Baltimore Orioles: Ranking the Orioles 2018 trades
It’s Christmas and the Baltimore Orioles are fast asleep. With no news in Birdland, we’re ranking the Orioles’ trades from the 2018 season
Coming into the 2018 season, Dan Duquette and the Angelos ownership group thought the Baltimore Orioles could compete for a wildcard spot, and even a division title in the AL East.
That theory was quickly proven wrong as the Orioles got out to an 8-20 start in March and April. The O’s went 9-19 in May and 6-20 in June and by the all-star break, they were forty games back in the division.
At that point, with the Orioles miles away from the playoff race, Duquette finally moved the tradeable assets on the roster and started building for the future.
It’ll take some time to learn whether the prospects Duquette got in return will become valuable pieces in Baltimore, but having seen two months worth of work from them, we’re ready to rank the trades Duquette made during the 2018 season.
We don’t need to rank the trades made last offseason but we’re going to, because they count too.
9. Remember when the Orioles traded RHP Stefan Crichton to the Diamondbacks for cash considerations last offseason? Crichton threw 16 innings for Triple-A Reno, posted a 10.13 ERA and a 5.6 BB/9, and was subsequently released near the end of June.
Crichton will be heading into his age-27 season so there’s still time for a team to take a chance on him and get some value out of him, but neither the Orioles or Diamondbacks truly won this trade.
8. At the trade deadline, the Orioles sent RHP Brad Brach to the Braves for international bonus slot money. Considering that the Orioles were only able to sign a handful of lower-tier international prospects, this trade only did so much for the O’s.
Brach was only making $5.1 million last year, half of which the Orioles had already paid him. This was a salary dump, and a poor one by Duquette, especially considering the Orioles lack of a presence in the international market, and how poorly the Orioles bullpen performed in the latter half of the 2018 season.
7. The Orioles acquired INF Engelb Vielma from the Giants for cash considerations in late-January. Vielma hit .184 in Norfolk, and played in 6 games with the Orioles before fracturing his patella and ending his season.
Expectations were low for Vielma heading into the offseason and the Orioles ended up DFA’ing him to make room on the 40-man roster for Dillon Tate, who they wanted to protect from eligibility in the Rule-5 draft.
6. In February, the Orioles acquired C Andrew Susac from the Brewers for cash considerations. Susac was once a well-regarded prospect in the Giants system but as time has passed, he hasn’t developed as expected.
Susac hasn’t been able to adjust to major league pitching; his OPS in seven partial minor league seasons is .806. In five partial years at the major league level, that OPS drops to .657.
Many Orioles fans, including myself, expected Susac to be one of the first guys to get DFA’d this offseason but he’s still on the 40-man and Mike Elias could try to get something out of him next year.
5. The Orioles acquired OF Jaycob Brugman from the A’s for a PTBNL, who became RHP Jake Bray. Brugman hit .250 with a .724 OPS between Bowie and Norfolk this year.
Brugman’s ceiling is likely as a fourth outfielder in the majors but with Cedric Mullins, DJ Stewart, Yusniel Diaz, Austin Hays, and Ryan McKenna all vying for those spots, Brugman might not get a chance in the Orioles’ outfield.
Bray was drafted in 2013 and has never pitched above High-A. Brugman might never contribute much above the Triple-A level for the Orioles but this wasn’t the worst trade the Orioles could’ve made.
4. At the deadline, the Orioles sent RHP Kevin Gausman and RHP Darren O’Day to the Braves for C Brett Cumberland, 3B Jean Carlos Encarnacion, LHP Bruce Zimmerman, RHP Evan Phillips, and international slot money.
The Orioles dealt Gausman, who to that point had thrown 124 innings with a 4.43 ERA, partly in order to rid themselves of O’Day’s remaining salary. Gausman pitched well for the Braves down the stretch and will likely continue to do so under a better player development umbrella than the one he had in Baltimore.
