We're switching back to baseball today. Write what you know.

Or at least what I think I know.

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As this offseason has progressed, the New York Yankees have traded for Curtis Granderson and the Boston Red Sox reportedly have added John Lackey as well as Mike Cameron and Marco Scutaro.

The Tampa Bay Rays solidified their bullpen with closer Rafael Soriano and the Toronto Blue Jays, God bless them, apparently are dealing away ace Roy Halladay.

The Orioles, meanwhile, added innings-eater Kevin Millwood to the top of the rotation. That's not a bad move, but it certainly isn't the same as grabbing Lackey.

Now this is where you, as fans, can help me out. Intellectually, I understand that the Orioles cannot compete with the Yankees and Red Sox this offseason. Partially it's a money thing, but primarily it's a reality thing. The Orioles haven't competed with that duo for more than a decade on the field, so they aren't going to be able to do it off the field. Certainly not now, and perhaps not ever.

So it doesn't bother me that the Orioles haven't answered the Granderson or Lackey moves. It's a chicken or the egg concept. The Orioles can't improve unless they get better players. And they can't buy better players until they show they can be more competitive on the field. And in the 2009 standings, the Orioles actually went backward.

What needs to happen is the Orioles' young nucleus must take another step forward, and serve notice it can be counted on. Then it will be easier – and more justified – to add big names for big money (or expendable prospects).

This is what President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail said recently when I brought up the subject of the player movement within the AL East.

"We watch it, of course, like everyone does," MacPhail said. "But it really doesn't dictate what we do. We make decisions that we think make sense for us. We have been pretty upfront about what it is we are trying to do. And those things stay the same despite what swirls around us."

Again, I understand that intellectually, especially since this free-agent market is utterly underwhelming. But as a fan, are you buying this? Because I know it's what has been sold here for 10-plus years.

Daily Think Special: Should the Orioles try to keep spending pace with their AL East rivals this offseason?

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