If you've lost count of all the roster moves that the Orioles have made during their surprising 2012 season, here's a quick update. The total stands at 134 -- so many that the Norfolk Tides already have used more different players at the Triple-A level than in any other season in their history.
Maybe in some other year, that would be a sign of crisis, but Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette have pushed all the right buttons to keep an undermanned O's team in the playoff race all the way into late August.
"I think a lot of teams confuse moves and alterations with panic,'' Showalter said. "(Tides manager) Ron Johnson has done such a great job down there. That's just an extension of what we're doing up here. There's a lot of camaraderie and morale about everyone being in the same boat and rowing with the same oar."
Showalter admits that the O's have had their share of unexpected good fortune. The emergence of starter Miguel Gonzalez could not have been anticipated and the advancement of Chris Tillman has been a major plus, though neither was the result of dumb luck. Rick Peterson and the minor league coaching staffs have worked very hard to re-mold some of the young arms and continue to do so.
And, according to Showalter, the impact of the successful Norfolk/Baltimore shuttle will be felt beyond this season, when the Orioles go into the secondary player market to beef up their minor league depth this winter.
"I'll tell you one thing,'' Showalter said. "When you go out and talk to six-year minor league free agents, Baltimore is going to be a destination. If they didn't believe there's opportunity here before, they believe it now."
If you want to read more on this subject, check out my column right here.
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