Yusniel Diaz’s departure exhibits why Orioles must be comfy buying and selling from prospect stockpile | ANALYSIS


Not each prime prospect is an Adley Rutschman or Gunnar Henderson, skyrocketing to the majors and shortly boosting his group’s playoff hopes upon arriving there.

Some are like Yusniel Diaz, who was outrighted off the Orioles’ 40-man roster earlier than electing free company Thursday after every of the opposite 29 organizations handed when he was made out there to them on waivers. Four years in the past, the 26-year-old outfielder was the Orioles’ No. 1 prospect after becoming a member of Baltimore because the centerpiece of the commerce that despatched celebrity infielder Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers. His lone main league plate look thus far resulted in a strikeout.

The Machado commerce and the offers following it in the summertime of 2018 have borne little fruit for the Orioles. With Diaz turning into a free agent, right-handed starter Dean Kremer is the one of the 5 gamers acquired from the Dodgers nonetheless with the group. Like Kremer, right-handed reliever Dillon Tate additional established himself as a significant league piece in 2022, however they’re the one merchandise of the offers that despatched Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Zack Britton, Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day elsewhere for whom that’s the case in Baltimore.

The circumstances present why the Orioles shouldn’t hesitate to half with prospects this winter ought to they’ve the chance so as to add established main leaguers who increase their playoff hopes for 2023 and past. Executive vp and basic supervisor Mike Elias, who changed Dan Duquette months after that 2018 sell-off, has but to accumulate a tenured main league participant by a commerce, together with his offers principally sending them away from Baltimore to usher in younger expertise. The consequence, paired with the group’s drafting efforts throughout his time main the entrance workplace, is without doubt one of the deepest farm techniques within the sport.

At the tip of the common season, Elias acknowledged the Orioles will doubtless be required to tug from that depth to strengthen their main league roster.

“I don’t know that we’re going to get it done without sending prospects,” Elias stated final month. “I really like the players that we’ve been drafting and developing or trading for, but this is part of the business, and that’s why you amass such depth in your organization. There’s a 40-man roster. There’s a Rule 5 draft. You can’t keep everybody, and you also can’t play everybody. So, we just want to keep stacking good players and good drafts and good international development so that we’re able to use our players because we don’t have the same amount of money as the [New York] Yankees, you know? There’s going to be times when our richness in players is going to be what we have to lean into in order to win out here.”

In 2018, the Dodgers had the advantages of each sorts of wealth, capable of half with 5 prospects led by Diaz for half a season of Machado and barely really feel it. The Orioles’ system is maybe at an identical level, although the current state of the most important league staff has prompted the fan base to develop connected to a few of the prospects the membership may transfer this offseason. With a lot of the group’s focus and advertising and marketing devoted towards a vivid future, Jordan Westburg, Connor Norby, Coby Mayo, Joey Ortiz and others have grow to be gamers who followers consider can contribute to it.

But there’s not house for all of them, and people contributions may come as a part of a commerce package deal for a top-of-the-rotation starter or impression bat. There was hope Diaz might become the latter, however a collection of decrease physique accidents has stored him from reaching his potential. When on the sector, he hit .210 with a .608 OPS at Triple-A over the previous two seasons, falling off prime prospect lists and getting surpassed on the organizational outfield depth chart by Elias draftees Kyle Stowers and Colton Cowser.

Not all the Orioles’ acquired prospects have dissatisfied. Kremer and Kyle Bradish, one among 4 right-handers they acquired from the Los Angeles Angels for starter Dylan Bundy in December 2019, determine to have an inside observe to rotation spots come the spring. Part of the package deal from the Yankees for Britton, Tate will doubtless have a backend aid position once more. Terrin Vavra confirmed his versatility and plate self-discipline within the majors two years after the Colorado Rockies traded him and two others for reliever Mychal Givens. But every of these trades additionally included prospects who’ve amounted to little so far or are out of the group. There is as a lot a chance for remorse in buying and selling for prospects as there may be in buying and selling them away.

In the identical announcement of outrighting Diaz, the Orioles reinstated left-hander John Means from the 60-day injured record, a procedural transfer that doesn’t change his standing for the beginning of the 2023 season as he continues his restoration from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgical procedure. It leaves the Orioles with six open roster spots to guard eligible prospects, a gaggle together with Rodriguez and Ortiz, from the Rule 5 draft. Diaz was one among six prospects protected out of the 2020 shutdown, and simply lower than two years later, right-hander Mike Baumann is the one one among them nonetheless on Baltimore’s 40-man roster.

Such is the character of prospects and why, in the event that they discover the suitable deal this offseason, the Orioles must be unafraid of parting with some.



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