For Orioles fans, silence from the Warehouse is deafening

With anticipation high for a repeat of 2012, team hasn't done much to bolster its roster

Orioles fans, I don't blame you for being upset.

Here we are, the second week of January, and the silence from the Warehouse is deafening.

Let's review what we have so far. No major moves to make this team better in 2013. No progress in the hunt for a big bat in the middle of the order. No signing of a much-needed first baseman. (Adam LaRoche, we hardly knew you.)

Instead, what we get from the Orioles front-office is the sound of crickets.

Here's the team's big off-season move so far: they re-signed Nate McLouth to play left field. But by doing little else, they're blowing a golden opportunity to capitalize on resurgent fan interest from their magical 2012 season.

What on earth are Peter Angelos and Dan Duquette thinking?

Look, this is no rip-job of Duquette. The Orioles vice president of baseball operations did a terrific job re-building the team last season. He molded together a solid nucleus of talented young players with cast-offs, has-beens and never-weres.

Somehow, with all the juggling and the 10,000 roster moves and the Baltimore-Norfolk pipeline gushing seven days a week, the Duke made it work. Brilliantly.

Somehow that team shocked the world and won 93 games, finished second in the American League East and went to the playoffs.

But where's the follow-up to all that?

Where are the significant upgrades to make this team even better in 2013? Where's the splashy free agent signing or two to energize the fan base even more?

What, this team can't afford to make moves? What are they doing with all that MASN money? Helping pay down the national debt?

Sorry, from a PR standpoint, the Orioles are blowing it big-time with their fans.

Think about what we have here. For the first time in nearly 15 years, baseball fans in this town are pumped this off-season. They can't wait for spring training to begin.

FanFest at the Convention Center next week is going to look like Preakness Saturday. Did you see ticket vouchers for the autograph sessions sold out within the first hour? And that it was the first time all the vouchers went on the first day?

That's unbelievable. And then to have the Orioles basically sit on their hands while other teams in their division — notably the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox — make themselves better, well, what kind of message does that send to the fans?

"I understand that argument," Duquette said when I reached him Wednesday. "But I'll tell you right now, our best players are going to come up through the farm system."

Sure, the Orioles have made a few minor moves this off-season. The Duke isn't going to put his feet up on the couch and catch up on "Homeland" episodes all winter — it's not in his DNA.

This is a guy who scans the waiver wire for light reading. A big night out is probably the spinach power salad from Panera Bread and tapping into the Wi-Fi to study the Chunichi Dragons roster. And I mean that in a good way.

So the Orioles got Alexi Casilla off waivers to battle Ryan Flaherty for the second base job in case Brian Roberts doesn't come back this spring — and in case Roberts isn't a better player than he was in his brief comeback from concussion symptoms last summer.





Eduardo A. Encina

Eduardo A. Encina

Orioles beat writer
Peter Schmuck

Peter Schmuck

Sports Columnist
Dan Connolly

Dan Connolly

Orioles and national baseball writer
Dean Jones Jr.

Dean Jones Jr.

Orioles editor