The ride the Orioles took their fans on in 2012 was simply awesome. Even after the game 5 ALDS loss to the Yankees, I still rocked my “O’s For October” t-shirt all over the place. Then the off-season came and the Orioles did…..nothing.
At first I didn’t understand it. Why not go after Justin Upton? Trade for Zack Grenkie? Shell out the big bucks to Josh Hamilton? Then I remembered the old saying, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. The Orioles won 93 games last year all while having different players being called up from AAA almost everyday. I can understand how the fan base could get upset at the Orioles lack of activity, but I believe it was the right move.
The Orioles have a very top-heavy farm system with Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausmen being the two big ones, along with now everyday big league 3rd baseman Manny Machado. To get the big name players this off-season the Orioles would have had to give up one of those three, which would have been for lack of a better phrase, the dumbest thing ever. For years as Orioles fans we wanted pitching and with Bundy and Gausmen the Orioles are going to have it for a long time. Both are almost sure thing top of the rotation type of pitchers, so giving that up to get an older pitcher who you have to pay a bunch of money to or an outfielder to add to an already good outfield doesn’t make much sense. As far as giving up Machado? Out of the question. It was him who turned the Orioles defense around when he was called up to play 3rd base everyday at the end of last season. He is the Orioles future at shortstop and present at 3rd base.
You may be asking, then why didn’t they sign a big name? Well for most of the big time free agents this past year the Orioles would have had to give up a first round draft pick to sign, and with the Orioles farm system the way it is they are in no position to be giving up draft picks for a 30 something year old pitcher or position player. As far as Josh Hamilton goes, the outfield for the Orioles is the strongest part of the team next to the bullpen. So why mess with it? With a healthy Nolan Reimold and Nick Markakis along with Adam Jones in center, they have more than enough speed, power, and throwing ability. Let’s not forget the Orioles also signed some of their own guys back, Nate Mclouth and Darren O’Day being the two key ones, so that is an addition to the team in and of it self.
While I don’t know if the 2013 off-season will help the Orioles this season, I do know it will help them down the line, and as fans that is what we should want. Not just one season where we all hop on the wagon, but continued year in and year out success. That is what Baltimore appears to be striving for. That is what the Orioles are building with the core of players they already have and the young players coming along. I am not so much excited for this 2013 season as I am for the next 5-10 seasons.
It’s an exciting time in Birdland, and its going to be for a long time.