Key Acquisitions: Matt Albers - SP, Luke Scott - OF, Adam Jones - OF, George Sherrill – RP
Strengths: The current Orioles lineup can and has produced solid offensive numbers. They traded Miguel Tejada to the Astros, but Tejada, while posting decent numbers, never returned to his MVP form in his stint with the Orioles.
Baltimore must now look to budding star Nick Markakis to keep their offense rolling. All indications point to that being possible. Markakis, along with the additions of Luke Scott and Adam Jones, should help Baltimore stay around the top 15 mark in run production again this season. Baltimore was particularly solid in division play, finishing eighth in runs per game at 5.11.
Weaknesses: Baltimore's biggest weakness is pitching. Unfortunately for them Erik Bedard heading west does not help that matter.
While their starting rotation still has some quality talent in Guthrie and Loewen, it now lacks a true stopper. This, coupled with the fact that the Orioles bullpen struggled mightily in 2007, points to a rocky season for the O's.
On the bright side, they acquired a competent reliever in George Sherrill. If some of the young pitching talent they have, such as Garrett Olson and Matt Albers, can come around they might be able to turn the corner a little bit as the season progresses.
Summary: Baltimore has some quality pitching prospects in the pipeline, both at the big league and minor league levels, however, that won't make a big difference for them this season.
The Orioles should continue posting average offensive numbers, while relinquishing quite a few runs to the opposition.
The O's defense is good (they posted only 79 errors on the season), but it's doubtful their gloves will be able to keep up with their pitching. Look for them to compete with Tampa Bay and Toronto and look for them to come up short.
It will be a long season for the black and orange, but they could be entertaining to watch.
Prediction: Fifth Place AL East
1B: Aubrey Huff
2B: Brian Roberts
3B: Melvin Mora
SS: Freddie Bynum
C: Ramon Hernandez
LF: Luke Scott
RF: Nick Markakis
CF: Adam Jones
DH: Kevin Millar
Key Players & Trends
Daniel Cabrera has pitched against the Yankees 12 times in his career. Only four times out of those 12 appearances was the combined total score under 10. In 2007, Cabrera pitched against New York five times, the average combined runs per game equaled 15.40.
At the other end of the spectrum for Cabrera is the Tampa Bay Rays. In 11 career starts against Tampa, Cabrera has given up only 23 earned runs - an average of 2.09 per game. The Orioles are 8-3 against the Rays when Cabrera starts.