Cumberland is a nice player; a bat first prospect who slotted into the back end of the Orioles top-30 prospects list when he came from Atlanta. Encarnacion immediately became the Orioles number 15 prospect; he’s good enough defensively to stick at third base, but he’s still raw at the plate. He posted a dismal .597 OPS in 104 plate appearances at Delmarva.
A college pitcher, Zimmerman was a 5th round pick in 2017 and has looked good in the minors, advancing to Double-A this year with both the Braves and Orioles. He could be sneaky good next year pitching alongside bigger name prospects in Bowie.
Phillips got shelled in Baltimore last year but he’s still just 24 and has good raw stuff; there’s time for him to develop and he’ll likely pitch out of the bullpen in Baltimore in 2019.
3. The Orioles sent Zach Britton to the Yankees for RHP Dillon Tate, RHP Cody Carroll, and LHP Josh Rogers. Britton was coming off the Achilles injury and he was on an expiring contract, so he was expected to be moved, but the Orioles did well with the return.
Tate has a 3.84 ERA in almost 300 innings in the minors and he’ll help lead the rotation in Bowie next year. His low-to-mid 90’s fastball plays up and he has a plus slider and change-up. He’s currently the sixth ranked prospect in the system, and the third ranked pitcher.
Carroll was very effective in the high-minors but his stuff didn’t translate in the majors last year, finishing with a 9.00 ERA and 13 walks in 17 innings. He’ll compete for a bullpen spot in Baltimore next season.
Rogers was much like Carroll last year; he pitched well in the minors but once he got to Baltimore, he struggled. Rogers allowed too much hard contact in his three starts and struggled commanding his pitches in the zone, but he’ll have time to correct that in 2019.
Getting these three in return for Britton was great for the Orioles, but Elias and Brandon Hyde need to put better development people in place if these three are going to succeed.
2. The Orioles moved second baseman Jonathan Schoop to the Brewers for shortstop Jean Carmona, RHP Luis Ortiz, and INF Jonathan Villar at the deadline. Schoop was one of the better hitters on the Orioles roster and was an all-star in 2017, but he fell apart after the trade this year; he hit just .202 with a .577 OPS after the move to Milwaukee.
Ortiz made just one appearance in Baltimore after the trade and left with a hamstring injury that finished his season. Ortiz has acknowledged the need for better conditioning; he needs to come into 2019 healthy, but he’s got plenty of potential with a plus fastball and slider. Carmona is young and will be a project but scouts like his athleticism and he’s been a solid defender thus far.
Villar was the best player on the Orioles after the trade, and projects to be one of the best in 2019 as well. That might say more about the Orioles than it does about Villar but if he’s good, it’ll be huge for the O’s.
1. After the all-star break, the Orioles finally traded their superstar, Manny Machado, to the Dodgers and received 3B Rylan Bannon, OF Yusniel Diaz, RHP Dean Kremer, RHP Zach Pop, and INF Breyvic Valera. We knew this trade was coming, but it doesn’t make it any less depressing when your team trades its franchise cornerstone, and one of the best players in baseball.
In return, the Orioles got Diaz, who immediately became the O’s top prospect. Diaz has progressed slowly through the minors but he could be an everyday player in Baltimore two years from now, if not late-2019.
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Bannon is a very good defender with above average power, though he slugged just .327 in 122 plate appearances in Bowie after the trade. Valera was serviceable as a utility infielder in Baltimore last year, and for what it’s worth had one of the highest contact rates in the majors at 92.9%, until a broken finger ended his season. Valera will fight for playing time in the 2019 infield.
Pop is a back end top-30 prospect with above average stuff and a high-90’s fastball. He pitched to a 1.53 ERA in 64.2 innings last year, but he’s a few years away from contributing in the majors.
Kremer is currently the Orioles 16th ranked prospect but there’s a chance he moves up the list next year. He’s slated to help lead the 2019 Baysox rotation, which one of our contributors, Chuck Boemmel, wrote about here.
As much as it hurts to lose a player like Machado, the Elias organization should be able to turn at least a couple of these guys into regular major leaguers and right now, this trade looks like a win for the Orioles.
How would you all rank the Orioles 2018 trade deadline moves?