Birdland: The Orioles, two years removed from a playoff spot but on pace for what would be a team-record 113 losses, blew up their roster and went into full tank mode. They traded six veterans (infielders Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop and pitchers Zach Britton, Kevin Gausman, Brad Brach and Darren O’Day) for 15 prospects plus bonus money allotted for signing international players.
Five-time All-Star outfielder Adam Jones would have been gone too, but Jones invoked his no-trade rights to reject a deal that might have made him a part-time player with the Phillies. “It was in the team’s best interest, obviously, to get rid of salary … but I earned my right to say no, and I said, ‘Hell no. You’re not just going to tell me or stick me where you want me to go,’” Jones said on the “R2C2” podcast hosted by the Yankees’ CC Sabathia.
Arch of respect: Chris Archer, a human trade rumor for the past few years because he is a durable starting pitcher on a relatively cheap contract, finally was traded by the Rays. He did not land with October regulars like the Dodgers, Yankees or Cubs. No, he went to the Pirates, who have not won a postseason series since 1979. Archer, one of baseball’s most thoughtful and socially aware players, said he would not wear his usual No. 22 out of respect for ex-Pirate Andrew McCutchen.
“He’s what I aspire to be,” Archer said. “I aspire to be that influential and that successful.” Archer suggested the Pirates might someday retire McCutchen’s No. 22. He took No. 24, most famously worn in Pittsburgh by Barry Bonds.
100-mph project: In 2010, the Pirates spent $2.5 million to sign Stetson Allie, a high school senior with a 100-mph fastball. In 2012, after he walked eight of the first 12 batters he faced, the Pirates converted him into a hitter. He hit, with power but not with much contact or consistency, and never climbed past double-A.
The Dodgers signed him last year, turned him into a relief pitcher, and hustled him through the minors because, at 27, he is older than Mike Trout. When Allie reported to triple-A Oklahoma City last week, his first three pitches were clocked at 99 mph, another at 100 mph. If the Dodgers’ bullpen remains unsettled when rosters expand, Allie could be a compelling September story in L.A.
Shock waves: The Nationals, needing to shock an underachieving roster into contention, should have fired first-year manager Dave Martinez. There is precedent: The Brewers 10 years ago fired the manager of a playoff-bound team with 12 games to go. But the Nationals really didn’t want to trade Bryce Harper, and the franchise player that declined to endorse Dusty Baker last year is a big fan of Martinez’s.
So the Nationals basically fired two relievers, cutting Shawn Kelley after he threw his glove on the field and trading Brandon Kintzler because, according to the Washington Post, the team thought he leaked clubhouse gossip. This all came after Trea Turner did not run out a ball and Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg argued in the dugout. There aren’t many places where Mike Scioscia might fit next year, but this old-school franchise could be one.
Drought watch: On July 6, the Mariners rewarded GM Jerry Dipoto with a contract extension, and why not? The Mariners were 56-32, with a 7½- game lead over the Athletics for the final American League wild-card spot, and in position to end baseball’s longest postseason drought. Since the announcement of Dipoto’s new deal, however, the Mariners have lost 15 of 22 games, with the A’s passing them in the standings.
The Mariners had won 27 one-run games, most in the majors, but they scored the fewest runs of any major league team in July. Robinson Cano is set to return from his 80-game suspension Aug. 14. With Dee Gordon now entrenched at second base, Cano is taking ground balls at first and third base. The eight-time All-Star last appeared at third base in 2005; the Mariners last appeared in the playoffs in 2001.