As start of Spring Training is upon us, one has to look at the work Andy MacPhail has done so far. I know that there were a lot of fans – myself included – who thought the man at the helm of the Orioles was well, a tad slow.
I guess we all jumped to conclusions, and although Baltimore may not be a contender this season, or next – the organization is in a lot better shape than it has been in the past. So we didn’t get Mark Teixeira, Derek Lowe or A.J., but I see improvement.
While the Orioles didn’t get the marquee or veteran arms we like, he finally made inroads into Japan and Far East by acquiring Koji Uehara and rid us of Daniel Cabrera. Meanwhile, he stockpiled on arms and got Rich Hill – a pitcher who started with such high hopes with the Cubs, but is a work in progress – David Pauley, and a litany of others.
As well, he went back to the Cubs again and acquired Felix Pie – a player who may have not gotten a fair share in Chicago – who may be part of an amazing outfield that may bring us thoughts of some old school Oriole teams (now, let’s hope he can figure it out at the plate).
We also got Ryan Freel – all hustle, and never dove for a ball he didn’t like; Ty Wigginton – who can slug the ball and is ‘versatile’, and “Fresh Hands” may be back for another tour of duty in Charm City.
The Orioles didn’t engage in another Bedard or Tejada trade; however, we signed the Oriole “golden boy”, Nick Markakis, and are in talks with extending Brian Roberts. Also, if Melvin Mora, Jeremy Guthrie and Aubrey Huff can have strong years, and Adam Jones can further his development, fans here might have something to look forward in summer. Ok, I don’t think we are going to go and fight with the elite of the division; however, we can make things interesting.
Our bullpen is better just by fact our guys may be healthy, and the rotation may be a question mark, but I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in Florida.
Whether or not we sign a marquee name or extended anyone at this point, this much I am sure of -- MacPhail has done a great job, and will be given a chance to continue it. Let’s hope we keep moving upward.
- Jeff Zrebiec has an exclusive Q&A with Andy MacPhail posted on the Baltimore Sun's website, as well Peter Schmuck also spoke to him about Mark Teixiera.
- Childs Walker talks about the Oriole farmhands who make a difference in the future.
- Jay Trucker of the Examiner looks at five key issues that Baltimore faces in camp starting this weekend.
- Spencer Fordin looks at five players who are in their last year of their contracts with the organization.
- Casey Willett looks at Chris Ray and George Sherrill, who will probably battle for the closer's spot
- Finally, it looks like Millar-time has come to a close as the former first baseman has signed a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays (which is suddenly becoming a home for Baltimore cast-offs, much like Washington has become).