Monday, March 29, 2010

AL East Competitors: Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles had a rotation with four twenty game winners in one season. But that was about a million years ago. You have a better chance to see a Tyrannosaurus Rex in your back yard than an Oriole 20 game winner this season.

Which is not to say that the Orioles have no hope. They've improved and winning 70 games would be a monumental task for them. 

They have a few decent sticks, with Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Nolan Reimold in the outfield, Luke Scott at DH, and Brian Roberts at second. Roberts can't swipe fifty bags anymore, but he's more than competent. Newcomers Garrett Atkins and second time around Miggy Tejada could be an improvement over Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora, but that's not saying much. Cesar Izturis at short is limited offensively. The big hope for the Orioles is that second year catcher Matt Wieters will start showing some of the offensive potential that yielded an 852 OPS in September. Adam Jones won a Gold Glove and Nick Markakis has one of the best outfield arms around.

If that's not enough in the Last Man Standing AL East, then it's about the starting rotation. Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie at the top of the rotation in the imposing AL East simply isn't THAT imposing. If you think that the cost of mediocrity has gone up, consider Millwood at 15 million extra large. For Guthrie, the victim of the Mothers' Day Massacre a few years back at Fenway, at least he doesn't have to carry the burden of being number one. After that, it's the Kiddie Korps with solid prospects in Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman, and Brad Bergeson. Bergeson got hurt in a Spring Training commercial, but Matusz and Tillman could be the Real Deal, eventually. Only Matusz and Bergesen had K/BB ratios over 2 of the holdovers...and Millwood had a K/BB ratio of 1.73 in Texas. Mike Gonzalez has closer credentials, but after that it's basically the No-Name defense. 

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