At the beginning of the '08 season, many analysts called the Baltimore Orioles out. Some predicted that they would lose 100+ games, largely due to the fact that they traded away two stars for eight prospects and two veterans.
The Orioles don't plan to lose 100+ games this year. In fact, they don't plan to lose 90, unless they have a complete breakdown in the second-half, which is otherwise known as the mid-season collapse to many O's fans. In all honesty many Orioles' fans should not worry about the standings though.
They shouldn't sit their and complain, and say, "I thought that the way we were going, that this might just be the year." I know I did. Atleast until I remembered what this season was all about.
It was about giving the young talent playing time. So far, so good. Adam Jones is hitting an unanticipated .280, with 5 homers, and 40 RBI's. Not to mention that he has played stellar defense in center field.
Matt Albers and Dennis Sarfate have logged many innings in the bullpen, both putting up respectable numbers. It's a shame; however, that O's fans will not see Alberspitch until sometime later this year, as he went on the disabled list with a torn labrum.
Rookie setup man Jim Johnson has now recorded 14 holds. Nick Markakisis hitting .303, with 14 homers, and 50 RBI's.
The O's future looks bright, but only to an extent.
There are still gaping holes in need of filling, including first base, third base, and shortstop. People may add the catcher's spot to the list, but top prospect Matt Weiters will have that filled sometime late this year or early next season.
Now the question is: "How are the O's going to fill these spots?" This leads to the next question: "Are the O's going to be buyers or sellers in 2008?"
Well, let's start with question 1:
- 1B- Aubrey Huff could be an everyday first baseman, but I think all Orioles fans have another name in mind: Mark Teixeira.
Many people believe that Tex will be with the Yankees or Red Sox come next season, but I beg to differ. Mark has openly stated that playing for Baltimore "would be a dream come true". Plus, Peter Angelos is a Teixeira fan, hopefully meaning he will put out more money than we expect to grab him. In other words Sox and Yanks fans, don't throw the O's out the door just yet.
- 3B- Some people say that the O's must look outside the organization to replace an aging Melvin Mora. How about looking at what we've got first. Scott Moore, acquired last season in a deal with the Cubs, is currently steadily raising his batting average at Triple-A Norfolk.
Let's also not forget former first-round pick Billy Rowell. Though Rowell is struggling at Single-A Frederick, he is only going on 20. He has time. I'm not saying that Rowell is the immediate future. I firmly believe that Billy will take atleast 4 more years to become a big-leaguer.
- SS- This is a position where we must look outside the organization. Three names have popped up in recent reports: Juan Uribe of the White Sox, David Eckstein of the Blue Jays, and Felipe Lopez of the Nationals.
Out of these three, I would personally rather Uribe. He's a good fielder with some pop in his bat. Lopez is a terrible fielder that hits for a low average and has weak homerun totals. Eckstein is a great veteran to have on a squad, but not as the starting shortstop. His arm and range is getting weaker as his power numbers diminish.
Now let's get to the second question:
Here is my list of people that should be traded:
- Kevin Millar- reports had surfaced a few weeks back saying that the Mets were interested. I'm not sure if that's still the case, but what I am sure of is that Kevin would make a fine backup on any team.
- Ramon Hernandez- Rumors came out earlier this season that the Red's had an interest. I mean seriously, their main catcher is Paul Bako. I was thinking maybe trading him to Cinci for Homer Bailey and some prospects (I know Homer is struggling, but I think that all he needs is a little Kranitz).
- Jay Payton- Payton's numbers this season as a reserve may put a little more interest in some team's heads. Jay could easily bring back 1-2 prospects from any organization.
- Melvin Mora- All I can say about this is, if we can get something for him, pull the trigger.
- Chad Bradford and Jamie Walker- I put these two together because, as a package, they could easily bring in 4-5 prospects.
- Adam Loewen- This guy was make or break, and he broke. He is just another few injuries from his career being wasted, so we might as well package him with someone else to add a prospect to two.
- Alex Cintron- He's a veteran that can make a nice backup at 3B, SS, or 2B. You never know who's looking for one of those.
In other words, the O's should be sellers this year. Some people may say, "Why aren't Aubrey Huff, George Sherrill, Brian Roberts, Luke Scott, and Daniel Cabrera on this list?"
Aubrey Huff is just the kind of hitter the O's need in the next few years as a permanent DH, especially if the O's get Teixeira.
George Sherrill is not a closer. Most of us should know that by now. However, I do see him as a nice 7th inning reliever. Imagine this: Sherrill in the 7th, Johnson in the 8th, and Chris Ray in the 9th.
Brian Roberts still hasn't lost a step and is still someone to build around. He is one of the best leadoff hitters in the game.
Next season, I can clearly see a platoon between Double-A outfielder Nolam Reimold and Luke Scott in left-field. Two power hitters, one left-handed, one right-handed.
Finally, Cabrera hasn't officially turned the corner; however, he is beginning to pitch well again. From what I've seen, he pitched much better when he used all of his pitches. That keeps hitters guessing.
So see fans, the O's were not built to even survive this long. Though they have done well thus far, it is highly unlikely that the O's will even make a run at the Wild Card. But before I leave you, I will put together a lineup of what I hope the future to look like in B-More:
- Brian Roberts (2B)
- Adam Jones (CF)
- Nick Markakis (RF)
- Mark Teixeira (1B)
- Aubrey Huff (DH)
- Matt Wieters (C)
- Luke Scott/ Nolan Reimold (LF)
- Scott Moore (3B)
- Juan Uribe (or whoever) (SS)
Whoa, I'm drooling already.
All stats are as of July 11.