As the trade deadline approaches we sat down with the GM of the Orioles to get some understanding as to where

this season went wrong, and what can we expect in the future.

 

Brittany Ghiroli: What went wrong this year?

Patterson: Our pitching. Starters got hurt. Bundy was injured for a while, Tillman began the year on the DL, Tyler Wilson has been out most of the season and our relief pitching has struggled. It's hard to win games when you can't stop the other team from scoring.

Ghiroli: We have seen Britton, Brach, and Miley traded while JJ Hardy and Ubaldo were both released. Are we rebuilding?

Patterson: Yes and No. We have offensively a good team that will still mostly be here next year. So I have made moves bringing in a more affordable Sam Dyson, and a proven starter in Shoemaker. If we get a little more from our pitching then I think we could compete next year. But yes, we are starting a rebuild. Our minors have been one of the worst for a few years now.

Ghiroli: Speaking of Minors, tell us who you expect to be competing for a spot next year, and who might you like to see in 2 years.

Patterson: I'd like to see SP Mitchell White compete for a role in the rotation next year along with Austin Hays and Christian Walker. In 2 years, I'd like Walker Buehler and Lucius Fox to both be ready to come up and help the major league club.

Ghiroli: Who has been a pleasant surprise this year?

Patterson: Three guys have really been better than expected: Joey Rickard playing a Gold Glove caliber Right Field while hitting well has solidified a corner OF spot for us. Drew Stubbs, a free agent signing in May has been a nice addition, and John Holdzkom who was added in March to help the bullpen and has really been a pretty nice surprise.

Ghiroli: First half MVP?

Patterson: Schoop. He's been stellar. Machado has been very good as well, but the production we are getting from Schoop is amazing, he's having a real break out type of season.

General Manager Zac Berwick came to an agreement late Saturday night to acquire Mike Trout from the Los Angeles Angels. Berwick, who was already in Los Angeles watching his club take on the Dodgers on Sunday Night Baseball, sent ten players to Anaheim in exchange for Trout. The Braves parted ways with a solid mix of prospects across various levels, along with a couple of veterans from the Major League level, to complete the trade.

And just like that, it was over. It has been a whirlwind of a four days for arguably the most notable name in the game of baseball today, as Trout was flipped Wednesday morning to the other side of Los Angeles, the Dodgers, for a plethora of prospects. We hardly got to know ya, Mike. 

Before being shipped back across the country, Trout played in three games for the Braves going 4-10 with one home run, two RBIs and four walks. It was an impressive three games for the MVP center fielder, who played in left field during all three of his contests with the Braves. The Braves, who were on the road for all three games of Trout's tenure, won't even get to see their (former) MVP candidate take the field at SunTrust Park.

"The trade process is complicated to understand where we were coming from from the outside eye, but we got exactly what we wanted out of it," said Berwick. "It was never out intention to keep Mike in Atlanta for the long term. We simply didn't have the budget to do that. With acquiring (Trout), we were able to add several prospects whom we have had numerous discussions with the Dodgers GM Clayton Piper about. I don't think we add these guys without Trout."

The Braves parted with several prospects to acquire Trout by sending ten players to Anaheim. Once they flipped him to the other side of the city, Berwick reacquired nine players. If you ask him, it was an upgrade.

"We wanted more of a young, sure thing pitching wise. Julio Urias gives us that. While it hurts to lose Ian, I'm sure that Julio will be ready to go in the beginning of 2018 and be an anchor on the staff for years to come," said Berwick. Urias is out for the remainder of 2017 after having surgery to remove bone chips in his elbow back in April.

Berwick took the time do an email Q&A with me to provide more insight to the fans regarding the trade.

Q: What were the immediate thoughts when you realized you had a legitimate shot in acquiring Trout from the Angels?

A: Ecstatic, but for other reasons. We didn't want to let the cat out of the bag, but we knew Trout wasn't long for Atlanta. That's not to say that we could not use Trout, because everybody can use a 2x MVP, but we are trying to build in a different direction.

Q: How did the trade discussions come up with the Angels, was it a mutual interest?

A: Definitely. We reached out the night that we got word that Trout was on the block. We had an initial offer on the table. A few weeks passed and that's when Wharble Garble reached back out and we started getting more into detail surrounding the package we ended up sending. It expanded by about five players from the original offer, but we were able to hold on to much of our top end talent in the minors. We struck a deal on that very night that he reached back out. I had sent him an offer including nine of the players in the deal and he asked for Dustin Peterson to be included. I told him that I felt like I was already giving a ton, but if he retained 5% more of Trout's contract that I'd throw him in.

