9 reasons not to panic about the Orioles' quiet offseason
There has been quite a bit of offseason angst among Orioles fans who were hoping the Dan Duquette would double-down on last season's success and pull off a big deal to upgrade the Orioles lineup. Instead, he let slugger Mark Reynolds go and made a series of smaller deals to shore up the defense, which has not engendered a ton of confidence in the more cynical corners of the fan base.
Well, cool your jets. It's not hard to build a 2013 scenario in which the Orioles are actually better than they were during last year's magical playoff run. You just have to be a little more optimistic and throw some conventional logic to the wind -- sort of like you did when the Ravens were a 9-point dog going into last Saturday's game against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Here are nine ways for you to justify that as you enjoy Fanfest today at the Convention Center:
No. 1: The comeback kids
Okay, Nick Markakis and Jason Hammel aren't really kids, but they are coming back from seasons in which they missed a substantial amount of playing time, but still showed everyone a new side of themselves when they were healthy enough to take the field. Hammel emerged as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher who came back from a knee injury to pitch well in the playoffs and Markakis established himself as a top-flight leadoff man when manager Buck Showalter asked him to move into that role. If the two of them are healthy all season, that might be the equivalent of adding one more quality player to last year's team.