Half of Charm City is buzzing with excitement after the Baltimore Ravens crushed the New England Patriots 24-13 in the AFC Championship last Sunday.
The other half is grieving the loss of iconic Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver.
Looming in the background of talk about Tom Brady’s Ty Cobb impression, along with expert predictions for “the Harbaugh Bowl,” is the fact that the 2013 MLB season is creeping closer.
Looking at the state of the union that is the Baltimore Orioles, Baltimoreans who are faithful to the orange and black accept this reality with uncertainty.
Some Orioles fans look to 2013 with optimism. These people see the Orioles as a young and vibrant team on the rise.
Other fans do not share such positivity, citing the team’s failure to make a big splash in free agency while the stove was hot.
And some souls even express feelings the Birds have even taken a step back from the success they garnered in 2012.
Whatever the outlook, Buck Showalter and crew are certainly the most enigmatic team in all of baseball.
For those who still believe Baltimore needs to fill holes in order to contend, I will reveal three free agents left on the market that could help this team.
This is not to say the Orioles would not benefit from getting these guys. But the subject of the Birds acquiring Bourn, Lohse and Saunders has been discussed at length the past month.
Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Kelly Johnson could prove a decent pickup for the Orioles as insurance to Brian Roberts.
While not a high for-average hitter, Johnson does have some decent pop in his bat.
A left-handed batter, Johnson has batted .255 with 108 home runs and 390 RBI in 933 career games.
Johnson spun his best season in 2010 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. That year, he batted .284 with 26 homers and 71 RBI.
While Johnson can be a liability defensively, the six-year veteran could give Roberts a run for his money in spring training.
Perhaps 2013 could be the year.
Marcum looks healthy going into 2013 after missing two months last season with elbow stiffness.
Still just 31 years old, this St. Louis, Missouri native owns a career 57-36 record with a 3.76 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.
Like Johnson, Marcum’s best season was in 2010, though with the Blue Jays. That year he went 13-8 with a 3.64 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 195.1 innings pitched.
Should the Orioles sign Marcum, and should he stay healthy, he may end up becoming the biggest steal of this year’s free-agent market.
Call me a testosterone junkie, but I think Brian Wilson would be a sweet addition to the O's pen.
Wilson is one-third-rock star, one-third fireballer, one-third man with living and breathing beings inside his gargantuan beard.
The other one percent of Wilson is World Series Champion (with the San Francisco Giants).
In his six-year career, the 30-year-old reliever owns a 20-20 record with 171 saves and a 3.21 ERA.
While not stellar stats, Wilson has pitched out of his mind when on the biggest stage—the playoffs.
For example, in 10 postseason games in 2010, Wilson was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 0.77 WHIP in 11.2 IP. He also struck out 16 and walked five while earning six saves.
The biggest concern with Wilson is that he is returning from Tommy John surgery. He missed all but two games in 2012.
Imagine if a healthy Wilson were to join the Orioles, and was even remotely similar to the beast he was in San Francisco. He could end up being a huge pickup.
Now, it should be noted that Jim Johnson is the undisputed closer for Baltimore. And stud sidewinder Darren O’Day is the team’s setup man.
If Wilson is to join the Orioles, he would come in to regularly pitch the seventh frame, just in time for the seventh-inning stretch.
More importantly, Wilson would rush through the gates at Camden Yards, right on cue for the playing of John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.”