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  1. Are there major issues between Reynolds and Showalter or did he legitimately not see him? Seems odd..

    Comment by matt1101 — May 7, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

  2. Baltimore was understandably thought of as being, well, a terrible team looking at an ugly season as they start a long rebuilding process.


    Also, the Blue Jays are on the rise. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays look to be excellent for a while. Why not be a buyer (especially with the second wild card spot)? From a business and attendance perspective, the chances to win don’t look abundant, so take advantage when you have it.

    Comment by Anon — May 7, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

  3. the dugout was giving reynolds the silent treatment and he saw it, decided to head straight to the tunnel to turn it around on them. that’s what reynolds said afterwards.

    source: the google.

    Comment by clevelander — May 7, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  4. Club was giving Reynolds the silent treatment after his 1st HR of the year (no cheering, etc.), so he kept his head down and went straight into the dugout – didn’t see Showalter. Explanation given in the postgame.

    Comment by Os Fan — May 7, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  5. So just throwing in the towel when you are in first place? No one thinks it will last, but you know what will get even LESS fans in the stadium? Selling when they are not just hot but good. There are only a few players playing over their BABIP heads (Andino and Chris Davis), and the pitching is a vast improvement over last year. Am I saying that they are going to win a wild card?? No, but they are probably closer to contention than anyone thought. Considering MW and Adam Jones are entering primes and won’t be on current contracts for much longer when Machado and Bundy come up, maybe they should try to build without selling one of their best values in Hardy.

    Comment by Kyle H — May 7, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

  6. I apologize. I read your comment entirely wrong lol

    Comment by Kyle H — May 7, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

  7. ah cool! Thanks guys. All makes sense now!:)

    Comment by matt1101 — May 7, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  8. Everyone keeps saying this and it seems like Emperor’s New Clothes. Why are Blue Jays on the rise? Lind, Escobar and Arencibia have w/OBAs in the .270-.285 range. Drabek is a complete bust. Bautista is looking more like his whole career prior to last two years rather than last two years. Hutchinson isn’t ready.

    You will have to work hard to convince me the O’s don’t have as good a team in 2012. Hammel is pitching as well as anyone, Arrieta has always had talent and beyond Romero and Morrow the Jays have nothing. The O’s have a better bullpen and I would take them at every position other than 3B, RF and DH offensively.

    Why are the Jays constantly looked at as half full while the O’s have zero chance? Oh, and the O’s have already taken 5 of 6 this year.

    Comment by Bret — May 7, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

  9. As a long-suffering fan of the new best team in baseball, I take offense to any suggestion that the best team in baseball should consider selling off its players.

    Comment by oilcanboy — May 7, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

  10. I don’t really agree with trading Hardy at this point. I don’t think the return now would be appreciably better than it would be at the deadline either next year or the year after. Maybe a tiny bit better, but not enough to justify giving up on this season and deal with the fan backlash / decreased attendance. It would really be a slap in the face to the fanbase to trade a high quality shortstop while they have the best record in baseball, and no backup ready to step in.

    Comment by Kevin — May 7, 2012 @ 2:28 pm

  11. while i think there is merit to your argument, i reject the premise. while the division is, top-to-bottom, very good right now, i don’t think that it will necessarily be great 2-3 years from now, when the impact players in the Os system (notably bundy and machado) begin to, well, have an impact.

    we see article again and again on this site that suggests that using financial clout in the FA market is an ineffecient way to build a team. does this not apply to the sox and yankees? moreover, as both teams attempt to get under the luxury tax, they will not be able to grow their payroll at the rate they did over the previous decade. that means that it will be more difficult to patch over bad or aging roster composition. penciling either team in for 90+ wins for the next few years seems very ambitious to me.

    thus, as this article suggests, the orioles should continue to stockpile ML-ready talent. trading hardy should not be considered a “dump” trade but rather a talent rearrangement trade, with an eye towards acquiring a younger, maybe riskier, talent.

