We all know that the Orioles had an amazing year in 2012.
Despite an offseason that should be filled with promise, I’m rather frustrated at the development of the team so far. The Orioles did go ahead a sign some minor league talent, mainly outfielder Chris Dickerson, who has had some decent numbers in part-time; however, the big moves that were thought were coming probably aren’t.
We all get his method of operation. He wants to sign ‘value’ or the ‘low-risk, high-reward’ players out there. It worked last year along with the various moves made between the major and minor league rosters.
It’s been rather confounding seeing some of the acquisitions and moves made so far. For the most part, they’ve been making my head scratch. With the Super Bowl this weekend, and gamblers looking at Super Bowl 47 odds, fans are too putting their bets together for the Orioles in 2013.
I’ve been asking all winter this question: can the Orioles repeat what they did again last year?
While I think the Orioles may reach the .500 mark, a lot will need to happen again if they are to reach the playoffs for a second year in a row.
The payroll in Baltimore will go up this season thanks to arbitration deals, raises and other factors; however, the team – minus Mark Reynolds – will more or less look the same as it did when the Orioles ended the season in the American League Championship series against the Yankees.
Again, the young talent – especially, the pitchers – will need to take a serious step forward and avoid the up-downs during a long season. The Orioles need another repeat performance on the mound from Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel and Miguel Gonzalez – all whom surprised the baseball world in 2012.
In addition, much like I have said in past off-seasons, the young pitching – finally – needs to take a step forward. The Orioles perhaps have future gems with Chris Tillman - who may have finally figured things out, pitcher Steve Johnson, and prospects Dylan Bundy along with Kevin Guasman.
However, other young hurlers such as Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter still need to get it together if they want to be starters. Considering the Orioles now have more pitching in their system with the addition of Jair Jurrjens, these guys need to deliver in spring training and show they belong in the majors.
I could see several of the young arms mentioned being dealt.
Can the everyday players stay healthy? Can Adam Jones produce like he did last year? Is the best yet to come for Matt Wieters? Can Nick Markakis stay healthy? Can Nolan Reimold? Will Manny Machado in his second year take his game to another level?
I just have a feeling Dan Duquette is going to make a move before Valentine’s Day.
Like I have said again and again, I would have liked for him to take more risks and bring a tenured veteran (pitcher or slugger) onto the squad; however, with the market being lackluster this year and with the new draft compensation rules, perhaps this was a good off-season to show restraint.
The American League East seems to be wide open for the taking.
The New York Yankees are aging, newly frugal and seem vulnerable. The Boston Red Sox have had an overhaul of their team, the Tampa Bay Rays always seem to contend on a tight budget and the Toronto Blue Jays won the offseason wheeling and dealing.
Many have picked the Jays to be favorites in the division; however, with their moves made over the winter, they could either be contenders or go the way of the 2012 Miami Marlins.
Over the next several months or so, we’ll see if this offseason helps deliver the Orioles back to the promised land of postseason baseball.