Dan Duquette (DD) has a dilemma on his hands, and I think he knows it.
There’s no denying the O’s have talent, yet despite currently being in the thick of the playoff race, this team is not a true World Series contender. Whether an O’s fan or “GM”, one must have the foresight to reasonably assess the team’s chances at winning it all, and that means recognizing that this team isn’t built to win in October. Sure, the offense will score runs, but they are too dependent on the HR, and lack the ability to manufacture runs. Adding someone like Jose Altuve of the Astros would be a godsend for this team, but adding such a player is not only unlikely, it’d be cost-prohibitive. While trading for a second-baseman or catcher would benefit the team, we still have a sub-par starting staff, especially in regards to a playoff run. So, should DD look to trade for an ace starter, likely losing prospects like Dylan Bundy and/or Hunter Harvey in the process?
Many O’s fans and pundits mention that we have a “two-year window” of contention. This is based on the contract situations of various players, including Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, Nelson Cruz, J.J. Hardy, Nick Markakis, Bud Norris, Wei-Yin Chen, Darren O’Day and Tommy Hunter – whose contracts expire at the end of the current season or next. DD must weigh the likelihood of an extended playoff run, versus the longer term health of the franchise. If we had a strong minor league system chock full of quality prospects, then “going for it” by trading for an Ace, second-baseman, catcher, etc., would make sense. As it is, our system is top heavy, meaning that we’d be virtually bereft of talent should we deal those top prospects away, sacrificing our future for a shot at winning now. Therein lies the dilemma.
The way I see it, DD has three basic options:
- Go “ALL IN”: Deal our top prospects for Yu Darvish, or another ace starter. Jeff Samardzija wouldn’t qualify as such- in my view.
- Half-Ass It: Make deals for decent players at positions of need, not losing our top prospects, yet getting decent upgrades at starter, second-baseman, catcher, etc.
- Take real advantage of a sellers market and trade guys like Hardy, Cruz and Markakis for some outstanding prospects or major-league ready players, building a strong system and brighter future.
My expectations? DD will do what most O’s fans expect- he’ll half-ass it and make moderate deals, hoping the new additions are enough to push us into the playoffs and surprise. Ugh.
-Blogger X out