Is it late enough in the season to stop saying, "It's early but ...?" Are we at the point in the season where it gets harder to raise batting averages and lower ERAs because the sample size is increasing? If not now when? Mid-June? The All-Star break?
When does a slow start become a bad season?
The more important question is: How long does a manager give a player a chance?
So far Showalter has adhered to the motto, "he has a track record." Mark Reynolds' track record is 30-plus homers the past two seasons and a batting average around the Mendoza line.
This season, though, he's far off the pace to reach the 30-home run mark, but well on pace to hit below the Mendoza line.
Showalter gave Reynolds the day off on Wednesday to try to clear his mind. Robert Andino got the start at third instead. How many of you would rather see Andino at third right now than Reynolds?
The discussion could even go one step farther, although prematurely.
Listening to local talk radio Wednesday, I noticed fans already predicting what the O's will do when the trade deadline rolls around.
If the Birds are under .500 at that point, many are ready to blow it up and get rid of all the new players brought in with the exception of J.J. Hardy. I think some fans were still hopped-up on Hardy's triumphant return Tuesday night, so naturally, he's worth keeping.
At just 5 1/2 games back in the American League East, I was surprised to hear people already having this conversation.
Then, of course, I got in on the hypothetical scenarios.
If the O's were out of contention, I understand the thought process of shopping Vladimir Guerrero. He's only on a one-year deal and might be the only veteran the O's are willing to part with who would yield some return. Why not get a promising minor leaguer for him?
If Derrek Lee continues to fail to drive in runs, I still wouldn't be quick to move him, especially if the O's are close to .500. The Birds won't get much in return and his defensive skills at first base have been valuable. Plus, who's going to replace him? I, for one, am not ready to watch Luke Scott at the corner infield every day.
Reynolds, wow - what do you do with Reynolds? I don't think there's any market for Reynolds, especially not if he continues down this path. Do you just cut ties with him or hold out to see if a power surge emerges?
On another note: I ran into former Oriole Erik Bedard in the bowels of Camden Yards Wednesday as he was in town with the Mariners. Andy MacPhail walked past and shook his hand. I wonder if both parties were thinking, "Thanks for the trade." My bet is MacPhail, moreso than Bedard.
In early 2008, MacPhail traded Bedard to Seattle for Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Kam Mickolio, Chris Tillman and Tony Butler. It's undeniable the trade favored the O's, even four years later with three of the five pieces no longer with the organization.
Jones has won a Gold Glove and made one All-Star appearance since. Tillman, at least for now, is still a member of the O's starting rotation and Sherrill was traded to the Dodgers in exchange for Josh Bell and Steve Johnson. Bell still remains a top prospect for the O's at third. That's a lot of working pieces for one player.
Bedard missed the entire 2010 season to injury. Since being traded to Seattle in 2008, he's made just 37 starts.