plate. Moreover, the 32-year-old was among the majors’ worst defensive catchers in 2018, per Baseball Prospectus.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 11/3/18]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=136464 2018-11-03T13:25:47Z 2018-11-03T13:25:47Z In this post we will track the minor moves from around the MLB today…

    • Right-handed pitcher Pierce Johnson is now a minor league free agent after clearing waivers, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. Pierce was a first-rounder for the Cubs back in 2012 and appeared regularly on their organizations’ list of top prospects. He spent last season shuttling between the San Francisco Giants and their Triple-A club. With the big league club, the 27-year-old appeared in 37 games, pitching to a 5.56 ERA, with a not-too-promising 7.4 K/9 to 4.53 BB/9. His numbers in Triple-A were much more heartening: 17 games, 3.57 ERA, 11.91 K/9, 3.97 BB/9. If he can figure out a way to translate those minor-league strikeout numbers to the big leagues, he could certainly develop into a useful bullpen piece.
    • The Baltimore Orioles re-signed left-handed pitcher Sean Gilmartin, per John Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. This after being outrighted by the Orioles two days ago. The 28-year-old lefty appeared in 12 games for the Orioles last season after spending the previous three with the New York Mets. Despite the low number of appearances, Gilmartin soaked up a number of innings for the Orioles, throwing 27 innings with a 3.00 ERA. He also spent time with the Orioles and Cardinals Triple-A affiliates in 2018. Gilmartin returns to the Baltimore organization on a minor league deal. Unfortunately, his peripheral metrics don’t rate so highly as that sparkling ERA: 5.39 xFIP, 5.00 K/9, 3.67 BB/9. For his major league career, he has appeared in 78 games with a 3.84 ERA (4.43 xFIP) for the Mets and Orioles.
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    George Miller <![CDATA[Orioles Outright Four Players]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=136200 2018-11-02T02:16:40Z 2018-11-01T22:31:58Z The Orioles announced Thursday that they have outrighted four players off the 40-man roster. Left-hander Sean Gilmartin and right-hander Gabriel Ynoa, along with infielders Corban Joseph and Jace Peterson, will be outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. While Gilmartin and Peterson have elected free agency, the club has agreed to terms with Joseph and Ynoa on minor league contracts for the 2019 season. The move leaves the Orioles with 36 players on their 40-man roster.

    The 30-year-old Joseph will remain with the Orioles for 2019. In 2018, he appeared in the majors for the first time since 2013, when he broke in with the Yankees. Though he played in 14 games with the Orioles in 2018, he spent the majority of the year in Double-A, where he tallied a .312/.381/.497 slash line and hit 17 homers. In his time in the big leagues, Joseph went 4-for-18.

    Ynoa, who was acquired by the Orioles prior to the 2017 season after debuting with the Mets in 2016, was the other player to sign a minor league contract with the O’s. Coming off a solid 2017 campaign in which he started four games for Baltimore, the 25-year-old Ynoa was expected to compete for a spot in the starting rotation out of spring training. However, because of a bout with shin splints and rotator cuff inflammation, he was unable to play for the Orioles in 2018. Ynoa was limited to just two Double-A starts in a brief rehab assignment, before he missed the remainder of the season. He figures to be a depth option for the Orioles in 2019.

    Gilmartin, 28, signed with the Orioles in July after he was released by the Cardinals. In 12 appearances with Baltimore, he posted a solid 3.00 ERA, though his peripherals lagged behind his results. Originally a first-round pick of the Braves in 2011, Gilmartin began his major-league career with the Mets in 2015 as a Rule 5 pick and enjoyed encouraging results, striking out 54 batters in 57  1/3 innings. However, Gilmartin has struggled since that strong rookie season, being designated for assignment by the Mets and later released by the Cardinals. Still, as a controllable left-handed arm with the capability to start, he should find somewhere to play in 2019.

    After beginning the 2018 season with the Yankees, Peterson was claimed off waivers by the Orioles in April. He played all over the diamond for the team, appearing in 93 games for the O’s. Although he finished the season with just a .195 batting average and unspectacular power numbers, he posted an above-average walk rate, drawing 31 bases on balls in 246 plate appearances. Additionally, Peterson stole 13 bases for the O’s, while being caught just twice on the basepaths. With 4.003 years of major-league service time, Peterson can still be controlled by a team for two more seasons. Though he hasn’t lived up to his prospect pedigree, Peterson’s defensive versatility, on-base skills, and platoon splits still make him a useful depth option for a team.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Claim John Andreoli, Select Joey Curletta]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=135957 2018-10-31T19:50:50Z 2018-10-31T19:05:46Z The Mariners have claimed outfielder John Andreoli off waivers from the Orioles, per club announcements. Seattle also added first baseman/outfielder Joey Curletta to its 40-man roster.

