Yesterday a story broke about the Mariners’ #1 prospect and baseball’s #4 prospect, Jarred Kelenic, where he is accusing Seattle of manipulating his service time. This was interesting as it seems some promises were made in regards to Kelenic signing a long term, guaranteed deal. He didn’t sign it and according to him, was then not called up due to that. The Mariners refuted the reports, but this is a tale as old as time. As long as teams can, they will manipulate players’ service time so they can hang on to their key pieces as long as possible. The long term extension is just a new twist that we haven’t heard before.
It’s a tricky situation, but I fall on the side of the players on this one. Guys like Acuna, Kris Bryant and Vlad Jr have had their situations messed with, being held back in the minors for what a ton of people thought was too long. And good for Kelenic. He should speak up. He and Julio Rodriguez should be in the bigs alongside of Kyle Lewis to create one of the best young outfields in the game. Instead, he and Rodriguez might start the year in the minors.. again.
That said, I really hope the Orioles don’t screw with Adley’s service time. In fact, if the Orioles don’t call him up by September, I will picket Camden Yards. He’s already 23. He can help the Orioles win games RIGHT NOW. He’s amazing defensively, he hits bombs from both sides of the plate and he has that plate discipline and patience that the analytics folk love so much. There’s no reason to hold a guy like him back, let’s get him to the Show and give him meaningful at bats. Catchers are a little different and Elias has stressed saving Adley’s knees, but where is the line between caution and messing with a guy’s confidence or career? Bring him up and let’s show a glimpse of the future.
I know, I know, the Orioles have NO SHOT to make the playoffs (thanks FanGraphs). The rebuild is far from over, but I truthfully think we are past the period of top 3 picks. We have 6 this year and while people would say it was the shortened season’s fault, the Orioles are getting better. Prospects are finally coming into their own and making an impact in the bigs like Mountcastle, Kremer and Akin. And they’re just the tip of the iceberg. Guys like Adley, DL Hall, and maybe Gray Rod all *should’ve* seen AA action last year. The future is closer than we think guys. The Orioles’ winning percentage has consistently increased every year and that should continue. There will be a learning curve for the young guys once they arrive, sure, so let them come up this season and next and get to work. We won’t flip from “rebuild” to “win now” overnight. The window will start to crack open this year when some of these guys debut. Think about that.