The whisper campaign heated up when the Orioles cooled off in mid-August. The club's soft offseason had come home to roost and baseball operations chief Dan Duquette suddenly had to answer again for decisions made months earlier that might have altered the course of what was becoming a lost season. So, it was entirely predictable that Duquette's future with the team would come into question and his relationship with manager Buck Showalter would be the subject of speculation.
OK, we get it. The Orioles aren't going to give up on the 2015 season until the last shred of mathematical possibility has been sucked out of this year's playoff picture. But shouldn't the organization also be making the most out of the waning weeks of the season and the club's exclusive bargaining window for retaining potential free agents?
The current front office deserves a chance to make this right. But if it chooses instead to fall back on player development and a long-term rebuild — rather than increasing the payroll and trying to get right back up after this year's collapse — the Orioles are going to lose the fans they worked so hard to win back.
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter tried again to justify the club's offseason decision-making during a special Q&A session for the team's best customers Saturday afternoon. But it was hard to do that without leaving the impression that the same kind of thing is going to happen several times over this coming winter.
To make room for catcher Steve Clevenger on the big league roster, the Orioles designated outfielder David Lough for assignment Friday ¿ another member of the Opening Day squad, and specifically the outfield - that has been jettisoned during this season.
Chris Davis has mentioned how much last year's early season oblique injury affected him throughout a disappointing 2014. Though he came into this season healthy, the residual effects of that injury lingered in the early parts of this season, Davis said. Now, that's a thing of the past.
Before last Friday's deadline, the O's traded pitching prospect Zach Davies to the Milwaukee Brewers for outfielder Gerardo Parra and sent reliever Tommy Hunter to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Junior Lake.
Now that the much-anticipated midseason trade deadline has passed, it's probably a good time to take stock of what happened over the past week and consider how it might impact the Orioles and the American League East.
When the dust settled following Friday afternoon's nonwaiver trade deadline, the Orioles had filled their most glaring need by dealing for an established, hot-hitting outfielder while dealing away one of the core members of their bullpen in a separate move. On Friday morning, the Orioles acquired 28-year-old outfielder Gerardo Parra from the Milwaukee Brewers for minor league pitcher Zach Davies. Then, at the 4 p.m. deadline, the Orioles sent right-handed reliever Tommy Hunter to the Chicago
As Friday¿s 4 p.m. nonwaiver trade deadline looms, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette is still attempting to improve the club¿s 25-man roster by adding an outfielder with on-base skills and potentially another pitcher. According to sources in and outside the organization, every indication is that Duquette will make at least one deal by Friday afternoon ¿ though it is not expected to be a blockbuster.
This is the kind of nostalgia that isn't going to give anybody who bleeds orange and black a warm and fuzzy feeling. There was a time not so long ago that this week represented the annual passing of the baton from the beleaguered Orioles to the always-competitive Ravens for Baltimore sports fans. For the decade or so before the O's re-emerged as a contending team in 2012, the opening of Ravens training camp was a welcome escape from baseball oblivion.
The midseason deadline for making trades without waivers is looming and everyone wants to know the same thing. Will the Orioles be buyers or sellers as they look ahead to the final months of this season and the tremendous uncertainty that lies just over the horizon? Maybe it won't be that simple. Maybe the Orioles will have to be both to strike some kind of practical balance between the present and future.
Manny Machado is the sixth-youngest Oriole to reach the milestone in a season, joining such franchise standouts as Ripken, Eddie Murray, Boog Powell and rookies of the year Curt Blefary and Ron Hansen.
There were no grumblings about the Orioles¿ lack of success with runners in scoring position Sunday afternoon. Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer made that talk nearly obsolete by throwing an absolute gem in the Orioles¿ 3-2 loss before an announced sellout crowd of 46,247 at Camden Yards.
Reliever Chaz Roe has been a success story with the Orioles this season after a decade-long journey that included an amphetamines suspension and multiple organizations before Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette gave him his latest opportunity.
It was nearly eight years ago to the day when Andy MacPhail stood behind a podium and outlined his immediate plans to fix a once-proud baseball organization that was in a 10-year tailspin. This past week, MacPhail, sounding every bit as assured, vowed to do those same three things as he accepted another significant challenge: resurrecting the Philadelphia Phillies, an organization in steep decline.
Faced with a glut of outfielders that forced them to carry more outfielders than relievers for nearly a week, the Orioles on Wednesday designated outfielder Delmon Young for assignment to make room for reliever Tyler Wilson.
Dez Wells and Pat Connaughton ended their senior years in college on about the same level in the eyes of many NBA scouts. Both were considered good all-around players and the emotional leaders of their respective teams, touted more for intangibles than the skills that easily translated to the pro game. As a result, the two shooting guards were also considered marginal NBA draft picks.
On Tuesday, Eduardo Rodriguez will be making his third major league start for the division-rival Boston Red Sox -- against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Rodriguez, who was hesitantly dealt to Boston for left-handed reliever Andrew Miller at last year's trade deadline, has been marvelous in his brief time with the Red Sox, allowing just one run in 14 2/3 innings over two starts, yielding just five hits while striking out 14 and walking four.
Left-hander Brian Matusz's suspension appeal was heard Wednesday morning in a conference room at Minute Maid Park. During the one-hour hearing, Matusz appealed the eight-game ban handed down from Major League Baseball for allegedly having a "foreign substance" on his right forearm in the 12th inning of the Orioles' May 23 contest against the Miami Marlins.
In a surprise move, the Orioles have parted ways with veteran outfielder Alejandro De Aza, designating him for assignment Wednesday in order to make roster space for infielder Ryan Flaherty, who was activated of the 15-day disabled list.
You remember the Blue Jays. They're the team that tried to steal Dan Duquette out of the Orioles front office over the winter, but didn't want to pony up enough of their young talent to pry him out of his long-term contract.
The Orioles set their Opening Day roster Sunday, with a couple mild surprises. Catcher Steve Clevenger beat out Ryan Lavarnway for the backup catcher job and right-handers Ryan Webb and Rule 5 pick Jason Garcia are among 14 pitchers that made the 25-man roster.
Orioles fans didn't necessarily enjoy the offseason as they watched key players depart in free agency and learned of health setbacks for some of the stars who remained. Yet they've developed a deep faith in the players and decision-makers who brought winning baseball back to Baltimore.
It was fair of Dan Duquette to assume that the Orioles could replace Nelson Cruz's major-league-leading home run total and Nick Markakis's offensive production if all else went well. It just wasn't fair to assume that all else would go well.