There's more black than orange in here at the bar this week. The angry bird is in full effect.
The Orioles had a tremendous run in 2014, and though I’m sure many of you are disappointed in the ultimate outcome, the reality is that it’s pretty surprising this team went as far as it did.
If I told you in March that Matt Wieters and Manny Machado would have season-ending injuries, Chris Davis would bat under .200 and be suspended, Tommy Hunter wouldn’t thrive as the closer and Ubaldo Jimenez would lose his rotation spot, I’m pretty sure you would have penciled the Orioles in for 96 losses, not 96 wins.
See, I’m here for perspective and cheap beer.
By the way, I’m sure many of you get sick of hearing the cliché that pitching and defense wins championships, but the Kansas City Royals and the Orioles pitched well and played excellent defense down the stretch and made it to the American League Championship Series.
Not a coincidence.
Frankly, Kansas City pitched better and played better defense in the playoffs, and that’s why the Royals are going to the World Series. Yes, they got some lucky breaks, but they won the ALCS because they caught virtually everything, including several balls that most teams can’t get to.
Maybe I should give out free shots of bourbon with my shots of reality.
Anyway, in today's edition of The Baltimore Sun, I have an article about the decisions the Orioles must make with their own personnel. Free agency will be interesting for the Orioles, but before they get to that point, they have to attend to their own business.
They have several potential free agents on the 40-man roster (not counting the extended disabled list), including outfielders Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis and Delmon Young, infielder Kelly Johnson, catcher Nick Hundley and pitchers Andrew Miller and Joe Saunders.
Cruz, Markakis and Miller are the big ones. The Orioles also have a bunch of guys who will receive raises in arbitration, including infielders Chris Davis and Steve Pearce, catcher Matt Wieters and pitchers Bud Norris, Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter.
I want to know what you think is the No. 1 move the Orioles must make involving one of their current players. Is it re-signing Markakis? Cruz? Is it locking up Miller before he gets closer’s money tossed at him in free agency? Is it nontendering Davis to save $10 million plus? Or do you go the other way and try to lock up Davis or Wieters now, a year before their walk seasons and when their value has taken a hit?
I guess you could say picking up the options of Darren O’Day and Wei-Yin Chen, but those are no-brainers. I want something with a little chutzpah.
And don’t give me who you want to acquire from another team. That’s not on the board right now. Focus on the roster at hand. Oh, and for those who say cut Ubaldo Jimenez, remember, he is owed roughly $39 million over the next three seasons. That contract isn’t tradeable, and it is stupid to eat that now, so that’s not a good call (but if you’ve got nothing else, OK).
Daily Think Special: What’s your top priority move involving a current Orioles player?