Orioles' Ryan O'Hearn trade with Royals is making Kansas City look truly awful

The Ryan O'Hearn trade is a classic tale of two organizations that are run
Oakland Athletics v Baltimore Orioles
Oakland Athletics v Baltimore Orioles / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

Amongst all of the highlights that guys like Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman have given the Baltimore Orioles and their fans this season, Ryan O'Hearn has been one of their most steady offensive contributors in 2024. O'Hearn has slashed .287/.364/.500 with 10 extra-base hits including six homers. Through 34 games, he ranks fifth on the team in fWAR despite having to yield playing time at times this year.

What makes O'Hearn's production all the sweeter is that Baltimore got him in a trade with the Royals for basically nothing. Now, he is making the Royals look foolish at best and incompetent at worst.

Orioles' Ryan O'Hearn is making the Royals pay for giving up on him

It was the offseason after the 2022 season and O'Hearn had been a bit of an enigma for Kansas City. He looked great with the Royals when he was first called up to the big leagues, but he averaged a .633 OPS over the next four seasons and they decided to send him to Baltimore just for some cash. Since that day, O'Hearn has made the Royals regret that decision.

In O'Hearn's 146 games with the Orioles since the trade, he has put up a .289/.332/.485 line. On top of that, he is still improving, as O'Hearn has shown a marked increase in his walk rate in 2024. While it is fair to guess that Kansas City probably wishes they could take that trade back, the reality is more sobering.

It is just a fact that the Orioles have been much better about developing and getting the most out of their hitters than the Royals. While it seems like the Royals have a front office and player development program that is at least passable now, they were a mess when they had O'Hearn. When talented players join organizations that know how to put players in a position to succeed, the results are generally good, and that seems to be what happened with O'Hearn.

While O'Hearn may not ever be a superstar or ever eclipse the top names on the Orioles' roster, that doesn't take away from the foresight that Baltimore had in acquiring him. They saw a talented guy struggling on a terrible Royals team and got a very productive big leaguer for pennies on the dollar. That's great news for Baltimore and very telling for the Royals, even if it looks like Kansas City has made some changes for the better after the fact.

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