Welcome to part three in my random thoughts on Manny Machado's trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In part one I looked back on Machado's legacy for the Orioles and in part two I examined the trade itself. Now here's part three, where I look at what the trade means going forward for the Baltimore Orioles and their fans.
Having new prospects is exciting
Before it got rain delayed, I was planning to attend the Baysox game on Saturday, which would have been the first Baysox game I attended in probably four or five years. It's not exactly complicated to figure out why: I wanted to see the new prospects acquired in the trade for Machado.
The feeling of getting new prospects in a trade is a pretty fun and optimistic feeling and something Orioles fans haven't experienced since the famous Erik Bedard trade. Right now, Yusniel Diaz is going to be the perfect replacement when Adam Jones leaves and Dean Kremer can be the No. 1 starter for our next playoff team sometime in the future.
As I said in the part two of these articles, we really will have no idea how good any of these prospects will be until all of them either make the big leagues or fail to do so, but until then it's fun to pay particularly close attention to Baysox games knowing that the possible the core of our next playoff team is playing there right now.
More prospects should also be on the way
Based on this tweet from Jon Heyman and plenty of other reporting, the Orioles are definitely shopping around Zach Britton and I would hope they're willing to throw in Mychal Givens and Brad Brach to sweeten the pot and get a better return.
There's absolutely no point in holding onto relievers if you're going into rebuilding mode and like Heyman's tweet says, Britton is the best reliever who's still on the market.
Trading Britton, Brach and Givens either individually or all together as a package is going to further improve the farm system and give the fanbase more new young players to get excited over.
There's going to be opportunities for people to show how useful they can be for the future
It would appear that Renato Nunez is going to be the Orioles' starting third baseman, with Tim Beckham moving back to shortstop to start the post-Machado era for this team.
Nunez had appeared in a whopping 30 MLB games before the Orioles gave him the chance to attempt to replace Machado, so this will most likely be his best opportunity to prove he can be a reliable player in the big leagues.
There's an awfully good chance it turns out he has no business being on an MLB team, but there is still a chance that if he gets given consistent playing time the rest of this season he can show something promising going forward. There's not exactly going to be a ton of pressure on him to perform the rest of the season, either, so he should hopefully get a real good chance to show any worth he may have.
The same is also true for however many openings are going to be created in the bullpen after they trade at least Britton if not Brach and Givens as well. Lots of players are going to get chances to face big league opposition and prove rather or not they deserve a place on the roster going forward in games that are basically meaningless.
Time to get that the No. 1 pick
In that infamous run of losing seasons from 1998 to 2011, the Orioles never once got the No. 1 pick.
They had plenty of picks in the top ten but they never once had a season so awful that they had a chance at the coveted No. 1 overall pick. A truly awful season during that losing streak could have netted them Adrian Gonzalez, Joe Mauer, Justin Upton, David Price or Stephen Strasburg, depending on the year.
I should also note if the Orioles landed any of those picks it's entirely possible they wouldn't have been bad enough to land Machado at No. 3 in 2010 and the entire timeline of the franchise would be vastly different. This is especially true for Price and Strasburg as there's really no guarantee their careers would have been as successful as they were if they were developed in the Orioles' minor league system.
Regardless, the Orioles never had a chance to take someone who was regarded as the absolute best player in the draft during their run of failure. They had to endure the failures of Chris Smith when a worse season could've landed them Joe Mauer. As the Rays basked in the glory of David Price, the O's got Matt Wieters, who never lived up to his hype as "Mauer with power."
The Orioles of course managed to make the playoffs three times in five years without ever being able to earn the No. 1 pick, but it feels fair to say their run of losing seasons might have ended a little bit sooner if Nick Markakis wasn't their only successful draft pick before Machado.
Any prospects acquired from the Machado trade and upcoming trade for Britton will be dwarfed in importance by the No. 1 pick, if the Orioles can land it. I am not even going to pretend to follow high school and college baseball, but it seems like there's a pretty clear consensus that it'll be Bobby Witt Jr., a high school shortstop.
The disaster of this season where multiple fan favorites will say goodbye to the Orioles can all be worth it if Witt Jr. lives up to the hype of a No. 1 pick.