The Oriole's and the Contract Curse
Simply put The Oriole’s are abysmal as ever at the midway point of the season. At the beginning of the season Dan Duquette mentioned after Memorial Day the team would re-evaluate things, well all the signs point to rebuild now. After the late season collapse the team incurred last year, fans speculated things would be bad this year, maybe average if we caught a few breaks but not downright miserable.
The Oriole’s fell hard very fast into the season, and it seems like everything that has been a achilles heel for the team in past seasons came back to bite them in the ass. Lack of solid pitching, lack of depth at various positions and minor league players who could make an immediate impact if called up, relying on the long ball, and lack of timely baserunning.
In addition to all of those I’m starting to wonder if the Oriole’s are in fact cursed. I’m not one who believes in curses and superstitions but damnit something is up. I believe it’s the Curse of contracts, everytime this team steps out and gives big contracts to players it bites them in the ass.
Back in the late 90’s the Oriole’s got bit big time by the highest contract given in team history to Albert Belle at five years for $65 million, after a couple of lackluster seasons he was forced to retire after a chronic hip condition and the Oriole’s were stuck with this contract for a few more seasons. Paying out dead money, Albert was only the tip of the iceberg as similar situations occurred with other players such as Scott Erickson, Sidney Ponson, Charles Johnson, even Brian Roberts among others.
During the 14 year drought fans often complained that the Orioles were reluctant to spend the money necessary to compete in the AL East Division. After some smart rebuilding from Andy Macphail and the hiring of Buck Showalter things started to turn around. Once Mcphail resigned and Dan Duquette came aboard the tide shifted for the better and playoff baseball returned to Baltimore.
That streak of winning baseball was a little hampered by the signing of Ubaldo Jimenez signed in 2014 to a 4 year $84 million dollar deal the richest team contract given to a pitcher. He underperformed all 4 seasons during his team here often unreliable he spent time in the bullpen, and many blame him for the Orioles early exit out of the 2016 playoffs.
The damaged doesn't stop there, in 2016 Chris Davis was a free agent. Fan’s called for him to be resigned and he eventually was given the richest contract in team history at 7 years for $161 million. He has not done jack since signing that massive contract significantly underperforming. In fact this season he has been bounced around the lineup from lead-off to cleanup in hopes of sparking a fire underneath him, all the while fans calling for his riddance.
Chris Davis isn't the only culprit who has failed since cashing in. Mark Trumbo and Darren O’Day have also notoriously regressed since resigning with the team. Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb were bought in this season to stabilize the starting rotation and while decent at times, at others they perform horribly.
Now with the team about to enter another rebuilding mood, it’s kind of hard to argue with the Orioles hesitation to award players with bank breaking contracts. Whether by injuries, age catching up with players, or some bizarre circumstances big contracts don't seem to work for this team.
Being a small market team in a division with teams who have deep pockets, the Orioles aren't getting good returns on their investments. They listened to the fans to keep the core together and so far its not working out for them. You have to spend to compete but I’d be shocked if they didn't tighten the pockets during the next rebuilding phase. The organization really needs to reevaluate their scouting from pitching prospects to international talent. Don't know who they pissed off but the O’s truly are under a contract curse.
About the Author
B.Easy is the co-host of Talkin' Suplexes. He's a self-professed geek loving movies, wrestling, comic books, and using his imagination. Goal in life is become to a world traveler and get paid to hop on lear jets. Follow him on Instagram @iam_beasy