Going into the 2012-13 offseason, the Baltimore Orioles had a shopping list like any other major league team.
Atop that shopping list was a bat that they could slot into the middle of their lineup—an RBI man. Preferably, it would be a bat that the team could acquire through a trade.
However, that doesn't change the fact that the Orioles still need that bat in their lineup. Duquette can't afford to get discouraged with the trade market and must continue to push for the right trade.
Realistically, the O's aren't terribly off. With a full season of youngster Manny Machado, a healthy Nick Markakis and (hopefully) a solid Nate McLouth, their offense could improve internally. However, they did end up 20th in the league in batting average, with a .247 clip.
And though the team was second in baseball in homers (214), they finished 12th in RBI with 677 as a team.
The biggest area they could improve from the addition of a big bat, though, would be in the OBP department. The team had an overall OBP of .311, which was good enough for 23rd in the league.
Adding an RBI man who is also a solid all-around batter who can draw walks and get on base at a high clip could be key in keeping the O's offense a consistent threat during the 2013 season and not just a streaky one.
While it is true that players like Adam Jones and Chris Davis would have benefited more from batters in front of them getting on at a more consistent pace, slotting a true number four hitter in between the two would take some pressure off of them, as neither of them have proven to be true cleanup hitters yet in their careers.
This is not to mention players like Jones, Davis and Matt Wieters are still relatively young, and while they are improving, they're still trying to fully find themselves as hitters. The addition of a proven, veteran big bat would, again, take pressure off of them, which would in turn help their development as players. Considering how young the team is as a whole, some veteran leadership slotted in the middle of the lineup could do wonders for the young players.
One of the Orioles' current players could end up being that big, scary bat in the middle of the lineup one day. Until then, though, the Birds don't have that bat that will scare any opposing pitcher in the league, and because of that, they truly need to find a way to add said bat to their team.
The Orioles need to remain smart about it. They don't want to trade away too much of the future, especially considering their farm system isn't the strongest. But, they also can't gamble on the present.
Adding a bat could take a young Baltimore Orioles team to the next level. Let's make it happen, Duquette.