This Orioles team the Rangers face in a best-of-fiver was built from within. Like the Astros had done to build their dynasty, Baltimore deliberately put its fanbase through misery and years’ worth of losing seasons, reaping early draft picks year after year.
That yielded catcher Adley Rutschman, pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, first baseman Ryan Mountcastle, and this year’s eventual Rookie of the Year Gunnar Henderson. They built a roster on drafting, which was built on a whole lot of losing.
They lost 115 games in 2018, 108 in 2019, then 110 in 2021, acquiring gems in the process. Last season, in spite of finishing in fourth place, they were over .500, primed for their success this year.
The 2023 Orioles won 101 games, winning the American League East in the process, fueled by their stellar draft picks. Almost their entire starting lineup was developed in-house. It’s the opposite strategy the Rangers had to take. They, too, had been perennial losers. But all that yielded them was junk bonds.
The Orioles were investing in gold. The Rangers in crypto.
Rangers’ fortunes look to be changing though, with Evan Carter and Josh Jung, and with Wyatt Langford on his way.
Maybe the Rangers blend of seasoned veterans like Seager and Semien to go along with the youthful excitement that Carter and Jung bring is the answer in the playoffs.
Baltimore’s 2023 payroll was $60,722,300, second lowest in baseball. Texas’s was $195,869,490. Ninth highest. (The top three, by the way, are home watching: New York Mets, New York Yankees, San Diego.)
Money can’t buy me love, as the Beatles so famously said. But maybe it can buy a Division Series win.