There was a bit of a buzz around the Orioles complex Saturday over comments by New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman that essentially dismissed the team's surprising 2012 season as a statistical fluke.
"The run differential is more reflective of the talent on the field. When you overperform, like the Orioles did [in 2012], you realize that's more of an anomaly," Cashman told the New York Post on Tuesday. "And last year was a market correction."
The comments blew up on Oriole message boards over the past few days, but the club has been dealing with the passing of public relations director Monica Pence Barlow and has remained largely silent about Cashman’s comments.
Cashman was referring to the fact that the Orioles won 93 games and made the playoffs in 2012 with a run differential of just plus-7, while the Yankees won just two more games with a run differential of plus-136. The Tampa Bay Rays won three fewer games than the Orioles with a run differential of plus-120.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette would say only that the 2012 season was a reflection of the the Orioles bullpen's terrific performance and the club’s clutch performance in one-run and extra-inning games.
"The last time I checked," Duquette said, "the team that gets into the playoffs is based on wins and losses."
Manager Buck Showalter took a subtle jab at the Yankees during his pregame media session as he pointed out that the difficulty in predicting how teams are going to do because of the unpredictability of injuries.
"The Yankees had some challenges with that last year," he said, "as they talk about a lot."
Otherwise, Orioles officials chose to take the high road, though they easily could have fired back in kind. Especially when you consider that the Yankees won exactly the same number of games last year as the team that went through "a market correction" while spending way more than twice as much ($231 million) as the Orioles (just under $100 million) on total payroll.
And the Orioles had a plus-36 run differential to the Yankees' minus-21, which, based on Cashman’s reasoning, would make it the Yankees' third-place finish a fluke.