For Baltimore Orioles, Last Place is Not an Option in 2010

Christopher GallagherContributor INovember 24, 2009

NEW YORK - JULY 20:  Nick Markakis #21 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates his home run against the New York Yankees with teammate Adam Jones #10 on July 20, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

What place will the Baltimore Orioles fall in 2010?  More than 80 wins could be a start. 

Of course there is room for optimism.  Every fan has that in the offseason.  Hoping there club can make the right moves to drive his or her home team to the playoffs.

The reality of the situation is that the Orioles haven’t had a winning record since the late '90s.  This discourages top tier free agents from coming to Baltimore. 

The Orioles are in a conundrum about the upcoming season.  Go overpay for some free agents or keep with the rebuilding of the organization?

One of the goals of the offseason for the O’s is a big right handed bat.  The best option would be to trade for one.  The free agent market is pretty weak on this type of player. 

I would consider trading prospects only if you had control over the player for a few years.  Getting this right handed bat would let Nick Markakis go back to the three hole in the lineup. 

The Orioles could have a formidable s lineup with this addition.  A lineup of Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Luke Scott, Nolan Reimhold, and Matt Wieters could be intriguing to watch.    

The other need is for a front-line starter in Baltimore.  Overpaying for a pitcher is a horrible mistake for a rebuilding club.

 There is a solid core of pitchers coming up through the system.  We saw the debuts of Brian Matsuz and Chris Tillman last year.  Brad Bergensen held his own until a shin injury ended his season prematurely. 

You look for Jeremy Guthrie to be in that rotation.  He is still under team control for a couple more seasons.  David Hernandez (19 starts) and Jason Berken (24 starts) seem more suited for the bullpen. 

I would go the route of signing someone coming off injury to an incentive laden deal.  Guys like Eric Bedard, Rich Harden, and Ben Sheets coming to mind.  Trading for a starter could be another option but there aren’t too many front line starters available. 

To complete with Boston and New York you must have a good farm system.  Having a good farm system helps you feel needs on your own club or use those prospects to acquire players via trade. 

I would stick to the original plan Mr. McPhail.  Use the draft and the scouting department to determine the team’s future.  Only rely on the free agent market when there is a glaring need in your organization. 

2010 looks like another rebuilding year.