Written by frobby
I think people spend way too much time bemoaning our major league payroll. The truth is, we're about average. That's good enough to compete with a well-run club.
What frustrates me no end is our below average farm system. If this team hopes to compete for World Series titles, we simply have to produce more major league quality talent out of our own system.
I've been reading frequent complaints about how we don't follow Tampa's approach of decisively trading away good players when they get 1-2 years away from free agency. There's a simple reason for this: we don't have ready replacements. It's pretty easy to trade James Shields when that leaves you with Price, Moore, Cobb, Archer and a 5th starter. You can't build a farm system or team entirely on the young guys you get back by trading veterans (such as Archer and Wil Myers), you have to be producing your own fair share of young guys.
We have a lot riding on the top five guys in our system, because if they don't come through, there's not much behind them. BA recently did a rough ranking of the farm systems based on how many players were placed in the league top 20's, and the Orioles ranked 28th of 30. 28th. (BA did concede that if Gausman had spent enough time in any one league to qualify, and if Bundy had been healthy, we would have been in middle of the pack. Still, that's mediocre, not what we need if we want to be consistently competitive.)
So, while it's great that Andy MacPhail was so good at trades, and Duquette has made some nice scores off the scrap bin, I continue to think that getting our farm system to the point where it is consistently above average is the only way we are going to produce consistently contending teams. And I've been waiting a long time for that to happen. That is Duquette's biggest challenge, not signing some big free agent.
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