It's the most wonderful time of the year for baseball fans—the time when spring training is just around the corner. Every team is still a contender, and you never know what might happen. But, here in the the AL East, is that really true?
Could it be that the Baltimore Orioles success for the 2009 season actually comes down to the success of Hayden Penn? The Hayden Penn that has seemingly dodged success with such vigor over the past two years that one has to wonder what his major league talent really is—pitching or MISSING THE BOAT?
But Rory asked me to preview the Orioles' pitching staff, which I attempt to do here.
1. Jeremy Guthrie
Our No. 1 is probably a No. 2 or 3 on any other club, but he is a good young pitcher who will give you a decent start through the All-Star break. Either his conditioning needs work or he simply gives up when we are down in the second half of the season, as he has simply "not had it" the past couple years.
2. Koji Uehara
Our No. 2 comes to us from the Far East. If nothing else, Japan will finally know Baltimore has a baseball team and we may start to see some baseball players come here. I believe he will regain some of his form and become a serviceable starter.
3. Rich Hill
(From here on are simply my predictions.) They didn't get him here to watch, he's out of options, and our pitching coach and bullpen staff know him! Put him out there—what's the worst that can happen?
4. Hayden Penn
Nowhere to run this year, buddy! It's make or break time! I think it's break, but I HOPE it's MAKE!
5. David Pauley
This Red Sox castoff could be the answer to the Orioles filling out the rotation until next year.
Jim Johnson (Setup Man), Dennis Sarfate (Seventh Inning), Chris Ray (Setup Man/Closer)
Jamie Walker (LH Specialist), Chris Walker (Surprise-Long-Relief), Mark Hendrickson (Long-Relief, Spot Start), George Sherrill (Closer/Set-up Man)
Danys Baez (Na na na na, hey hey hey, good bye)
I also believe Matt Albers (RH) and Troy Patton (LH) will be a part of the pitching staff by June; however, due to the arm injuries, will begin the year in extended spring training.
Just one guy's opinion—but, right now, the Orioles are CONTENDERS!