Back in 2018, the Baltimore Orioles entered one of the dreaded stretches any fan hates to hear: REBUILD.
As fans smacked their heads in frustration of what was going to be another long odyssey of frustration and heartbreak, we were given some hope this time, as Mike Elias was brought in to guide us. This was a man who helped create the turn around of the Houston Astros as an Assistant General Manager. We knew the bumps were coming, but there was suddenly a hint of light at the end of the tunnel.
We were promised a rebuild of the entire organization, from the bottom to the top. We were presented a new sabremetrics department to help focus on a new side of baseball. And to be a player in the international market, it would be no time before we were fighting with the elite and keeping our fans involved in the Orioles Magic to come.
Elias got to work right away, changing and rebuilding the entire front office, all the way down to the analytics room that was dusted off from years of lack of usage. We were finally playing with the big boys.
We were introduced to our new manager, Brandon Hyde, a former Cubs assistant, who was part of their rebuild and learned under the guidance of Joe Maddon. Pieces were falling into place, and some began to think that this process might go smoother than we originally thought. We could suffice a few losing seasons to make it to the promise land. We have the first overall pick in the draft, and we get to start over fresh and make it count again.
The Orioles were the winningest club in Major League Baseball from 2012 to 2016; however, we now had to brace to be one of the worst clubs. But with Dr. Jekyll (Mike Elias) at the helm and Mr. Hyde (Brandon) to keep it together, what could possibly go wrong?
Fast forward to present day, and we are learning that the mad scientist and his assistant might be curtailing us into a schism of pieces, who fit, but unfortunately watch them fall away.
Are we supposed to believe that, at this point, we are any closer to achieving what was promised by our mad scientists? We have a rotation that took 75 percent of a season to make it to six innings on a more regular basis. We have a bullpen that a pee-wee team would light up. For most of the season, the bottom of the lineup couldn’t hit the backside of a barn if they stood right next to it. We have gone from a hopeful rebuild to, “is this another failure?”
Orioles fans have stood by the team through an 0-21 start, a club record 47-win season, and losing streaks that reach at least five games on numerous occasions. What happened to improvement and growth? Why is Brandon Hyde failing us so poorly?
But, wait a second. Is it Brandon Hyde failing us, or is he just not in a position to succeed?
Hyde can only put out what he has available. Most of the season, we have had mediocre play at third and second base. We utilized players, who might be, at best, bench players on contending teams. Our top starter was out for six weeks, and our best bullpen arm has pitched in nine games all year. Two of our other relievers have forgotten how to pitch since the Trade Deadline, and we have 36-year-old, who was pitching in the Mexican League less than one year ago.
Brandon Hyde has taken the heat in stride, consistently taking the podium and explaining how base running blunders have cost games, how pitchers not finding the strike zone have put games out of reach early, and how errors at the wrong time have been costly. He will dissect where the team failed because he knows there is the capability to be better. He wants better, and he is only allowed to work with what he is given.
When does Dr. Jekyll take any blame for the failures on a club barely on pace to win 50 games? We have the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball tearing up the minors. We have a pitcher, who throws more heat than a jet-powered engine gives off, and infielders, who make playing their positions look like a thing of beauty and grace; yet they remain in the minors.
Elias, our Dr. Jekyll, has promised no rush and proper development of such players to ensure they are ready to perform, as we keep the pipeline flowing with talent from bottom to top. This has worked with talents like Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins, John Means, and Bruce Zimmerman. You have Trey Mancini as the veteran leader, who is returning from stage three colon cancer, while properly managing his time to keep him refreshed. The proof has been in the science before, but should we buy into it now?
As fans, we are at a crossroads. The losing has gotten so bad, fans are clamoring for a new manager, but would anyone else succeed under these current circumstances? They want Elias to start giving answers, but Dr. Jekyll is keeping his formula close to his chest.
In the end, all we can do is wait for the results, but at some point, we want reassurance. Is the formula working, or is this just another failed experiment blowing up in our faces?
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