    Andreoli, 28, debuted in the bigs last year with the Seattle organization before landing with the O’s via waiver claim. That’s now reversed, though it remains to be seen whether he’ll keep his roster spot throughout the winter. Andreoli did not hit much in limited MLB opportunities, but posted a .287/.397/.401 slash in 388 Triple-A plate appearances last year.

    As for Curletta, 24, the move will prevent him from achieving minor-league free agency. Primarily a right fielder during his prior minor-league campaigns, Curletta appeared mostly at first base last year at the Double-A level. He ended up posting a career-best output, with a .282/.383/.482 batting line and 23 long balls over 556 plate appearances.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Select Contract Of Branden Kline]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=135817 2018-10-30T19:38:40Z 2018-10-30T19:38:40Z The Orioles announced today that they have selected the contract of right-hander Branden Kline. He would otherwise have qualified for minor-league free agency.

    Kline, 27, was a second-round pick out of the University of Virginia back in 2012. His path up the ladder in the Baltimore system was slowed by arm injuries, however. Kline missed most of 2015 and the entirety of the following two seasons owing to a terrible run of injuries.

    Now that he has battled through a surgically repaired broken leg, Tommy John surgery, and other procedures, Kline will likely feature only as a reliever. But he showed quite some promise in that capacity in 2018, when he threw 65 2/3 innings over 44 appearances at the High-A and Double-A levels, working to a 1.64 ERA with 9.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[O's Notes: Front Office, 40-Man Roster]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=135628 2018-10-28T17:13:26Z 2018-10-28T17:13:26Z
  • The Orioles are parting ways with several members of the organization, as The Baltimore Sun’s Jon Meoli and Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com were among those to report the changes.  Triple-A manager Ron Johnson, director of Dominican baseball operations Nelson Norman, East Coast scouting supervisor Kirk Fredriksson, special assistant Matt Haas, and area scout Dana Duquette didn’t have their contracts renewed for 2019.  Senior advisor Joe McIlvaine and special assignment scout Wayne Britton also won’t be returning next season, Kubatko reports.
  • In another piece from Kubatko, he speculates that left-hander Sean Gilmartin and outfielder John Andreoli could be candidates to be outrighted as the Orioles clear roster space in advance of the Rule 5 Draft.  (Kubatko already reported that Jace Peterson has been told by the team that he’ll be placed on outright waivers.)  Gilmartin posted a 3.00 ERA over 27 relief innings for Baltimore after signing a minor league deal last summer, and Kubatko speculates that the O’s could try re-signing Gilmartin after the Rule 5 Draft since the southpaw has potential as a multi-inning reliever.  The 28-year-old Andreoli made his Major League debut last season, posting a .546 OPS over 67 PA with the Mariners and Orioles.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles To Place Jace Peterson On Outright Waivers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=135619 2018-10-28T14:23:18Z 2018-10-28T14:23:18Z The Orioles have told utilityman Jace Peterson that he will be placed on outright waivers, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports.  The team is expected to try and re-sign Peterson after the non-tender deadline (November 30) and the Rule 5 Draft in December.

    The move will free up a spot on the Orioles’ roster and also save the club a bit of money in arbitration costs.  After earning $900K in 2018 in his first year of arbitration eligibility, Peterson was projected by MLBTR’s Matt Swartz for a raise up to $1.3MM for 2019.  Rather than commit to such an amount, the Orioles could try to bring Peterson back on a less-expensive minor league deal or a split contract.

    Peterson, 28, was claimed off waivers from the Yankees last April and ended up appearing in 93 games for Baltimore, batting .195/.308/.325 over 235 PA in the orange and black while seeing time as a second baseman, third baseman, corner outfielder, and even three games at shortstop.  Peterson hasn’t hit much over his five MLB seasons, though his versatility makes him a useful bench asset, and he received some interest from multiple teams when available in April.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Orioles' Failed Pursuit Of Top Cuban Prospects]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=135594 2018-10-27T23:36:37Z 2018-10-27T23:36:37Z
  • The Orioles came in second in the race for Cuban pitching prospect Sandy Gaston, whom the Rays reeled in earlier this week, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. Meanwhile, the Mesa brothers – two other Orioles targets who joined the Marlins last weekend – were essentially a package deal, despite earlier reports to the contrary, per Kubatko. Although Baltimore had the most international pool space available, it lost out on all three prospects, leading to questions as to what went wrong for the beleaguered franchise.
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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Orioles Face Uncertainty On International Market]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=135330 2018-10-24T03:26:57Z 2018-10-24T03:26:57Z Most international prospects sign on, or soon after, July 2 — the beginning of the yearly international spending period. Those teams with money still to spend this time of year are left with a more limited pool of talent from which to draw, though a trio of interesting prospects emerged last month. The Miami Marlins made a splash by locking up top Cuban prospect Victor Victor Mesa and his younger brother Victor Mesa Jr. Earlier todaythe Tampa Bay Rays reportedly committed $2.6MM to sign Cuban right-hander Sandy Gaston.