    Comment by cable fixer — May 7, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

  12. I agree that the fixed position of FG might be a touch too bullish on the Jays (outstanding uniforms aside). However, it’s a tough sell that they don’t have a deep farm system with some upper level impact talent (D’Arnaud), an at-worst “capable” GM (dear AA: hang up when Jon Daniels calls!), and decent revenue potential.

    If you ran those set of circumstances 100 times, I’d wager that they return a positive result more times than not…and isn’t that really all you can ask for?

    Comment by jcxy — May 7, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

  13. I agree with jxcy, with the added that all the positions that arent performing seem like they have potential to do more. Yunel, Rasmus, Kelly Johnson are all great adds that could have 3+ Win years. The pitching does not look so hot, however, and I am bearish on it

    Comment by Kyle H — May 7, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

  14. Only a few years back (five or so?) the Orioles had a killer first half and we all know how the bottom fell out for the remainder of that season. No team should move pieces until they are sure that they are out of contention. Hardy – and maybe Reynolds – are the best pieces to shop, but let’s make sure that they don’t have a realistic shot at that 2nd wild card spot before sending them away. Unless its for the next Adam Jones, in which case… well, that seems to be turning into a winner…

    Comment by shibboleth — May 7, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

  15. This is absurd. This is contrarian for the sake of being contrarian. Chances are they’ll fall out of the race in 40-60 games, and that gives them plenty of time to dump some value if they so choose.

    But you think they’re going to get that much more value for Hardy now than they would in two months that it’s worth giving their long suffering fans a huge middle finger and destroy any remaining credibility? Not to mention the possibility that they’ll have one of the all time fluke seasons and actually make the playoffs.

    The answer is no.

    Comment by BillWallace — May 7, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  16. Well, based on their performance of the last few years, the O’s have a steeper hill to climb than the Jays, so it’s natural that they’d be questioned a bit more than the Jays.

    The other thing is that Baltimore’s start really does seem to include a bunch of overachieving – I mean not one member of their pitching staff is struggling at all, and a good half of them are putting up numbers unsustainable even by the elite of the elite in the game. Significant regression there seems certain. Their offense at least seems sustainable – the hot starts of Wieters/Jones/Reimold/Davis/Andino are balanced somewhat by the cold starts of Markakis/Hardy/Reynolds, so going forward we can see that the difference will likely balance out.

    But the pitching? It seems to be overachieving by a pretty large amount right now.

    Meanwhile, the Jays’ seem to be winning despite having only a handful of players – EE, Morrow, Drabek, Perez – overachieving in any way at all, and only a handful of others – Romero, Alvarez, Oliver, KJ – even playing to expectations. The majority of their roster seems to be underachieving, and a good chunk of those underachievers are way, way below expectations.

    Comment by everdiso — May 7, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  17. “I would take them at every position other than 3B, RF and DH offensively.”

    Just wanted to do a quick comparison to see if I agree. Just using career wRC+.

    CF Rasmus (25): 1690pa, 100wRC+
    CF Jones (26): 2542pa, 101wRC+

    RF Bautista (31): 3504pa, 122wRC+
    RF Markakis (28): 4212pa, 115wRC+

    LF Thames (25): 487pa, 105wRC+
    LF Reimold (28): 916pa, 111wRC+

    3B Lawrie (22): 293pa, 135wRC+
    3B Betemit (30): 2021pa, 105wRC+

    SS Escobar (29): 2834pa, 106wRC+
    SS Hardy (29): 3366pa, 97wRC+

    2B Johnson (30): 3309pa, 108wRC+
    2B Andino (28): 1053pa, 74wRC+ — (Roberts (35): 5535pa, 108wRC+)

    1B Lind (28): 2639pa, 102wRC+
    1B Davis (26): 1187pa, 94wRC+

    C Arencibia (26): 607pa, 86wRC+
    C Wieters (26): 1543pa, 101wRC+

    DH Enc’cion (29): 3203pa, 108wRC+
    DH Reynolds (28): 2999pa, 109wRC+

    Not sure they project much differently overall offensively in the shortterm, though the Jays do seem to have a bit more in terms of young unproven/inexperienced kids with upside to project on.

