KEY ADDITIONS: Jose Iglesias, Dilson Herrera, Kohl Stewart, Taylor Davis
KEY SUBTRACTIONS: Dylan Bundy, Jonathan Villar
Once again, I have put the “key” lists at the top of this preview because... well, when Taylor Davis is a “key addition,” you know the team is in trouble. And that’s not a swipe at Davis, but a recognition that he’s at best a backup catcher and the Orioles are still likely years away from anything resembling a contending team.
Davis is likely in Baltimore because former Cubs coach Brandon Hyde is Orioles manager and Hyde knows Davis well. Former Cubs reliever Rob Zastryzny is also in O’s camp this spring.
Funny thing, too, they made the postseason three times between 2012 and 2016, but have systematically dismantled any resemblance to a major-league team since then. They lost 108 games in 2019 and that was a seven-game improvement over the previous year.
I mean, I looked at their depth chart and seriously, I do not recognize more than a couple names. Trey Mancini is a pretty good baseball player. He hit .291/.364/.535 with 35 home runs in 2019. Amazingly, he was not Baltimore’s required All-Star — pitcher John Means was. Means is also pretty good. He posted a 3.60 ERA and 1.135 WHIP, good for 4.5 bWAR in 2019. There were 37 (!) pitchers who appeared in at least one game for Baltimore in 2019 (plus two position players who pitched). Of them, Means and three others had more than 1.0 bWAR. Two of those three (Andrew Cashner and Dylan Bundy) are gone. It’s gonna be another looooooong year at Camden Yards. The O’s could probably have Cashner back if they wanted him, as he’s still a free agent.
The O’s do have one of baseball’s top prospects in catcher Adley Rutschman, last year’s No. 1 overall pick. He’s still a year or two away from the majors, though, and he can’t do it all himself.
Oh, yes. Chris Davis is still here. He hit .179/.276/.326 in 2019. That was actually an improvement over his 2018 season. He is signed through 2022 at $23 million per season. Yikes.
The Cubs will face the Orioles in a two-game set in Baltimore April 14-15, and in another two-game set at Wrigley Field June 2-3. Seriously, the Cubs ought to win all four of those games.