    Teams have until June 15th to spend their remaining international bonus pool money. But with that trio joining a host of other well-regarded youngsters with MLB organizations, the cupboard is increasingly bare. 

    The situation that remains is quite an interesting one for the Baltimore Orioles, who have far and away the most spending capacity remaining under the current international rules. The O’s can spend around $6.5MM on prospects, having only inked a pair of international youngsters to this point. There are still plenty of players available, to be sure, but the reputed top prospects are off the board. And it’s fair to wonder why none of them ended up in Baltimore.

    Granted, we don’t quite know Baltimore’s strategy for wooing these top prospects — or even if they had one, given the organization’s recent shift to begin spending internationally after years of foregoing the market. We know they sent representatives to the showcase for the three Cuban stars earlier this month, but MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli observes that without a general manager or international scouting director currently in place, the Orioles lagged behind teams like the Rays and Marlins in developing relationships on the international front. Presumably, other organizations were also able to highlight other player-friendly features of their systems that the O’s simply do not currently have. No doubt, the Florida clubs also had something of a geographic advantage as well given the notable Cuban-American communities in that portion of the country.

    It’s a tad ironic to say to Baltimore, a team long mired behind their big-spending rivals in Boston and New York, that money won’t buy the top players in the market. But the fact remains that, in this case, the O’s had the ability to outspend just about anyone on the market, only to find that said financial firepower just wasn’t enough.

    The Baltimore Sun’s Jon Meoli points out that, in and of itself, losing out to a team with deep Cuban roots who spent the last month accumulating enough pool money to compete with Baltimore’s league-leading sum doesn’t even rank on the scale of the organization’s recent disappointments. Still, the Orioles’ longstanding failures and disinterest in developing Latin American players suggests a deleterious operating procedure that’s becoming an unfortunate trademark of the organization.

    Conversely, it’s not as if the more than $6MM the Orioles have in international pool money is free money. As The Athletic’s Dan Connolly rightly notes, it’s not outside funding; it’s merely a spending cap as opposed to actual money. What they really lost was an opportunity to exploit a market advantage. It’s no accident that MLB teams routinely empty their spending allocation. Indeed, it used to be common for clubs to blow past their limits for a given season, incurring massive overage penalties and future signing restrictions. (That approach is no longer permitted under the hard-cap system of the current rules regime.)

    What’s most confounding about this saga is that Baltimore’s pool of money wasn’t available to them by happenstance: they traded for much of it. The Orioles first shipped reliever Brad Brach to Atlanta for pool money ($250k), then dealt Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to Atlanta in a separate deal — this time for an uninspiring prospect bundle that was theoretically headlined by the whopping sum of pool money ($2.5MM) they also received. Shedding O’Day’s hefty $10MM commitment was unquestionably also a key goal, but that is a rather thin justification for parting with a controllable, youthful pitcher of Gausman’s talent level.

    Ghiroli, Meoli and Connolly all touched on a similar sentiment: the optics here are bad for Baltimore, at a minimum. Casting final judgment on the Orioles’ use of their international pool money, at this stage, is premature. The international signing period is not yet done, and the O’s may, theoretically, still have a plan. But in a year when they lost 115 games, bid adieu to their franchise player, and oversaw massive organizational upheaval, the Orioles sure needed a win, and the international market seemed like the place to get it. Now, that avenue carries far less certainty.

    Taiwanese slugger Wang Po-Jung will reportedly be posted for MLB teams, though despite his otherworldly production in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, there’s not much reason to think he’s the sort of player that would headline an international class. Perhaps there will be a bonus-restricted amateur unexpectedly posted from Nippon Professional Baseball or the Korea Baseball Organization who gives the Orioles a mulligan to take advantage of their financial firepower, but right now it seems hard to envision them capitalizing on their considerable bonus pool.

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