Inbox: Has strategy changed with O's winning?

Beat reporter Brittany Ghiroli answers questions from fans

May 14th, 2018
From left to right,Baltimore Orioles outfielders Trey Mancini, Craig Gentry and Joey Rickard celebrate after a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Sunday, May 13, 2018, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)Patrick Semansky/AP

Will this recent hot streak change the front office's outlook for this team, and thus impact potential trades?

-- John, Jonesboro, Ind.

The recent winning has been nice, but it can't change the long-term stance of the organization. The Orioles still have to be open for business for trades. The reality is it will be very tough for them to break .500 this year, and if you're looking at the future of this team you have to initiate a rebuild now. You can make the case they should have done it midseason last year. I think it would take a lot more than a hot week to convince the front office to put the kibosh on trading away parts this season.

When will the Orioles start selling? And how many guys do you think they end up moving? has to be a sell-now guy, right?

-- James, San Antonio

If it were up to me? Now. Manny Machado's trade value is sky high, so you have to start at least listening in on offers. The longer you can ensure a team that Machado will be under their club control, the better possibility of a good return.

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Bleier is an interesting case. We know the Orioles will listen on pending free-agent relievers and Zach Britton, though Britton is hurt and Brach hasn't been as sharp this season. Other than Machado, Bleier has to be seriously considered as an All-Star candidate for the O's.

But will Bleier be part of the next great Orioles team? If the answer is no, because they're likely several years out from really contending, I think you have to listen on him, and even , who is young and under team control. This can't be a "Just trade Machado" situation. The more moves the O's make, the better they can set themselves up to truly contend in the future.

What do you think the chances are will stay in Baltimore? Honestly, this is my biggest concern. I can't imagine the team without him.

-- Sam, Owensboro, Ky.

You're not alone, Sam. I get a ton of questions about Jones' future. There are two key components here. How important is winning to him? The next great Orioles team could be a few years away, and Jones may be at a point in his career where he wants to get a ring (as he said this spring).

And how important is staying in Baltimore to Jones? He has made this city a home for himself and his family. Jones has a place here and spends a significant amount of time here in the offseason as well as staying active in the community. He is a team leader and has been a model franchise player. The O's may have to overpay to keep Jones if they can't promise a winning club.

Is there any chance the O's re-sign Jones, Manny or extend before the season ends?

-- Andrew, Portland, Ore.

Machado is highly unlikely to re-sign with Baltimore. I answer this almost daily still, but -- once again -- he's going to test free agency. Machado and the club have not had serious talks in years. As for Jones and Schoop, I haven't heard anything. There's always a chance, but I think the bigger priority for the Orioles now is assessing where they are in a rebuild and who will shape that going forward. I'm of the belief that if you don't sign Schoop now, you should trade him. Otherwise you'll end up in the same boat you are with Machado next year.

What do you think is the main cause of the wild inconsistency of the starting pitching? And what is pitching coach Roger McDowell doing to address it?

-- Chris L., Suwanee, Ga.

I think there are a few factors at play this year, though it's important to note, this has been an issue for years predating McDowell. The Orioles' rotation pitches at a hitter-friendly Camden Yards in the American League East -- look no further than a guy like , whose numbers improved now that he's with the Nationals. Also, the O's have struggled to draft and develop pitching within the system, which gives them little margin for error. For every and -- who has historically struggled in May -- there should be a few other guys, maybe a tier or two down in the Minors.

But that hasn't been the case. Instead, the organization has traded away some of its precious pitching, which further compounds the depth problem. If you don't have any depth, you don't have any options. And if you don't have options, guys aren't pitching to keep their spots. Everyone is competitive at this level, but having guys who are pushing their way to the Majors can really help keep everyone on their game.

I also think that this team's early play on offense and defense didn't help. The Orioles don't have a lot of high-strikeout guys. So when they aren't scoring runs and aren't turning double plays, it can be hard to block out as a starter and it can also be hard to resist changing what they're doing on the mound.