Orioles owner's latest comments should quell thoughts of wild spending spree

David Rubenstein and co. have endeared themselves to fans, but a big spending increase may not be in the cards.
Arizona Diamondbacks v Baltimore Orioles
Arizona Diamondbacks v Baltimore Orioles / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

By and large, the Angelos family selling the Baltimore Orioles to the ownership group led by David Rubenstein was met with cheers from Orioles fans far and wide. There were certainly some good times under Peter Angelos' stewardship, but there is no denying that a lot of aspects about the Orioles declined once John Angelos became the family's point man, especially when it came to the team's payroll.

So far, Rubenstein has basically been able to do no wrong since the sale was completed. He has made a concerted effort to endear himself to Orioles fans and has verbally committed to investing in the organization and the Baltimore community. All of these things are a great start.

However, Rubenstein recently did a Q&A at the Economic Club of Washington and while he certainly said a lot of positive things regarding the direction of the club, he also made a couple comments that could indicate that Orioles fans shouldn't expect Rubenstein to be a big spender (or, at least, not someone who overwhelms the competition).

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Rubenstein covered a wide range of topics in the Q&A and he certainly indicated that he fully intends to support the Orioles in their efforts to put a winning team on the field. However, he did give a quote that raised a few eyebrows when he said, "It’s not easy to figure out how much money you put in. As all of you know, does money buy you happiness? Not necessarily. It doesn’t necessarily buy you success. The same is true in baseball. Money doesn’t always mean you’re going to have the best team, the best players, the best morale."

For some of the more pessimistic Orioles fans out there, this could be a red flag that Baltimore just has another cheap owner with improved personal PR. However, the truth is probably much less insidious and a lot more nuanced than that.

Given the context of all of Rubenstein's comments, it is more likely that he is still figuring out how the game and business of baseball fully work in tandem, parsing which investments are worthwhile and which are not. By all accounts, Rubenstein's discussions with his front office have all gone great, and he is going to defer to them a lot when it comes to making the right baseball moves. It is honestly refreshing for an owner to take a thoughtful approach to owning a baseball team, but also having the cash to back it up if a move needs to get made.

Still, many Orioles fans are not going to be convinced until they actually see a change. The first opportunity to see Baltimore make a big move under Rubenstein is this year's trade deadline, where the Orioles are predicted to be active. If the Orioles make a big deadline splash, absorb someone else's bloated salary, extend one of their young stars or add a big free agent after the year, Rubenstein will have a lot more believers. If not, doubts about how much more Baltimore's new owners plan to invest in the team are going to get louder and louder.

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