2021 Baltimore Orioles Depth Chart
The Baltimore Orioles have now officially lost 100 games. Division rival Tampa Bay Rays handed Baltimore their hundredth loss of the season in a 14-2 blow out. The loss included 15 strikeouts by Orioles batters and four homers against, including a grand slam. Not to worry Orioles fans, the team has been here before. The franchise hit 100 losses in 1954 and again in 1988. This Orioles team is poised to be one of the worst in history, eyeing the team record of 107 losses. Chances of salvaging the remainder of the season seem slim and any small run of success seems unlikely.
|Catcher||Pedro Severino||Chance Sisco|
|1st Base||Ryan Mountcastle||Chris Davis|
|2nd Base||Rio Ruiz||Ramon Urias|
|Shortstop||Freddy Galvis||Richie Martin|
|3rd Base||Maikel Franco|
|Left Field||Austin Hays|
|Center Field||Cedric Mullins||Ryan McKenna|
|Right Field||Anthony Santander||DJ Stewart|
|Designated Hitter||Trey Mancini|
The demise of the season exacerbates the potential departure of manager Buck Showalter. If his contract is not renewed at the end of the season, this disappointing year is not much of a farewell.
If Showalter does leave, he leaves behind a legacy that includes turning around a struggling team in 2010. He got the Orioles back to the postseason by 2012 and ended a streak of 14 straight losing seasons. Buck Showalter went on to lead the Orioles to a winning record, thanks in part to his hard work and feel for the game. The Orioles have made three playoff appearances in the Buck Showalter era but there is a very real chance fans have seen the last Showalter-led playoff Orioles team.
In July, Baltimore made the decision to trade away All-Star infielder Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for five prospects. Machado’s contract was set to expire at the end of the season and the Orioles decided against negotiating an extension.
As far as lineups go, the Orioles have been making some questionable decisions recently. Sitting a healthy Adam Jones, for instance. The undisputed leader of the team exercised his 10-and-5 rights to block a potential trade to the Phillies in July. Jones will be a free agent at the end of the season and he has made it clear he wants to finish out his contract with the Orioles. The veteran recently moved from center field to right field for Cedric Mullins. Jones is batting .285 with 14 homers and 55 RBIs in 128 games. It’s unclear if the rumored rebuild includes keeping the 33-year-old past this season.
A successful rebuilding hinges on the O’s ability to make fruitful trades. The Orioles will have to take on the tough task of accurately evaluating, teaching, and developing young players at the Major League level. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has referenced a three-year plan several times. However, Duquette’s contract is set to expire and there is no guarantee he will oversee the rebuild.
While a season as disappointing as this one can hurt a rookie’s confidence, the Orioles are hopeful some of the young faces on the current roster will contribute to the turnaround. All hope is not lost; the Orioles have several promising prospects. Outfielder Cedric Mullins is already making a name for himself. The switch hitter could become a cornerstone of the club going forward. There are whispers of Cody Carroll as a potential future closer while catcher Austin Wynns and infielder Steve Wilkerson could provide bench depth. Former first round pick DJ Stewart may have regressed this season, but he will likely get the opportunity to prove himself again next season. The outfielder has drawn both praise and concerns and the upcoming season could be pivotal for the 24-year-old.
The Orioles need to invest in areas they have previously been neglecting, namely analytics, technology, and scouting. Baltimore needs to start thinking outside of the box, because the box they are currently in is not working.
A lock-down bullpen was a major contributor to the success of the most recently competitive Orioles team. The O’s have a few young pitchers who could spice things up. Yefry Ramirez, Jimmy Yacabonis, and David Hess are all guys to keep an eye on. Hess recently entertained fans by catching a football with his face before a game. The pitcher emerged unscathed, but spent the first few innings of the game in the dugout wearing an LSU football helmet. Pitcher Branden Kline is also looking to re-establish himself with strong full season. No matter how this team finishes, the next successful Orioles team will look quite different from O’s teams of past and present.