Tuesday, April 2, 2024

What Happens Now That the O's Can Spend


Here is how you can properly delineate the beginning of the David Rubenstein era of Orioles baseball. Corbin Burnes started the first game of the year, and he was phenomenal, going 6 innings with 11 strikeouts and allowing only one hit, a home run to the greatest hitter of the modern generation. Normally, an Orioles fan would see a performance like this and go 'this is lovely but there's no way he'll be here after the end of the year'. Now, they can sit back and go 'Rubenstein, if he is as mad as we think he is, will likely offer him a lot of money and get him to stay in town'. 

I think back to how many great years could have been solved with Rubenstein money. Manny Machado in 2017. Nelson Cruz in 2014. Andrew Miller in 2014. Hell, Erik Bedard in 2007. If there was a guy with enough money to spend on the team rather than using the conservative approach for decades, the team would look completely different and not have to suck every 10 years. But now David Rubenstein is in control, wants to make the team great now, and wants to invest all this money in keeping these great players around. If he is smart, he will combine the approaches of two big spenders: the Braves in keeping their best players alive til the end of the decade, and the Mets, in outbidding even the sharpest of GMs to bring amazing players into town. I think Rubenstein wants to chase Steve Cohen, and maybe do a better version of what he's been doing in New York.

The only thing is, where does Rubenstein start? Does he do what Milwaukee did and lock up Holliday before he even plays an MLB game? Does he go for Rutschman or Mullins? Does he lock up Burnes? It's a matter of who he thinks the key to the franchise going forward is. I personally think it's Rutschman, or even Gunnar Henderson, but Burnes could be the ace for a while. And then it's a game of putting your money everywhere and not letting one of the resources [young starting pitching, speed, the bullpen] run out.

The O's so far have been excellent, and it hasn't just been games against the Angels to showcase how good they are. Last night they needed a Jordan Westburg walk-off to save them [from Craig Kimbrel's save-blowing], as the Royals actually went toe-to-toe with them all night. Yet these guys are still coming out on top, and it's solely because they're just outmatching everybody. Ryan Mountcastle and Anthony Santander can just out power-hit anybody, Yennier Cano and Keegan Akin can just not give up runs, and now the under the radar guys like Westburg and Dean Kremer can be the hero. 

What I worry about is some of the small stuff. A lot of Royals stole bases yesterday. A lot of infielders made errors. And Kremer gave up home runs to the two guys on that lineup you do not wanna get cocky around. But all the big pieces are giving this team everything you want, and Burnes is already looking like he's gonna have a big year.

I would love the Orioles to get something done this year. It feels like it's about time that something good happened to this team. 

Coming Tomorrow: One of two current Atlanta starters that came up in Oakland. The one that's healthy right now.

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