    Comment by everdiso — May 7, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

  18. “I doubt all but the most devout Orioles believers think this will last…”

    funny, I thought the point of FG was to test lazy assertions like these. looks like someone had a “orioles fire sale” article in the hopper two months back and didn’t feel like starting over

    but hey, all hail the blue jays, our new Overlords

    Comment by china_dave — May 7, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  19. Last year, by about July, you could get any seat in Camden Yards for $5.

    The only way the Orioles will be relevant again is if they win some games. They don’t need to make the playoffs. They just need to be competitive sometime past the allstar break.

    They trade Hardy, and its a white flag, and a clear indicator thats not going to happen. They trace Hardy, and the $5 seats start again.

    Comment by Synovia — May 7, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

  20. In 2009 the Jays started off 27-14. They finished 75-87. Baltimore still has a long way to go to even reach that inglorious end.

    Comment by Baron Samedi — May 7, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  21. 27-14.

    Comment by Baron Samedi — May 7, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

  22. what’s the reference

    Comment by china_dave — May 7, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

  23. Oh Dave, I’m sorry that you’re an O’s fan who must suffer for his team, but Matt really isn’t off base here. Look at the team xFIP and you’ll get a picture of an average-ish pitching staff, not a dominant one. The offense is playing great right now, but is way above projections. Do you really think an at-best average ML offense and pitching will win the AL East or a wild card? Maybe, but I doubt it.

    On the other hand, don’t let this damper your outrage- keep fighting “the Man” who hates your team.

    Comment by mbrady16 — May 7, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

  24. I’ve yet to make a prediction about the O’s chances this year. My point was that to off-handedly dismiss their success on the way to mooting various trade possibilities is lazy, tone deaf and (I thought) contrary to the spirit of FG.

    And don’t use quotation marks unless you’re actually going to, you know, quote me.

    Comment by china_dave — May 7, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

  25. Good point. Fans are going to be ecstatic even if they finish 82-80.

    That said, it’s going to be a close race in the AL East this year. And with the extra Wild Card team, who knows? It’s baseball, after all. Anything can happen.

    Comment by Anonymous — May 7, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

  26. I don’t agree that the orioles should even consider trading JJ Hardy unless they’re completely blown away… Finding a guy that can actually play an above average/ average SS and hit for some power is incredibly rare these days, not to mention, marketable… Why not look to extend him if he has a decent year and worry about who’s on 3rd when Machado is actually close? Hardy is probably going to be the best shortstop in the AL East once Jeter remembers that he’s almost 40. I don’t think the Orioles will ever compete if they trade away key pieces like Hardy. I would much rather see them trade away a hot bullpen arm at the deadline like they did with Uehara last year.

    Comment by Joey — May 7, 2012 @ 4:49 pm

  27. Why is comeback in quotation marks? He was a 4.5 WAR player for 2 years, then had 2 down years (some of it injury related) and then was a 4.5 WAR player again. Isn’t that the definition of comeback?

    Comment by Kevin — May 7, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

  28. There’s no need to extend him. They just did that last year. He’s currently in year #1 of a 3 year deal at $7m/yr.

    Comment by Chris in Hawaii — May 7, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

  29. The other thing is that Baltimore’s start really does seem to include a bunch of overachieving – I mean not one member of their pitching staff is struggling at all, and a good half of them are putting up numbers unsustainable even by the elite of the elite in the game.

    Brian Matusz: 4.67 ERA – 4.62 FIP – 5.29 xFIP
    Tommy Hunter: 5.00 ERA – 6.26 FIP – 4.56 xFIP

    Arrieta’s peripherals support his numbers right now…Chen and Hammel will probably regress some…but Matusz looks like he’s getting back into form with two straight quality starts against good AL East teams.

