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The White Sox kicked off their rebuild with big trades.  The Orioles are finally enjoying theirs.  – Denver Post

Thursday night’s departure was the kind of outing that Dean Kremer’s 2021 release might have eluded. Instead, it showed that, perhaps, the Orioles’ haul from their 2018 sale might not completely escape them.

Against a Chicago White Sox team that was able to jump-start a rebuild thanks to the returns it got for trading stars, the Orioles’ 4-0 victory served as an example they might still be able to pull off. extract value from dismantling their own franchise. almost four years ago. Kremer and Dillon Tate, two products of Baltimore’s wave of trades at the start of its 2018 summer rebuild, combined for seven of Thursday’s nine scoreless innings.

Of course, the trades that sent superstar infielder Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers, closer Zack Britton to the New York Yankees, second baseman Jonathan Schoop to the Milwaukee Brewers and right-handers Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to the Atlanta Braves brought more than just those two pitchers. In all, the Orioles got 15 players on those four trades. Only six remain in the organization, four of whom have played for Baltimore this year and three on the current roster, with infielder Rylan Bannon joining Kremer and Tate.

Each of those moves was made by a front office doubtful of returning in 2019, leaving new GM Mike Elias with few major league assets to work with to quickly inject the kind of talent he wanted into the system. . Instead, Baltimore’s process has been long and methodical, as all but two of the club’s top 22 prospects, according to Baseball America, have been draft picks or international signings. The organization is finally starting to enjoy it after a few straight years among the worst teams in the league.

Part of the White Sox’s recent success – they are two games below .500 after Thursday’s loss but comfortably won the American League Central last year – can be attributed to two trades they made over several days back-to-back in December 2016. First, they sent left-wing ace Chris Sale to the Boston Red Sox for a return that included Michael Kopech, a hard-throwing right-hander who will start Friday’s game for Chicago, and infielder Yoán Moncada, who has dealt with injuries and struggles this year but has been productive in the past. A day later, distribution center outfielder Adam Eaton at the Washington Nationals brought a trio of right-handers back to Lucas Giolito, who finished in the top 11 in AL Cy Young voting the previous three seasons; Reynaldo Lopez, effective since his time in the bullpen; and Dane Dunning, who was part of a package used to acquire bulldog starter Lance Lynn.

In the long run, Tate, one of three pitchers acquired as part of the deal with Britton, was the biggest contributor of any Orioles move. Thursday’s performance lowered his ERA to 1.87 in 30 appearances.

Both Kremer and Bannon were part of the Machado trade, though neither was its centerpiece. Outfielder Yusniel Diaz was once ranked as the Orioles’ No. 1 prospect, but a series of lower-body injuries kept him from reaching that potential. He was tearing up Triple-A before suffering a right hamstring strain and is currently in rehab with High-A Aberdeen. Called up because the Orioles needed to add another positional player to their roster, Bannon has yet to play three games since being promoted. He was hitting well for Triple-A Norfolk in the week before the move.

But Kremer emerges in a way that could be a balm. His second consecutive scoreless start left him with a 1.71 rating ERA through four outings this year.

“It’s four straight starts for him,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “I’m really happy and encouraged by the way he throws the baseball. I thought he had several pitches tonight. He had confidence. He attacked.

Confidence has been key for Kremer, who was shaken last year. He made Baltimore’s opening day rotation, but in a start a year ago on Friday, he lasted less than an inning against the Toronto Blue Jays, walking five and allowing a grand slam, and has made just one more major league appearance this season.

He made the Orioles’ season-opening roster again this year as a loose reliever, suffering from a left oblique stump as he warmed up for his first appearance. The injury gave him more time to reflect, and he apparently gained a new perspective from it: “You just have to be aggressive and not really care who’s in the box or what kind of damage they can do. cause.”

“The change in mindset definitely helped that,” Kremer said. “I just mean, I don’t mean forget about the base guys, but kind of like, ‘OK, my priority is at home plate.'”

Even Kremer acknowledged that those four starts represent too small a sample size to consider it a full turnaround. Left-hander Bruce Zimmermann, a Baltimore-area native who joined the organization through the Gausman/O’Day trade, started the Orioles’ home opener and earned a 2 rating, 72. ERA through seven starts, but a 9.79 mark with more runs than strikeouts over his next six prompted a demotion to Triple-A.

But with this organization, optimism is worth taking when available. Kremer worked Thursday with wide receiver Adley Rutschman, who as the 2019 No. 1 draft pick served as the face of this rebuild against all prospects added in the 2018 trades. After working together last year in Norfolk, Rutschman was Kremer’s drum mate for each of his four starts, each of the last two being scoreless.

“He keeps getting better,” Rutschman said of Kremer.

More games like Thursday’s could do the same for the perception of these 4-year-old trades.

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