Q: Most difficult player to see go in the deal to acquire Trout?

A: Ian Anderson, 100%. He was a top 15 prospect in baseball and the number four overall pitching prospect, but, again, I knew we had a different vision in the long term. It was insisted that Anderson or Kolby Allard be included, and we opted to go with Anderson. That kid has such a bright future. He has developed tremendously in just his one year in our system. I know the Angels organization and their fans will be happy with him once he reaches their Major League club.

Q: You say you had a vision, what exactly is it?

A: We have had numerous discussions with Clayton Piper and the Dodgers surrounding several of the prospects we ended up acquiring from them in this deal. Before this, it wasn't possible. There wasn't much interest in talent on our Major League team from him and rightfully so. Our team is rebuilding and he has a perennial World Series contender over in Los Angeles. We discussed taking on bad contracts to attach some of the prospects with, but in the end it just didn't make sense. He had other things he was waiting on. We ended up getting most of our guys, anyways, and rather than taking on a bad contract to do it, we just upgraded our farm system.

Q: Who is your favorite player that you acquired in the trade with the Dodgers?

A: We like them all. We've had scouts targeting these guys throughout the year. But, to get a little deeper, we've had numerous discussions with the Dodgers about Alex Verdugo and Yusniel Diaz. We think that between these two and Ronald Acuna, our outfield could be amongst the best in the game very shortly.

Q: Some would say you have even more of a plethora of prospects in the system now. Given the success rate of prospects panning out, what is the plan with the overabundance of top level talent?

A: I can't get into exact details, but we have some ideas. We aren't just going to run a team of Freddie Freeman and 24 other 21-26 year old players out there in 2018. We are going to deal from our strengths and start to really build this thing the way we see fit. After 2018, we have a good chunk of money coming off our books. 

Q: If you had to deliver a message to Braves Country, what would it be?

A: Hang in there. You're going to start seeing these kids in Atlanta very shortly. You're already getting a taste of them with Dansby and the recently promoted Sean Newcomb and Lucas Sims. The rest are coming and they are exciting. 2019 is the season.

So, in the end, who was dealt in this massive 20 player, three team trade?

To the Angels: 

Ender Inciarte, Bartolo Colon, Ezequiel Carrera, Ian Anderson, Travis Demeritte, Dustin Peterson, Jeren Kendall, Jose A. Bermudez, Freddy Tarnok, and Brett Cumberland

To the Braves and then Dodgers:

Mike Trout (20% retained by the Angels), $2,000,000 cash to the Dodgers

To the Braves:

Julio Urias, Alex Verdugo, Yusniel Diaz, Luke Raley, Scott Van Slyke, Omar Estevez, Tony Dibrell, Keibert Ruiz, and Aneurys Zabala

After months of speculation, the Washington Nationals have signed 24-year-old right fielder Bryce Harper to a long-term extension, ensuring the slugger will remain with the ball club for years to come.

 

The extension, announced by GM Miles Little just weeks into the season, could potentially guarantee Harper $284,870,000 over ten years, not including incentives, though Harper could opt out of his deal after the seventh year, when he will be 31.

 

With only one season remaining of club control for the young superstar, talk around the Beltway was that perhaps Harper would test free agency. His agent, Scott Boras, is well-known around the league as a savvy, if frustrating, negotiating partner. Boras played a large role in the drama of both Harper and teammate Stephen Strasburg’s tense draft negotiations.

 

The raw power, plate discipline, and hard-nosed style of play have all made Harper the focal point of Washington’s offense. As Harper goes, so too, go the Nationals. Since his 2012 Rookie of the Year season, the team has won three division titles, having never previously made the playoffs since moving from Montreal.

 

The four-time All Star has already launched 122 career homers, amassing an .879 OPS, presumably with the peak of his prime still years ahead of him.

 

But with the disappointment of Harper’s 2016 campaign in which he experienced a sharp decline in production from his historic 2015 MVP season, sources close to Bryce say that the reality set in for Harper and his family that perhaps the best move is to secure his financial future and focus solely on baseball rather than business.

 

BNN reporter Bozo C. Loun was granted an exclusive interview with the Mormon man-child himself the morning after signing this massive extension. Visiting Harper in his Las Vegas area home, he noticed Bryce’s older brother, Bryan, driving a Maserati with a cheetah in the backseat, poker chips spilling out of his cargo shorts. Loun asked Harper if, perhaps, his sibling has already begun adjusting to a higher standard of living with the latest contract announcement.

“That’s a bro question, clown,” Harper replied.