The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
What are the Orioles waiting on?

The Baltimore Orioles weren’t expected to have the kind year they had in 2023. Their team rebuilding process since 2018 didn’t have them contending for a playoff berth until 2024. But their young core of players they had developed through their farm system surprised the baseball world, as they turned in a 101-win season and captured the AL East Division title.

The Orioles were swept by the Texas Rangers in the ALDS, perhaps because their youth caught up with them. It could be argued the Orioles are only a few players away from being a serious pennant contender for the next several years. While they were losing all those games between 2018 and 2021, they accumulated a lot of top talent in the minors through the draft process. So why aren’t they active in the trade market to acquire the missing pieces, by giving up some of their excess higher prospects?

The Orioles are largely in need of pitching depth, including several who can eat a lot of innings.

Kyle Gibson was the only true veteran pitcher (11 years in the majors) among the starters, but he turned in a team-worst 87 ERA+. In only his second major-league season, Kyle Bradish rose to the top of the rotation and was their best starter. 23-year-old rookie Grayson Rodriguez has the potential to be a top-flight pitcher, but he’s still trying to climb the big-league learning curve. Dean Kremer and Tyler Wells rounded out the rotation, but neither was particularly threatening to opposing offenses.

Bradish, Kremer, and Rodriguez were overmatched by the Rangers in the ALDS, as they collectively lasted only 6.6 innings in their starts. Their youth didn’t play well.

In the bullpen, closer Felix Bautista was one of the league’s best, turning in a 1.48 ERA with 33 saves. Yennier Cano led the team in relief appearances (72), and he was effective as a one-two punch with Bautista. Cano posted a 2.11 ERA. But like the starting rotation, the bullpen could use more depth to be a pennant contender.

Now is the time for the Orioles to move on beefing up their pitching. And they have the means to do it through trades.

Shortstop Gunnar Henderson was the AL Rookie of the Year. He is a franchise shortstop according to Baseball America. He wouldn’t be put up as trade bait, but other top infield prospects who saw part-time duty with the Orioles could be. They include Jordan Westburg, Terrin Vavra, and Joey Ortiz. Furthermore, in the minors, they have additional Triple-A infield prospects Coby Mayo, Caydn Grenier, and Cesar Prieto.

In the outfield, the Orioles system features prospects Colton Cowser, Heston Kjerstad, and Kyle Stowers, all of whom got a taste of big league action last year.

But the best of all the Orioles’ minor leaguers is the 2023 Minor League Player of the Year, shortstop Jackson Holliday. With the way Holliday progressed through all four levels of the minors in 2023, he’s probably not more than year away from being ready to compete in the majors.


With all the prospects the Orioles have, they won’t have a roster spot for many of them when they become big league ready on a full-time basis. They may not command the same interest and value as they have now, if the Orioles wait to trade them in a year or two.

Coming into the Hot Stove season, Dylan Cease (White Sox), Blake Snell (Padres), Lucas Giolito (Indians), Jordan Montgomery (Rangers), Jesus Luzardo (Marlins), Chris Sale (Red Sox) and Marcus Stroman (Cubs) were among those starting pitchers reported to be available on the trading block by their respective teams. These are the types of pitchers the O’s need to pursue. Sale, Stroman and Giolito have already been scooped up by the Braves, Yankees and Red Sox, respectively. If the Orioles don’t act quickly, the rest will have new homes elsewhere, too.

Perhaps one of the things that has been holding the Orioles back on making a deal is that they will have to shell out some serious long-term money for salaries of these type of players. The Orioles haven’t been considered a big spender on player payroll, but they have to realize in order to get a Blake Snell or Dylan Cease they’re going to have to open their pocketbook wider.

The time is now to do that, not a couple of years from now. Orioles fans got really pumped about their surprising team last season. The Orioles should give them something more to cheer about in 2024.

Add a Comment

(Enter the numbers shown in the above image)