Dave Trembley is done covering for his pathetic Orioles

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Heading into the season, the common phrase bandied about regarding the Baltimore Orioles was “they’re on the right track.”

Sure, no one really expected them to compete with the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays in the AL East, but at least they were stockpiling some promising young talent and looking like they had the potential to be contenders in a couple of years.

Well, the Orioles are on some kind of track for sure, but so far it looks like they’re zooming toward a cliff, having failed to notice the “Bridge is Out” sign along the way.

Baltimore manager Dave Trembley appears to be aware of impending doom, unloading on his team in a meeting on Wednesday before popping off to the press.

“I’ve been in a position where I’m a really nice fella and I’ll cover. I’ll get questions point blank and I feel like I’m a damn presidential press secretary sometimes instead of telling it what is it. I have to smooth it over,” Trembley said. “I’m not smoothing it over anymore.”

The Orioles (2-13 entering Wednesday night’s game in Seattle) have been pretty much awful across the board, ranking last in the AL in runs scored and 11th in ERA. In fact, dating back to Sept. 17 of 2009, they are 6-26 with a .242 team batting average.

The Orioles have had their share of injury problems, with Brian Roberts, Felix Pie and Michael Gonzalez all on the disabled list. Miguel Tejada is not on the DL, but missed his fourth straight game on Wednesday with a sore hamstring.

But Trembley’s big complaint on Wednesday was his team’s lack of fundamentals.

“I’m not going to let things continue to slide and say it’s OK. … I’m tired of that,” Trembley said. “I want to see the guys succeed. I’d like to get them back on track so they can enjoy that. You’re going to have to make some sacrifices and play some more as a team and do the things necessary in order for you to win. In order to do that you have to get your priorities straight. The priorities are the team.”

While I understand his frustration, the blame for a lack of fundamentals and team play should rest on the shoulders of the manager. It’s his job to instruct his players on how to play, then make sure they do it. So while it’s all well and good that Trembley is done being Mr. Nice Guy, it just might be too late for him. Maybe that’s a good thing.

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Athletics trade Billy Burns to the Royals for Brett Eibner

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 13: Billy Burns #1 of the Oakland Athletics waits on deck to bat during the fourth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 13, 2016 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.

Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.

Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.

Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.

Nationals acquire closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 20:  Mark Melancon #35 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches during the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies on May 20, 2016 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
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The Nationals announced on Saturday afternoon that the club acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for reliever Felipe Rivero and minor league pitcher Taylor Hearn.

Melancon, 31, put together another solid season for the Pirates, leaving the club with 30 saves, a 1.51 ERA, and a 38/9 K/BB ratio in 41 2/3 innings. He led the majors last season with 51 saves and has a 1.80 ERA since joining the Pirates in 2013. Melancon is earning $9.65 million this season and can become eligible for free agency after the season.

With Melancon out of the picture, the Pirates intend to have Tony Watson take over the closer’s role.

Rivero, 25, has handled the seventh and eighth innings for the Nationals this season, compiling a 4.53 ERA and a 53/15 K/BB ratio in 49 2/3 innings. He’s just shy of one year of service time, so the Pirates will have control of him for a long time.

Hearn, 21, was rated the Nationals’ 27th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline. He was originally drafted by the Pirates in the 22nd round of the 2012 draft but he didn’t sign and ended up going back to college. The Nationals took him in the fifth round of last year’s draft. This season, between rookie ball and Single-A Hagerstown, Hearn put up a 2.79 ERA and a 39/13 K/BB ratio in 29 innings. He’s a long way away from the majors, so he’s essentially a lottery ticket for the Pirates.

The Nationals needed an upgrade at closer as Jonathan Papelbon has struggled this season. The right-hander has allowed runs in each of his last three appearances, ballooning his ERA up to 4.41 with a 30/13 K/BB ratio in 32 2/3 innings. It will be interesting to see how Papelbon, who has never made a habit of letting his feelings go unspoken, handles a demotion to the eighth inning.