Results tagged ‘ Manny Machado ’
Because of injuries, extra-inning games, and roster rules, the Baltimore Orioles left the Tides shorthanded as the Tides moved on from Louisville to Indianapolis. So, the Tides had three new players in their lineup in Sunday’s game. Those three players — infielders Bobby Stevens and Ty Kelly, and pitcher Rick Zagone — were promoted not from AA Bowie, but from High-Class-A Frederick. Why would the Orioles promote players from High-A to AAA, instead of from AA?
There are several possible reasons. A couple of those reasons relate to the Bowie team itself. Three of the Orioles’ top prospects — Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, and L.J. Hoes — are playing in Bowie. Those three players aren’t ready for AAA, and the Orioles probably didn’t want to strip Bowie of the rest of their players. Second, Bowie itself was hit by the roster rules. The Orioles designated Bowie infielder Zelous Wheeler for assignment, removing him from the 40-man roster but making him ineligible to play for Bowie. Since they were already short of infielders, it would be pointless to strip Bowie of infielders and have them be shorthanded.
Some of the reasons may be geographic. Frederick was at home, while Bowie was on the road at Richmond. It’s easier to get from Frederick to Indianapolis than Richmond. It’s about an hour’s drive from Frederick to Dulles airport, from which there is probably a direct flight to Indianapolis. There are fewer, if any, direct flights from Richmond to Indianapolis; the nearest hub to Indianapolis is Cincinnati, a 90-minute drive; if there are no flights from Richmond to Cincinnati then they’d have to fly to Chicago, a 3-hour drive. If you need to get players to Indianapolis in a hurry, it’s easier to do so from Frederick (Washington, DC) than Richmond.
Finally, the different league structures and competitiveness concerns may have influence their decision. The Carolina League in which Frederick plays uses a split-season format in which first-half and second-half champions qualify for the playoffs. Frederick is in last place in its division with virtually no chance of winning the first half; taking players from them doesn’t affect their post-season chances. Bowie’s Eastern League doesn’t use a split-season format; the top two teams in each division qualify for the playoffs. So, Bowie has to be competitive all season to make the playoffs. Playing short-handed for even a short period of time may eliminate Bowie from contention — and with Machado, Schoop, and Hoes at Bowie, it’s important to have Bowie play as many meaningful games as possible.
As it happened, the new guys from Frederick – especially Rick Zagone — did well enough to give the Tides a 2-0 win on Saturday.
Was the trade worth it?
J.J. Hardy is not the typical Tides player. He played three games in Norfolk on a rehabilitation assignment, and even recovering from injury he demonstrated that he is clearly a major-league caliber player.
The Orioles acquired him from the Twins in the 2010-2011 offseason because the Twins were trying to dump salary. The cost was pretty cheap — Hardy and Brendan Harris for Jim Hoey, a hard-throwing but unpolished relief pitcher, and another second-tier pitching prospect. On the first level, the trade was obviously a good one; Hardy just last year probably provided the Orioles with more wins than the pitchers they gave up will provide for the Twins. Hardy is a fairly good defensive shortstop with an effective power bat — even though he doesn’t walk much or get on base, he has enough power to be useful if he can hit .270, and he usually hits .270. He was a definite upgrade over Cesar Izturis.
But on the next level – will he help the Orioles contend — I’m not sure he does. The Orioles are a bad baseball team, probably two or three years away from being ready to contend. Hardy probably won’t be able to contribute at that time, he’ll be 31, starting his period of probable decline. The Hardy trade is very similar to what Andy MacPhail, then the Orioles GM, did when he ran the Cubs — take advantage of bargains even if the bargain doesn’t fit into the long-term plan.
But, in context, unlike some of the other similar moves, the Hardy acquisition is, on the whole, beneficial. The Orioles had no young shortstop worth looking at; their in my opinion top prospect is a young shortstop, Manny Machado, who is two or three years away. He’ll be ready to step in just when Hardy is starting to decline. So there’s no real downside to using Hardy; he’s not interfering with the long-term plan and helping you win in the short term.