Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles' Are Playing For Their Future

BALTIMORE - JULY 30:  The fans join in the celebration as Felix Pie #18 and Adam Jones #10 of the Baltimore Orioles are welcomed back to the dugout by Luke Scott #30 after they scored along with Nick Markakis on an Aubrey Huff three-run double in the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals during MLB action at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 30, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Dan VillantiContributor IAugust 19, 2009

The 2009 Baltimore Orioles are fading and fading fast. After yet another loss on Tuesday night, the O's are now 4-13 in August.

Even worse, the Orioles have only won back-to-back games one time since the All-Star break. However, even after being 23 games under .500, the O's still have something to play for.

The future of the Orioles organization is the talk around Oriole Park at Camden Yards. With the current roster filled with young talent, the last month and a half could provide the backbone for success in the near future. 

With a few trades during the season, the Orioles are hoping that they filled some holes that will be favorable in the the future. The O's did not want to trade veterans away just to do so; instead they felt they were in position that if teams wanted one of their top players, then it would cost them good prospects.

Baltimore's front office proved if a deal came their way that could provide future benefits, the O's were ready to make the move.

After losing out on Cliff Lee, the Dodgers needed to pull a move off and successful did so trading with the Orioles for George Sherrill. The O's received high regarded prospect Joshua Bell, along with pitching prospect Steve Johnson.

After Aubrey Huff passed through waivers, the Orioles traded Huff to the Detroit Tigers for Brett Jacobson, a 22-year old right handed flamethrower with closer experience. The trade of Aubrey Huff may have provided more future benefits than first sought.

Huff had $8 million left on his contract going into the 2009 season and the trade provided the Orioles some salary relief, which helped them sign second round pick Mychal Givens. Givens may not ever hit the majors, but without the Huff trade, he probably would have never had the chance as an Oriole. 

Secondly, the Orioles can now promote first basemen Brandon Snyder when they feel he is ready to play. Without Huff blocking Snyder's playing time, the Orioles can see exactly what the 23-year old can do before going into the off-season and 2010 season.

With the trades of Sherrill and Huff, the Orioles were able to solidify third base for the future, as well as another bullpen arm, and maybe even the shortstop position.

Now that the positions are set for the future, the team needs one more piece to complete to puzzle.

The Orioles, filled with youth, need to learn how to win. This needs to start now. The O's aren't going to finish this season with a winning record, they won't finish this season close to a .500 record.  Yet, playing .500 ball the rest of the way could do wonders for team in the future.

In 2007, when August 25th came around, the Tampa Bay Rays had a record of 45-75. Currently, the Orioles have a record of 48-71, similar to the Rays record of '07. The Rays then went onto play .500 baseball at 21-21 going into the off-season on a high note and excited about the future of the ball club.

The 2008 season was one to remember for the Rays organization as they turned their miscues from the prior ten years into an champions of the American League.

The Orioles need to play the rest of this season as a showcase of what the future will bring. The current roster will not be changed drastically since several summer call-ups have brought the future to the present. 

If the Orioles want to change their losing ways and turn the club around, they can't wait until 2010 or 2011 and think it will come. They need to use the rest of the season to learn how to win.

If winning were easy, everyone would be doing it. It won't be easy for the Orioles, but it will be much easier in the next couple of seasons when they have been there before.

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