BALTIMORE – The Baltimore Orioles got tired of their own troubles this year without getting too caught up in what the teams around them were doing.
Still, a look at the rest of the AL East reveals the daunting road ahead.
Four teams in the division won at least 91 games this year, and then the Orioles were in the basement with a 52-110 record. Baltimore had separate losing streaks of 14 and 19 games and finished 39 games out of fourth place. Only one other team in baseball finished this far behind first.
General manager Mike Elias hopes the Orioles will be able to compete in this division again in no time. Baltimore won the AL East in 2014, and Tampa Bay’s 100-win season this year makes the Rays a franchise the Orioles can try to emulate.
“I think, within our own division, it wasn’t easy for Tampa, or it wasn’t quick for Tampa to get into that place,” Elias said recently. “But they showed that it is possible and they continue to sustain it despite the challenges their market presents.”
For now, the Orioles can hope the worst is over. The team has two of the game’s best prospects in wide receiver Adley Rutschman and right-hander Grayson Rodriguez.
“We have a lot of work to do in many areas,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “I’m excited about some of our young guys, I think they could be centerpieces in the future of a good team, and we will have players debuting next year as well, we will have some exciting players. We will be young, but I think we are starting to have more. talent “.
Don Long will not return as the team’s hitting coach next season, according to a person with knowledge of the move, who spoke on condition of anonymity because it had not been announced.
BURIED IN THE BASEMENT
The Orioles’ biggest problems were on the pitching side, where they finished with a 5.84 ERA, the worst in the majors. The difference between Baltimore and Arizona at 29th place in that statistic was roughly the same as the difference between the Diamondbacks and Philadelphia at 19th place.
The Orioles had some great moments and impressive performances. Outfielder Cedric Mullins hit .291 with 30 homers and 30 steals, and finished eighth in the American League in OPS. John Means pitched a no-hitter and had a 3.62 ERA in 26 starts.
Trey Mancini made an inspiring comeback after missing the 2020 season while undergoing colon cancer treatment.
Rutschman is the number one prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline. He had a .895 OPS in 43 games at Triple-A Norfolk this year.
Rodriguez is the No. 8 prospect and the top-ranked pitcher. He was 6-1 with a 2.60 ERA in 18 starts for Double-A Bowie.
Elías was asked about Mancini, Means and outfielder Anthony Santander, who made contributions but are at least 26 years old, meaning the team could be better off if they are traded rather than paid more.
“We like all those players. They are talented guys. A lot of them have a lot of control left,” Elias said. “That would make us more likely to put them off limits, but I’ve said it several times, we’re not doing our job as baseball headquarters if we’re not entertaining conversations about our guys in general.”
The Orioles are in line to pick No. 1 in the draft for the second time in three years. Rutschman was the first pick in 2019.