Baltimore Orioles wasting picks on Yovani Gallardo and potentially Dexter Fowler
It took 15 years for the Baltimore Orioles to return to the playoffs. They’ve had 4 consecutive years without a losing record (albeit last year was 81-81). They still have young talent in their prime and a chance to have another solid season ahead. But the cost of retaining Chris Davis (150 million) was too much to overcome and it has made bringing in other star players impossible.
Restricted free agents carry the unfortunate weight of being worth a 1st round draft pick in Major League Baseball. And why there are like 40 rounds and nothing is a certainty by being a top-round player, it still seems like a lot to give up for a team that gave nearly 60 million to a busted Ubaldo Jimenez. Last year with just one lefty starter the Orioles did just fine. The AL East as a group batted much better against lefties than righties. So hopefully that trend might continue.
Bringing in Yovani Gallardo isn’t a bad thing when you don’t lose the opportunity for young talent. Then again, when the young talent hasn’t produced much recently (i.e. Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, etc.) it’s tough to rely heavily on that either. Baltimore still has their eyes set on Dexter Fowler, who is a very capable player, but again the cost seems a bit high.
If they are in win-now mode (which is a joke under Peter Angelos) then they should have tried to do more than the minimalistic approach they’ve taken the last 3 or 4 offseasons. A lot of it is tied to what they paid Chris Davis and what he means to this team. But the bigger question wouldn’t have been what Davis will do for this team but who will make up for that production?
Adam Jones and Manny Machado can attempt to make up for home runs, but the better question is whether Davis is worth that money? And the answer is no. But when there’s no one better to go out and get and the team wants to win now, there’s really not many other options. You could always just not sign Davis and take a shot at someone else. You never know. Chris Davis might bat under the Mendoza Line again and strike out more than ever. In the event that he doesn’t, the Orioles want to make sure they don’t miss out (like with Nelson Cruz).
The bigger question is who ends up being the team ace? Will it be Gallardo? Or will Chris Tillman get back the confidence that made him a legitimate #1 just two seasons ago? Baltimore has a similar rotation to the past few years. They’ve got a lot of guys that could be characterized #3s, but no elite prospects. Kevin Gausman could be that guy, but he needs to work on something other than his fastball because it’s not good enough to win alone. Staying healthy will also be key.
Finally, the most important part of everything Orioles baseball is who is making the decisions and what they believe the direction of the team is. Dan Duquette nearly went to the Toronto Blue Jays and put the O’s in a bad spot. But he’s still in Baltimore and the best option they’ve got. Hopefully Buck Showalter will pull this team together and get them playing well.