Yesterday, the Washington Post's Dave Shenin in a very positive post on the "Baseball Insider" looks at some of the moves the Orioles have made in the off-season, and compares them to the Rays -- who of course won the American League East last season.
Although Shenin believes the Orioles are missing a few ingredients to become a carbon copy of the Rays in '09, he believes they can do well -- as in win 90 games.
I tend to be on the positive side of things, but I am also a realist. The Baltimore Orioles will not win 90 games, and should consider 2009 a smashing success if they finish at or above .500; however, the team still has a lot of flaws, mainly the the rotation -- which is very thin right now -- and maybe the bullpen (a few guys need to show that are over the injury bug and have recovered).
According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Sun, the Orioles are planning on bringing 37 pitchers to Fort Lauderdale. I'm sure in about a week, camp will look like a tryout for a Broadway show; however, the team needs arms -- healthy, reliable ones -- to start off April.
From the Washington Post: The major difference between last year's Ray and this year's Orioles, however, is a biggie: The Rays were stocked with a half-dozen young, talented, major-league-ready starting pitchers -- none older than 26 -- who managed to stay mostly healthy all year long.
The Orioles' best young pitching hopes, meantime, are still a half-season or more away from the majors -- right-handers Chris Tillman and Jake Arrieta, and lefty Brian Matusz.
But the good news is, those types of pitchers now exist in the Orioles' near future. And if everything breaks just right for the Orioles, the way it did for the 2008 Rays, they could get halfway to the promised land -- say, 90 wins, a major achievement in the treacherous AL East -- and position themselves as a no-doubt contender in 2010.
I can't speak for everyone, but I want to see improvement and a commitment to a plan. No one expects Baltimore to contend, and most are realistic – it may be a while before the team finally turns the corner. We should not be thinking about wins and losses for next season.
Right now, the Orioles have to look up at the Yankees, Red Sox, the Jays – who seem to hang around .500 mark all year – and the AL Champions, the Rays. Although some have not seen a lot of benefits to the moves that Baltimore has made in the offseason, I think things are headed in the right direction.Anything can happen in baseball, but it would be a fantasy to expect them to compete in that division.
Right now, the Orioles have to look up at the Yankees, Red Sox, the Jays – who seem to hang around .500 mark all year – and the AL Champions, the Rays. Although some have not seen a lot of benefits to the moves that Baltimore has made in the offseason, I think things are headed in the right direction.
Anything can happen in baseball, but it would be a fantasy to expect them to compete in that division.