Baltimore Orioles: Move Over Nationals, O'S Have Had Most Ambitious Offseason

Casey SchermickContributor IIIJanuary 5, 2011

ATLANTA - APRIL 07:  Derek Lee #25 of the Chicago Cubs against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on April 7, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Baltimore Orioles have had some big name moves in the past few weeks. 

While many considered the Washington Nationals to have the biggest offseason in the majors this year, the Orioles have made many ambitious moves that may be even bigger than the Nationals.

It was announced this week that free agent Derek Lee will sign with Baltimore.  Pitcher Kevin Gregg also signed with Baltimore this offseason.  The Orioles also acquired shortstop J.J. Hardy in a trade with the Minnesota Twins and third basemen Mark Reynolds in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks

Baltimore is looking to totally recreate their team after a horrible season again in 2010. 

Finishing with a record of 66-96, it was obvious that changes had to be made.  Buck Showalter greatly improved the team in the second half of the season last year and the team is looking to become a contender in the next year or two in a very talented American League East. 

Washington, on the other hand, made some big moves as well this offseason. 

The Nats signed free agents Rick Ankiel as an outfielder and Matt Stairs as a power source off the bench.  Their biggest move however, came with the signing of free agent Jayson Werth.  The huge contract Werth received was just the first of huge deals this year. 

Washington also has 2010's No. 1 overall draft pick in Bryce Harper, who could make his major league debut as early as the second half of this year depending on his play in the minors. 

Washington is also looking to create a contending team after finishing 69-93 last year.  While the team may not make a run at the NL East this year with Stephen Strasburg expected to miss the entire season, they could make a push for the wild card or be in contention next season when Strasburg, Harper and Werth are all playing full-time. 

While Washington made a lot of noise with the signing of Jayson Werth, Baltimore has acquired more talent so far this offseason. 

Kevin Gregg gives them depth in their bullpen and Hardy is a solid defensive shortstop who can provide some decent offensive numbers as well.  Lee and Reynolds give them a huge power source in the core of their lineup.  The Orioles also are looking to add another starting pitcher such as Joe Blanton and a left handed reliever such as Will Ohman. 

If the Orioles are successful in acquiring two pitchers, they will surprise many people in 2011. 

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