    Likewise, Andino and Davis’ hot starts are balanced by Hardy and Markakis’ slow starts. Reimold’s hot start is balanced by the time he missed due to injury.

    I didn’t case the bullpen’s peripheral numbers, but it wouldn’t be surprising to me if Strop, Ayala, Johnson et al ended up with ERAs in the 2 to 3 range — it’s not outside the range of previous performances. It’s certainly a better bullpen than Boston’s.

    I mean, there’s some evidence that the Orioles are for real. Maybe not 19-9 real, but an above-average team with several players making a leap up in production. All of the position players are between 26 and 28, statistically speaking the wheelhouse for career years.

    It is possible, isn’t it, that the Orioles are seeing an unlikely across-the-board explosion of talent on their roster?

    I should add, I’m not a Baltimore fan, just a fascinated onlooker. Sure, it’s too early to say they’re definitely for real — but I’m hoping they are, because that would be a cool — and extremely rare and unlikely — thing to see.

    Comment by Jay Stevens — May 7, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

  30. First, off, the Orioles’ offense isn’t really over performing. They’re scoring 0.3 runs a game more than last year, with the maturation of several key players and the elimination of certain offensive black holes. Similarly, their defense is under performing; they aren’t that strong defensively but a number of players who are normally good have been making uncharacteristic mistakes recently.

    The bullpens pitching pretty far over their heads, I’ll give you that. The starters probably are too, but not necessarily. There are good reasons for all of them to continue their early success, at least to some extent.

    Will the Orioles keep up this pace? No. Could they feasibly be above .500? Yes. Would that feel better to Orioles fans than making the playoffs would to Yankees or Red Sox fans? Absolutely.

    Comment by willjohnson — May 7, 2012 @ 5:29 pm

  31. Very possible. This team has quite a few young players that at one time were quality prospects, but never put it together. Chris Davis (whiffing less, laying off more balls), Jake Arrieta (breaking balls looked untouchable vs. Yankees) and Brian Matusz (increased velocity, missing more bats) all look much better than last year.

    The bullpen is probably the biggest improvement. They are already up to 1.7 WAR this year, on pace for 9. They finished with 2.5 last year.

    The defense has been better. They finished second to last in UZR last year, thanks mostly to Felix Pie (cut) and Mark Reynolds (playing better/less, although his 3B partner Betemit is even worse).

    People are still writing off Hammel, who has two consecutive 3.9 WAR seasons under his belt, and looks better than ever. Last year’s ace, Zach Britton, is still on the DL. Brian Roberts might possibly come back. Meanwhile the Red Sox, Rays and Yanks have all recently lost superstars for extended periods of time.

    A winning record is absolutely possible.

    Comment by Anonymous — May 7, 2012 @ 6:59 pm

  32. I’ve always just LOVED Hardy, always. So happy when he got to MN, so livid when we shipped him out for a bucket of balls. Honestly one of my favorite players ever.

    Comment by WinTwins — May 7, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

  33. If I remember correctly, one of the reasons that Hardy signed the deal was because the Orioles gave him a no trade clause since he enjoyed living in Baltimore and didn’t want to keep on moving. So I don’t see him being traded.

    Comment by Ryan Baer — May 7, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

  34. I totally agree. Orioles fans like myself finally have hope, and people think we should do a firesale? Uh, no. That would be a complete “Screw you” to the fanbase, telling us that the Orioles aren’t committed to winning. Keeping fan morale high, and improving the attendance is far more important than getting prospects for players while the fans are excited about the team.

    Comment by Ryan Baer — May 7, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

  35. will,

    I can’t really agree with you. Jones, Wieters, Andino and Chris Davis are all hitting way above what you’d expect right now. It could be that they’re all having simultaneous career years but I kind of doubt that. Maybe Wieters/Davis will break out offensively this year but they still will not keep this pace.

