TORONTO – As the Baltimore Orioles prepared Friday afternoon to step into a brave, new world, jolted days earlier into an inevitable rebuild when Manny Machado was shipped to Los Angeles for a quintet of prospects, the absence of their superstar shortstop wasn’t the main focus in the visitor’s clubhouse at Rogers Centre.

The British Open was on, after all. There was Day Baseball to watch, too. Besides, there was already another casualty to mourn: ahead of the Orioles’ second-half opener against the Toronto Blue Jays, veteran right-hander Chris Tillman was designated for assignment.

Such is life in the nascent stages of a rebuild. Unloading Machado was merely the beginning.

“It’ll be different,” manager Buck Showalter said. “It’ll be different. But, you know, life goes on. (Machado) was a big part of a lot of good things we did here, and he’s moving to a good place, and we’ve really got some great opportunities for some young players. And I think everybody’s really excited about the direction we’re now headed.”

This new direction, as Showalter put it, will comprise two key elements: losing, which the Orioles have down pat, and the jettisoning of veteran talent in an effort to build up their mediocre farm system. (Ranked 17th recently by Baseball America.)

And with less than two weeks remaining until the non-waiver trade deadline, the Orioles – who wheezed into the All-Star break with a 28-69 record, a whopping 39 1/2 games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox – still have several notable expiring assets to liquidate, left-handed reliever Zach Britton and longtime center fielder Adam Jones (provided he’ll waive his 10-and-5 no-trade rights) chief among them. Together, they represent two of the last remaining vestiges of an improbably prosperous stretch in Baltimore for which Machado – inarguably one of the greatest players in franchise history on a per-game basis – served as a linchpin.

But in 2017, as it does for teams that both overperform their expected record and consistently fail to graduate talent to the major leagues, fortune faded. Amid regression from virtually their entire roster, the Orioles finished fifth in the American League East.

Instead of cutting bait, though, following a sobering 75-87 campaign, and with Machado a year out from free agency, the Orioles’ front office doubled down on their deficient roster, signing Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner to a pair of misbegotten, multi-year deals in a misguided effort to compete for a wild-card spot. Charitably, neither deal has worked out.

And, now, Machado is gone. Soon, Britton and Jones will be, too, in all likelihood. Conceivably, Jonathan Schoop, Dylan Bundy, and Kevin Gasuman – productive veterans with multiple years of team control remaining – could also be moved. By August, the Orioles’ roster could be largely anonymous.

“We had a couple good runs, and unfortunately we didn’t get as far as we wanted to in a couple of those years,” said Britton. “But yeah, it’s kind of a new era, I would say.”

To that end, those in the clubhouse have no illusions. No consternation, either.

“There’s a possibility that there will be some new faces around here and that some of the team might be headed elsewhere, but you just kind of deal with that as it happens,” said Mark Trumbo, who remains signed through 2019. “There’s no point staying up late worrying about it. We’re all professionals and we’re looking to stay the course and win some ballgames.”

Not everyone is leaving, though. Unlike Britton and Jones et al, Chris Davis will survive the forthcoming purge, and of the 25 players on the Orioles’ active roster, he’s one of the few with a chance to be around when their next competitive window opens. Owing to his gargantuan contract and dismal performance of late, Davis – who owns a .506 OPS halfway through the second season of a seven-year, $161-million contract – shouldn’t expect a life-changing text or mid-appetizer tap on the shoulder anytime soon.

“I was actually at dinner with my wife and the host came over and told me that the (Machado) deal was done,” Davis said. “(So) I sent him a text and basically told him it’s been a lot of fun watching him grow as a player and as a man, and I love him, and I wish him nothing but the best.”

Over the coming months and years, as the Orioles try to meander their way back to relevance, Davis’ opportunities to watch promising, young players grow, thrive, and fail at the big-league level will be plentiful. Perhaps, as the Orioles cultivate a more fruitful farm system, another player of Machado’s ilk will emerge. Maybe they already have one, and his gifts simply haven’t been sufficiently nurtured yet.

Davis, for his part, looks forward to the discovery.

“You have to realize that each and every day you have an opportunity to get better as a club, as a player, and continue to try to move forward,” Davis said. “Obviously, we are nowhere even close to where we want to be, or where we know we’re capable of being, but you have to find a way to go about it and continue to be productive each and every day.”

“I’ve been very fortunate to play with the same group of guys for the majority of my career,” Davis said. “But I’ve also been traded and kind of had to start over. You just welcome the opportunity. You try to encourage the guys, get to know them a little bit, make them feel like they’re a part of the family, and get ready to go into battle with them.”

As it happens, in the Orioles’ first battle without Machado, his absence loomed large. For the first time this season, Tim Beckham started at shortstop. He hit leadoff. In the top of the fifth inning, he launched a two-run homer to straightaway center field, temporarily putting Baltimore up, 2-1. Then, with the game knotted at 7-7 in the bottom of the 10th, Beckham couldn’t get quite enough on a throw to first from deep in the hole, one-hopping Davis – without setting his feet – and allowing Russell Martin to reach base with two outs. Moments later, after a walk to Randal Grichuk, Aledmys Diaz yanked a grounder that scooted off the glove of newly recalled third baseman Renato Nunez and under Beckham’s, rolling into left field and allowing Toronto an 8-7, walk-off victory.

Altogether, it was an uneven performance in a frustrating loss, but one that still left Showalter encouraged.

“It’ll get better,” Showalter said postgame of Beckham’s defense.

Get used to that refrain.

With Machado gone and others sure to follow, expect more experimentation, evaluation, and frustration for the Orioles moving forward.

But life goes on.

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