11 February 2011
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Today’s focus: Baltimore Orioles
To all the other teams in the American League East, having the Orioles in the division has made life much easier the last few years. Never a need to worry about being in the basement when you’ve got good old Baltimore to fill the cellar for you. The Orioles find themselves coming off three years in a row at the bottom of the pile and amazingly 13 losing seasons in a row.
Baltimore has stayed out of the free for all signings for the last several off seasons and focused on developing talent from within. Players such as Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis, Jake Arrieta and Brian Matuzs are considered high ceiling guys. This offseason however, they revamped the left side of their infield by bringing in JJ Hardy and Mark Reynolds, inserted a veteran presence into their rotation with Justin Duchscherer, added first baseman Derrek Lee and DH Vladimir Guerrero . Further development of their young pitchers, many of whom were at one time rated top prospects by Baseball America, and continued growth of their developing players should allow for an improved season. The addition of Buck Showalter as manager has reinvigorated this group and has them once again believing in their ability to win.
Notable Losses Include: Kevin Millwood, Julio Lugo, Ty Wigginton, Corey Patterson, David Hernandez, Matt Albers
Notable Pick Ups: Derrek Lee, JJ Hardy, Mark Reynolds, Kevin Gregg, Brendan Harris, Justin Duchscherer, Vladimir Guerrero
At this point the O’s have picked up some nice infield help, have a good/potentially very good young pitching staff, a solid clean up hitter with the addition of Vlad, and a positive outlook with Showalter at the helm. I’ll go out on a limb here and say this team breaks .500 and ends their streak of last place finishes in the division this season.