    Finishing over .500 is certainly a possibility but I just have a problem with those who think a realistic projection for *insert favorite team that’s playing well over SSS here* is somehow a personal attack or has to be incorrect.

    Comment by mbrady16 — May 7, 2012 @ 8:49 pm

  36. It’s true. The Orioles might be like the Pirates last year, a team that starts off hot and eventually tails off. And you know what that meant for the Pirates? Hope. A few sellout crowds. I saw them play the Red Sox and it was electric.

    While a team has to be strategic, strategy doesn’t just mean collecting players/prospects. It also means keeping your fanbase engaged so your revenue streams rise. In this case, they should keep on fighting while they’re on top. They’ll probably end up in 4rth or 5th place again? Fine. At least they put on a good show for the fans. The extra ticket and merchandise sales probably offset the extra C-level prospect they’d get for trading a guy a couple months early.

    Comment by B N — May 7, 2012 @ 9:07 pm

  37. I saw the .gif at the beginning of the article, immediately thought this was Notgraphs, and was horribly confused as I proceeded to read the article.

    Comment by Lenard — May 8, 2012 @ 12:51 am

  38. Small sample size much? …and Drabek is far from a bust. He’s actually shown some improvement thus far with the work the Org has done with him this spring, He’s come out of his re-fined wind up a couple times, and the walks have happened, but he’s looked promising again.

    Lind is shit though if not facing a RH’er.

    Comment by Shane — May 8, 2012 @ 2:39 am

  39. This is a weak and lazy article.

    The Orioles have a couple top prospects in the minors but almost no depth behind it. Nearly every important player on their major league team is between 25 and 30.

    There’s zero upside to having a fire sale in the beginning of May and restarting a total rebuild a few months early. Yeah, odds are that they’ll fade, and perhaps quickly. But they still have the best record in baseball and they basically have a free option to try to catch lightning in a bottle because there’s really no downside to waiting until July to trade veterans.

    Comment by Dk — May 8, 2012 @ 7:44 am

  40. i know the Brewers could use a SS, and i still see plenty of Hardy jerseys and tshirts worn by women around here, lol. that said, i dont know that melvin/attanasio would want to invest $ like that at SS for the next couple years (considering we’re paying for Gonzo on the DL already now)

    Comment by robby — May 8, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

  41. For those on the comment thread wondering about the sustainability of the Orioles bullpen, I just looked at that yesterday. I looked at each member of the bullpen to see just how much regression is coming…

    Comment by Kevin — May 8, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

  42. Maybe this is 14 years of frustration speaking, but if the O’s can in any way make a case that they are in it come the trade deadline, they should be buyers. Boston and New York are too rich and Tampa and Toronto are too smart for a few more half rate prospects to make a difference. Hardy or Johnson won’t deliver an A level prospect and Baltimore has more B and C level “prospects” than they know what to do with. We don’t need another “projects to be a #3 or # 4” pitcher or “may one day be a serviceable” starter. I rather Baltimore give up one of their plethora of crappy prospects and make the last two months of the season exciting.

    Comment by Bill — May 8, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

  43. Do you really think the type of prospect Baltimore would get for Hardy or Johnson would give them any better of chance to compete with Tampa, New York, Boston, or Toronto? The last two world series have proven that crappy teams can get hot and beat vastly superior teams. If the O’s are reasonably close in July, lets see trade up. Maybe Ryan Flaherty will be Cody Ross, or Wilson Betemit will be Pat Burrell. If Kyle Lohse can pitch in the world series than so can Jason Hammel. If at all possible, Baltimore needs to give fans something to root for in August even if means mortgaging their already not so rosy future. As a fan, I would have no problem with Baltimore sacrificing ten wins next year for 5 wins this year. Double the sacrifice and I still wouldn’t have a problem with it.

    Comment by Bill — May 8, 2012 @ 3:01 pm

  44. Uh, Brian Matusz may be overachieving this year. He wasn’t exactly Cy Young last year.

    Comment by Bill — May 8, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

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