Five Reasons the O's Decided to Stay Pat This Season
February 19, 2013 in Baltimore Orioles Offseason
By Staff Writer John Manuel:
For those who panicked day by day as Dan Duquette watched free agents sign with other teams and held back from trading the O's young talent, here are some reasons why they may have stood pat.
1- I think the Baltimore Orioles organization is banking on a couple of their younger guys in the lineup to become huge stars.
First and foremost is Manny Machado. I think they are pretty confident Machado will quickly start to breakout sooner than later. It is asking a lot of someone his age but I think they believe he could be a monster in the lineup as soon as this season. I also think that Matt Wieters will become more of an offensive force than he has. Wieters' run production has gone up every year and this year would be a good time to get to that 90-100 RBI range. And even though Adam Jones has established himself has one of the better outfielders in the American League, there is still room to grow and become a true MVP candidate. Buck will put a lot on these three players and they should help compose a formidable lineup.
2- Even though the O's didn't add a left fielder or first baseman their biggest question mark may be at second base.
Chris Davis, Nate McLouth and the returning Nolan Reimold should be able to handle the first two but what about second? Robert Andino is gone, but guess who is back and ready to play? Brian Roberts. It is going to be asking a lot to get the Brian Roberts of old but if Roberts can give them close to that it would be an upgrade. The O's didn't get a whole lot from second in 2012 so it will be interesting to see what Roberts can bring this spring. If it is a failure it will once again be a revolving door at second until 2014 when Roberts' big contract is off the books and players like Robinson Cano and an abundance of starters could reach free agency. Next season looks to be a better situation to spend and that could be the O's main play.
3- Unlike seasons of the past, the Orioles come into 2013 with a good idea who will be in their five man staff.
Going into the season Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Tillman, and Miguel Gonzalez should be locks. It has been very rare that the Orioles have been in a situation like this. Although all four of these guys need to show consistency season to season based on what they got last season and in the playoffs Baltimore has to feel much better than years past. Losing Joe Saunders hurt but it’s not devastating. The Orioles also have a nice battle for the fifth spot between Jair Jurrjens, Zach Britton and possibly Dylan Bundy. The Orioles staff doesn't have that big time number one but should be able to stand up to the Yankees and Red Sox. On paper, Toronto and Tampa look to have an edge on the Orioles though. Once again, there are some question marks but this starting staff looks a lot better than ones of the past.
4- The Baltimore Orioles could have a lights out type bullpen this season.
Jim Johnson is Jim Johnson and should once again save many games. But it is what else they now have which could make it special. Darren O'Day may have been the best pitcher in the bullpen especially down the stretch and in the playoffs. Pedro Strop struggled for a bit but his arm is electric and could bounce back to the pitcher he was most of the season. The O's depended a lot and maybe too much on these three for most of 2013 but now they could have two huge additions full time in the pen. Both Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter made excellent transitions to the pen late in the season and now Buck should have them out there all season. Both probably want to be starters but I think they could find huge roles in the pen.
5- Maybe the one key factor why the Orioles have stood pat since last season’s wild card birth is who they have as manager.
I think Buck Showalter really likes what he has in Baltimore and didn't see any moves out there worth taking at this point. Buck now has another year to work with these guys and it can only be positive. Orioles’ fans have to feel confident that Showalter can match up with anyone in the American League right now, and so does Orioles management as they awarded Buck with a deserving extension. The players seem to love to play for him so effort should not be a worry in 2013.
That being said it is not out of the realm that the Orioles still don't make a major move during the spring or before August depending on how the season goes. But I think they see who could be out there next off season and determine it is best to wait.