The upstart Baltimore Orioles are having their best PR month in the 21st century in July. Now that Chris Tillman is replacing Justin Verlander on the AL All-Star roster, the Orioles have five All-Stars. That's the most players that the Orioles have sent since 1997.
It's an exciting year to be a fan. However, let's not forget one thing: Of the five All-Stars, only Manny Machado was drafted by the Orioles. That takes nothing away from the Orioles' ability to develop these guys into stars, but there are three GMs out there kicking themselves for giving the Orioles four of their five All-Stars.
As a courtesy to Dan Duquette, I'd like to recognize and thank Andy MacPhail for drafting Manny Machado and acquiring the other four Oriole All-Stars. Here are the GMs that gave up too soon and let the Orioles reap the benefits.
Chris Davis is to the Texas Rangers as Jake Arrieta is to the Orioles. Both players showed flashes of immense talent, but then had stretches of seeming completely lost in the majors. The Orioles finally got wise and moved Arrieta to the Cubs, where he'll have the same chance to reinvent himself that Davis got with the Orioles.
Davis was originally going to be your fantasy superstar at first for Texas. He hit 21 home runs in 2009 and seemed poised to build on that in full seasons in the hitter-friendly Arlington Park. That dream stalled and Mitch Moreland took the job away. Davis was on the outs, and the Orioles just happened to be the team that took on the project.
The Orioles sent relief stud Koji Uehara to Texas for (current Orioles relief stud) Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis to fill the recently vacated first base job (bye bye, Derrek Lee). Davis got his first full season in the majors in his first full year in Baltimore, and the frightening potential evidenced by his minor league numbers finally translated to the majors.
With 33 home runs in 2012 and already 37 home runs in 2013, Davis is on pace for history. Meanwhile in Texas, Moreland has been serviceable but has yet to hit 20 home runs in a single season. Also, Davis has 93 RBI just this season, quickly approaching Moreland's 163 career RBI. Davis already has more RBI in Baltimore than Moreland does in his career.
I guess I could technically count this embarrassment both on Smith of the Twins and Doug Melvin of the Brewers. First, Melvin saw J.J. Hardy, his unusually powerful shortstop, get injured too much and decided to give him a change of scenery to Minnesota. Then, Hardy still struggled to stay healthy, so the Twins signed Tsuyoshi Nishioka and dealt Hardy to Baltimore for Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson.
Hardy was supposed to be a stopgap until Manny Machado was ready at short. Now, he's holding his throne until he's ready to give it up (not that Manny should ever want to leave third). Nishioka was so bad, he was released and offered back some of his salary due to embarrassment.
Hardy blossomed for the Orioles into one of the game's premier defenders. He doesn't make high-risk plays because he's technically sound. It looks very simple, but Hardy takes simple and out over fancy and safe.
The big ticket with Hardy is the home runs. He hit 30 for a career high in his first season in Baltimore and followed with 22 in 2013 and 16 more so far this year. Sorry, Mr. Smith. You're missing out.
It's almost not fair to make fun of this trade anymore, but Chris Tillman's late call to the All-Star game adds yet another dagger into the career of Bill Bavasi.
Let me paint the picture. Andy MacPhail gets hired to take over the Orioles and decides it's time to rebuild. He deals the highest-paid, highest-value position player, Miguel Tejada, to the Houston Astros. Then he executes the deal that destroys Bill Bavasi's career as a GM.
MacPhail got not one, not two, but three All-Stars in this deal with the Seattle Mariners that got rid of the forthcoming seasons of injury-riddled Erik Bedard. The first was George Sherrill, whose perfectly flat-brimmed cap and stellar closing skills made him a fan favorite. The second was, and still is, the key piece of this deal—Adam Jones.
In addition to becoming the face and leader of the franchise, as well as a two-time Gold Glove winner, Jones is now a three-time All-Star. Putting the crown on this deal is Chris Tillman. Tillman has anchored the 2013 rotation and shown just how bad one trade can be.