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Free agents after 2018: Machado, Jones, Buck, Duquette (and maybe Hardy)


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All the talk about players wanting the same guys to play together forever is all very nice, but it is not aligned with the team's goal to win. Players who do not produce at an exceptional level cannot and should not be considered core players, no matter how much their teammates want them to remain on the team.

Is there stuff that matters beyond the numbers? I think so, but not enough to elevate pedestrian performance to core standards. For example: Adam Jones puts up very good numbers. His rWAR the last two seasons has been over 4. His leadership increases his value beyond those numbers. He is an extraordinary asset. Players who don't put up Jones-like numbers but add leadership and dependability (like Markakis) are more valuable than their numbers indicate, but they are not irreplaceable.

The real cliff for the current Orioles core will come after the 2018 season, when Machado, Jones, Duquette, Showalter, and Hardy (if his 2018 option vests) become free agents.

I can't get upset by lesser contributors being traded or otherwise replaced along the way. If guys like Schoop, Gausman, Bundy, and Harvey become core players, so much the better.

Since Duquette's arrival, the Orioles have put in place a system for measuring a player's value to the team. The FO knows the team needs to produce a certain amount of collective value to contend. Think of it as a bucket full of value. If one player leaves they need to replace the value, but they do not necessarily need to replace that value at the same position.

Markakis leaving can be replaced by Gausman having a breakout season, and so on. Player movement now is about supporting the current core.

This year's and next year's draft will be critical to rebuilding the team through development (and trading prospects) for 2019. That's the season to watch out for. Barring injury or other unforeseen circumstance, the core will remain solid through 2018.

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I can't imagine a scenario where Buck enters the 2018 season as our manager and his contract hasn't been extended before the season begins, unless he's announced that he'll be retiring. With Duquette, I think he'll be extended before 2018 or allowed to leave. So, I don't expect a lot of uncertainty about either one of them by the 2018 season.

As to Machado, Jones and Hardy, it's way too early to guess what will be happening with them in four years.

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I can't imagine a scenario where Buck enters the 2018 season as our manager and his contract hasn't been extended before the season begins, unless he's announced that he'll be retiring. With Duquette, I think he'll be extended before 2018 or allowed to leave. So, I don't expect a lot of uncertainty about either one of them by the 2018 season.

As to Machado, Jones and Hardy, it's way too early to guess what will be happening with them in four years.

I doubt we will be needing to talk about Hardy in 4 years.

Heck, some OH posters feel he is too old, now. :)

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I can't imagine a scenario where Buck enters the 2018 season as our manager and his contract hasn't been extended before the season begins, unless he's announced that he'll be retiring. With Duquette, I think he'll be extended before 2018 or allowed to leave. So, I don't expect a lot of uncertainty about either one of them by the 2018 season.

As to Machado, Jones and Hardy, it's way too early to guess what will be happening with them in four years.

I guess I failed to make my point clear, which was that worrying about retaining non-core players doesn't make sense and the present core will be here for some time.

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I guess I failed to make my point clear, which was that worrying about retaining non-core players doesn't make sense and the present core will be here for some time.

You have a pretty narrow definition of the core. I'll go along with you that those are the most important five components.

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You have a pretty narrow definition of the core. I'll go along with you that those are the most important five components.

Three years ago I would have considered Wieters part of the core, but with the down year in 2013, the injury last year, and his impending free agency, it's hard to do that. I hope he is a big contributor this year.

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