Year in Review: The 2017 Baltimore Orioles

Sports and Bets — October 2, 2017 at 4:08 pm by

Well, that didn’t end the way we wanted to, did it?  The Baltimore Orioles 2017 was full of ups and downs, highs and lows, but unfortunately it ended with a whimper.  The Orioles lost 19 of their last 23 games to finish the 2017 campaign 75-87 and in last place of the American League East, one game behind the Blue Jays.  It’s only the second time since 2012 the Orioles have not finished .500 or better and leaves this team with a lot of questions heading into the off season.

Let’s start this off with some positive vibes.  One major positive from the 2017 season was Trey Mancini.  I know I have mentioned this in previous pieces, but it STILL boggles the mind that Mancini almost didn’t make the opening day roster.  In Mancini’s first full season with the Orioles he hit .293 with 24 home runs and 78 RBI.  Mancini also showed his versatility as a fielder, playing left field, right field and first base.  You wonder if the Orioles had more confidence in Mancini if Trumbo would have been brought back.  Another huge bright spot was Johnny Baseball (better known as Jonathan Schoop) becoming a star.  Schoop posted career highs in batting average (.293), home runs (32) & RBI (105).  Schoop was named the Most Valuable Oriole by local media, and you really can’t argue that.  Schoop also made his first ever All Star Game appearance being the Orioles only representative.  Manny Machado had his typical season, 33 home runs and 95 RBI, thanks to a late season tear.  However, Machado did post his lowest batting average at .259.  The Orioles were once again one of the best power hitting teams in all of baseball.  The O’s hit 232 home runs, good for fifth in Major League Baseball.  This was the seventh straight season that the O’s have finished in the top 5 in home runs.

Now for the bad and where to begin.  The biggest issue for the Orioles all season long was the pitching.  Starting pitching, relief pitching, didn’t matter it wasn’t a good season for Orioles arms.  The Orioles finished the season with a team ERA of 4.97, which was 27 out of 30 teams.  Dylan Bundy had some impressive outings in his first full year as starter winning 13 games.  Mychal Givens put together a solid 2.75 ERA in 69 appearances, more than any other pitcher.  Chris Tillman was nothing like the guy we are used to seeing, Ubaldo was well Ubaldo, Wade Miley was bad and Kevin Gausman was wildly inconsistent all season.  The trade for Jeremy Hellickson didn’t really work out as he posted a 6.97 ERA in just 10 games.  Our best pitcher Zach Britton only appeared in just 38 games due to multiple stints on the DL.  On the offensive side the Orioles had some struggles as well.  Chris Davis posted a .215 average with only 26 home runs and a staggering 195 strikeouts.  Mark Trumbo’s production also took a hit from his record season in 2016.  In fact only one Oriole batted over .300 and that was Tim Beckham who only played in 50 games for the birds.

Now the question arises what to do with the free agents.  I’m not a GM but I’m about to play one for Charm City Wire.

Wellington Castillo – Pick up the $7 million option or re structure a 1 year deal, make Cisco your backup, and see if you can trade Joseph for mid-level prospects

Ryan Flaherty – Goodbye

J.J. Hardy – His time with the club is done after the trade for Beckham

Pedro Alvarez – Goodbye

Jeremy Hellickson – Goodbye

Ubaldo Jimenez – Definitely goodbye

Wade Miley – Goodbye

Chris Tillman – Sign a 1 or 2 year deal, heavy with incentives

Ok so that handles your own guys, now what do you add.  Well if you look at the Free Agent list (https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2016/08/2017-18-mlb-free-agent-list.html), not many names stick out, and the few that do most likely will receive their club options.  So here’s a couple guys I like.  The first name that peaks my interest is J.D. Martinez.  Martinez is coming off a monster year with 45 HR & 104 RBI, so probably out or the O’s price range, still a name that can add depth and power to an already powerful lineup.  The biggest pitching name without a club option is Yu Darvish.  Darvish only won 10 games in 2017 but still posted a very respectable 3.86 ERA which would have by far been the best on the Orioles.  A reuniting with Jake Arrietta might be something to look at as well, Arrietta wasn’t as dominate as he was in 2015 & 2016, but he still won 14 games and posted a 3.53 ERA.  Lance Lynn of the Cardinals is another guys the O’s should take a long look at.  After missing all of 2016 with Tommy John surgery, Lynn came back in 2017 with 11 wins and an ERA of 3.43.  Trading is always an option as well, but the Orioles farm system is thin so you can’t expect much of a return.  Also the O’s don’t seem interested in trading guys like Britton or Machado.  Now there are much bigger names on the list but a lot of those names hinge on if the team picks up their option and if the Orioles could sign them.  Obviously Madison Bumgarner or Chris Sale would be your top choices but I doubt the O’s would ever be in the running if they did become free agents.

So there it is, 2017 was a disappointing season for the Orioles but with the right moves the Orioles can very easily find themselves back in the AL East title race in 2018.

Follow me on Twitter @AndySnaks

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