Former Miami Marlins president David Samson believes it could take as little as two to four years for the Baltimore Orioles to become relevant again, citing the Houston Astros' turnaround as an example.
The Astros finished with more than 100 losses in each season from 2011-2013 but won the World Series in 2017. New Orioles general manager Mike Elias was the Astros' scouting director and later the assistant general manager during the club's impressive rise to success. Houston's sudden rise to the top was a result of successful player development and deft free agent signings.
"It can be two to four years, if you've got enough money where you can sprinkle in some free agents to complement some of your international and amateur signings as they come to the big leagues," Samson said on
Glenn Clark Radio
Feb. 26. "For a team like Baltimore, they have to get young players who are overperforming and then they've got to sign the right veterans to complement them."
Samson knows how the front office of a major league baseball team works. He spent 16 seasons in Miami and helped construct the 2003 Florida Marlins team that won the World Series. Samson believes patience is very important for a team trying to get back into contention.
"You've got owners who think they know more than front offices and interject themselves, and that absolutely hurts the rebuild process. … They get impatient because it's really hard to watch your team lose every day," said Samson, now a contributor for CBS Sports. "So for the Orioles, the question is, will the Angelos family be able to take enough steps back to let [Elias] and Brandon [Hyde] and the other baseball people … do their job. If they are not willing to do that, then it's not going to work."
Samson is not a big fan of the massive contracts handed out recently. He thinks signing big-name players to huge deals is not always the best way to create a contender, using the Marlins' 2011-12 offseason as an example. Miami signed free agents Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle, and the season was a bust.
He doesn't think that the way the San Diego Padres have gone about putting their team together is effective and believes that it is more efficient to stay away from large contracts. The Padres signed outfielder Wil Myers to a six-year, $83 million deal in 2017, first baseman Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million deal last year and infielder Manny Machado to a 10-year, $300 million deal in February.
"They've got, between the two of them and Wil Myers, $70 million in payroll for three position players," Samson said. "So I just don't know how you build a team like that because it's not like basketball where a big three can get you a ring."
It’s important to put together a good roster throughout the offseason, but that's not the only thing that front offices need to focus on, according to Samson.
"Winning the offseason is something that we've done and it doesn't work and it's not a good thing to do," Samson said. "Winning during the season matters."
To hear more from Samson, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles