Tomase: As the Orioles rise, the Red Sox may face the reality of the AL East that originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Ready to feel hopeless, hopeless and depressed?
This may be the closest the Red Sox will get to the Orioles in the next three years.
Nobody saw it coming. Projected to miss 100 games again this season, the O’s are speeding up comparisons to the Stars of the past decade, who made high draft picks the core of the 2017 World Series winners and remain powerhouses today.
Former Houston assistant GM Mike Elias is building a similar show in Charm City in a way that should have Red Sox fans obsessed with the Yankees, Rays and Jays wishing they had paid a little more attention to their flank. rear.
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The Orioles are what the Red Sox want to be under baseball boss Chaim Bloom, with the #1 farming system in baseball, top-notch prospects that are in the big leagues or on their doorstep, and the ability to significantly increase their payroll, perhaps as early as this winter.
The Red Sox are nowhere near that goal. They are, in fact, much closer to disorder, with more potential holes than solutions on the immediate horizon. They should get used to looking at the O’s, because that gap is only going to widen.
I need a drink.
Back in the good old days of early May, the Orioles still represented an opportunity to rest, regroup and maybe fill in some stats. If New York, Boston, Tampa and Toronto wanted to repeat last year’s feat of winning 90 games each, then someone would have to lose ten dollars. Type the O’s.
Baltimore’s last winning season came in 2016 when Edwin Encarnacion and the Jays came out with the AL wild card game. Only the 2020 Red Sox stopped a five-year run for last place, but three times Baltimore lost at least 108 games.
Those days are gone. The Orioles are ahead and still winning.
On Friday night, with the Red Sox fighting for their lives in the playoffs, Xander Bogaerts and Alex Cora melted en route to the ejections, the Red Sox pitchers served five homers covering over 2,000 feet, and the unnamed Orioles reached 15-10. victory.
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They are now 62-57, 3.5 games ahead of the bottom-placed Red Sox and just 1.5 games behind the Rays for the final wild card berth.
They’re doing it without star player John Means, who only made two appearances before undergoing Tommy John’s surgery. They’re doing it without the spotlight of central defender Cedric Mullins, whose numbers have plummeted throughout last year’s All-Star campaign.
They’re doing it without the closest thing they had to a franchise icon in Trey Mancini and the only All-Star on the roster, Jorge Lopez, who was not only traded on time but also to AL Houston playoff opponents. and Minnesota. respectively.
And the worst part is that they haven’t even started. Seeker Adley Rutschman is the first of his top prospects to arrive; the hitter looks like a franchise player and future MVP contender, with power on both sides and game-changing defensive ability. He’s already what they expected former All-Star Matt Wieters to be.
Baseball America just named Baltimore’s farm system No. 1, while also highlighting two of the game’s top five prospects, third baseman Gunnar Henderson (No. 2) and right-hander Grayson Rodriguez (No. 5). Both are expected to hit the big leagues next year.
Further down the line is Matt Holliday’s son Jackson, the first overall pick in last month’s draft.
If the Orioles simply relied on prospects, their roof could be something along the lines of Tampa Bay. But Elias is already on record saying he plans to “significantly increase the payroll” to $48 million this winter, and there is precedent for that. Just five years ago, the O’s spent nearly $170 million, with stars like Chris Davis, Manny Machado and Adam Jones.
So that’s what the Red Sox potentially face in baseball’s toughest division: an Orioles club that not only calls up top-tier prospects, but boasts a star like Mets winner Cy Young Jacob deGrom or Braves All-Star shortstop. Star Dansby Swanson.
In the meantime, the Red Sox will likely look to replace shortstop Xander Bogaerts, DH JD Martinez and right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, as well as finding out if they need to trade third baseman Rafael Devers. And they won’t be able to rely on in-house solutions beyond massive first baseman Triston Casas, because most of their best prospects, like shortstop Marcelo Mayer, remain at the lower levels.
The two franchises seem to be pointed in completely opposite directions, which has created a disturbing, unsettling, and unpleasant possibility – when the next season begins, the rest of AL East will circle the Red Sox as their break in the schedule.