Washington Nationals Assistant General Manager Bryan Minniti and Baltimore Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette recently sat down together in Washington, D.C. at Bloomberg Government's baseball preview event to have an open discussion regarding the offseason, the upcoming season and other matters regarding each team.
I was given the privilege through Bleacher Report to have a few of my questions asked by moderator Al Hunt and answered by the two executives.
Here are the following three questions and their answers.
KD (to Minniti): What steps will the organization take in the new Gio Gonzalez PED story?
BM: Anyone who has been around Gio knows what a great, charismatic person and competitor he is. We have only heard what has been reported in the media thus far and can't react to anything until the facts present themselves.
KD (to Duquette): How excited are you to see more from Dylan Bundy?
DD: We are really excited about all our young players. That's what made last year so special. We improved in many areas that we needed to, and we think several of our guys have a real chance to make a big step this year.
KD (to both): Chances of an Orioles/Nationals World Series in the future?
BM: The biggest change for us last year was that our guys came to the park every day expecting to win, and that attitude changed everything. The fact that the Orioles made such a big jump really helped push a natural rivalry, one which I think will continue during the regular season. You can never predict where you will be, there are too many variables, but there probably hasn't been a more exciting time for baseball in this area.
DD: The great thing for baseball in the area is you have two organizations with exciting players who have learned how to win. We are also very conscious of each other in the market, and that makes for a good rivalry. You never make predictions, but I think you will see more improvement from us this year and our fans are very excited.
While the answers to all three questions were both much appreciated and well-constructed, but their respective answers to the final question couldn't help but get me thinking.
Baseball really is great in that area after the fantastic seasons by both clubs in 2012, but what really are the chances of the two meeting in the 2013 World Series?
Simply put, the answer is "it's definitely not impossible."
The Nationals are well on their way to establishing themselves as the perennial powerhouse in the National League.
After last season's major league-best 98 wins, they improved during the offseason by bringing in closer Rafael Soriano and right-handed pitcher Dan Haren.
Throw in healthy bats like Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth, and a potential improvement from Bryce Harper, and the Nationals seem poised to at least repeat last season's successes.
That being said, the most surprising team of 2012 came out of Baltimore.
After countless seasons of futility, Buck Showalter's Orioles won 93 games and earned the American League Wild Card spot over the Texas Rangers.
Much of that had to do with the maturation/rise of the team's young stars—most notably Adam Jones, Manny Machado and their bevy of starting pitchers.
This season, they'll have to make it out of the tough AL East yet again. The division could have a slightly different dynamic in 2013, though, as the new-look Toronto Blue Jays may just be the early favorites to win the division.
The emergence of Dylan Bundy in 2013 could potentially be a difference-maker.
Think back to 2002 for just a moment. Remember the impact that Francisco Rodriguez had on the then-Anaheim Angels? Yeah, Bundy can have that type of impact on Baltimore.
If the Orioles can make the playoffs in the tough American League, they have just a good of chance as any other playoff team to make the World Series.
The implications of a Nationals/Orioles World Series would be fantastic for the sport.
Bragging rights, popularity and the World Series title would be on the line, and it would surely be one of the more exciting Series' in recent memory.
For now, though, it's silly to make such predictions. Spring training is just a few weeks away, and pitchers and catchers have yet to even start their workouts.
At this point in time, we can only predict.
I'm not asking you to predict, however. I'm asking you to imagine.
Imagine the type of series this would be for baseball. It'd be great, and the chances of it happening are definitely within the realm of possibility for 2013 and beyond.