I wonder how many sports fans are tired of hearing about all the great moves Orioles general manager Dan Duquette has made during his time with the Orioles? Are you as tied as I am seeing one of the worst starting staffs in all of baseball?
Less than 48 hours after the Orioles' 2016 season ended dramatically in the American League wild-card game, executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter sat together at Camden Yards looking back at the year while looking to the future.
Slugger Mark Trumbo hasn't won the major league home run title just yet, but he already has won the respect of everyone in an Orioles organization that must soon decide how much it wants him back after a career season.
The Orioles are coming into national focus and the media microscope will increasingly focus on them over the next few weeks. They are an imperfect team that somehow has won more games (combined regular and postseason) than anyone else in the American League over the five seasons that Showalter and Duquette have been an item. But their imperfections are sometimes hard to overlook.
Twice this month, the Orioles have demoted a starting pitcher from the rotation, only to have him rejoin it shortly thereafter out of circumstance and necessity. There are only so many alternatives inside the organization, and when the Orioles begin to assess the market to add starters through trades over the next few weeks, they might be left wanting as well.
One day after the brawl, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Wednesday is nothing more than a day off for Chris Davis, who entered the game hitting .214 with 12 home runs in 57 games. Davis went 1-for-4 with a towering home run two batters after the fight Tuesday.
If he performs the way others have in many similar situations over the past few years, it will be another tribute to Buck Showalter's skill in creating an environment in spring training that encourages young players to assimilate with their major league counterparts and feel like full partners in the future of the franchise.
The Orioles' hot start shouldn't keep fans from licking their lips at the prospect of making all those so-called experts eat their words if the club turns out to be way better than any of them predicted.
The front office delivered a three-month storm of spending that vaulted the Orioles from 17th in the league in payroll in 2015 to a projected 11th at $142 million in 2016. And to pay for the spending, the Orioles raised ticket prices across the board. Big contracts often create big expectations and pressure to win.
Spring training isn't about perfect endings, which is a good thing for the Orioles, who have spent the final week before the start of the 2016 regular season in the same kind of roster-related turmoil that characterized the early weeks of camp.
With each day that South Korean outfielder Hyun Soo Kim remains in major league limbo, the impasse between he and the team becomes more apparent. On Thursday, after another meeting between Kim and manager Buck Showalter, Dan Duquette explained the organization¿s desire for Kim to accept an assignment to the minors in a text message to The Baltimore Sun.
No one in the Orioles organization has told Joey Rickard that he's made the Opening Day roster, though executive vice president Dan Duquette implied as much when he said Tuesday that the 24-year-old outfielder has played his way onto the club.
When he was 14, Xu Guiyuan had to make a grown-up decision — whether to leave his family in southeastern China and move to a dormitory-style, Major League Baseball-run academy more than 900 miles away to learn a sport his country is all but indifferent to. For Xu, 20, who was coveted because he was bigger and more athletic than his peers, the offer contained only the faintest hope of an American career an untold number of years away.
Pedro Alvarez went unsigned all offseason after being nontendered by the Pirates in December before finally signing a one-year, $5.75 million contract with the Orioles, giving the team six hitters who have hit at least 30 homers in a season.
Raw talent can seem exotic, and ¿raw talent¿ is just the phrase that Orioles player development director Brian Graham is using this week to describe Xu Guiyuan, who arrives at his first minor league spring training late Tuesday night.
Back when the offseason began, there was every reason to wonder if the Orioles would arrive in spring training with the famous Abbott and Costello question hanging over their heads. They really didn't know who would be on first with 2015 major league home run king Chris Davis heading into the free-agent market and top prospects Christian Walker and Trey Mancini still in development.
On the same day that the Orioles expected Dexter Fowler ¿ a 29-year-old who was projected to become the team's starting right fielder and leadoff hitter ¿ to arrive in Sarasota, he was instead in Arizona finalizing a contract with the Cubs.
The Orioles officially introduced new starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo to the media and the fans during a televised news conference Thursday afternoon, ending days of contract negotiations and medical evaluations that finally resulted in a restructured two-year deal. Gallardo, a historically durable free-agent pitcher whose health came into question during the Orioles' rigorous physical examination process, seemed relieved just to be back in a baseball camp.
It was widely reported that Fowler had agreed to terms on a three-year, $33 million deal with the Orioles pending a club physical ¿ news that was confirmed to The Baltimore Sun by a high-level industry source. But on Thursday, Fowler signed a one-year deal to remain with the Chicago Cubs.
After being engaged in deep discussions with free-agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo over the past several weeks, the Orioles now appear closer than ever to finally landing the pitcher they've long been seeking to upgrade their starting rotation. The Orioles were nearing a deal Saturday with Gallardo on a three-year contract in the $35 million to $40 million range, according to an industry source. Details must still be ironed out and he must pass a club physical before a deal can be completed.
Could the Orioles be rethinking the plan to give up their top choice in the 2016 draft for a player who rejected a qualifying offer from his original team? Or are they playing a dangerous game of chicken with the solid pitcher they need to complete a questionable starting rotation?
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette arrived at the Ed Smith Stadium complex for the first time this spring still attempting to maneuver a deal for one -- or possibly two -- remaining free agents.
The "Moneyball" Oakland Athletics found their advantage by valuing on-base percentage. The Tampa Bay Rays sought a two-percent edge over opponents, and the Pittsburgh Pirates burst to relevancy via aggressive defensive shifting. While many other clubs are only making their final preparations for spring training, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette is one swoop away from making the February free-agent coup his team's signature advantage.
No one can say the Orioles haven't made an unprecedented effort to field a contending team for 2016, but the competitive future of the franchise figures to hang in the balance whether Dan Duquette completes deals for veteran pitcher Yovani Gallardo and outfielder Dexter Fowler or ends up holding tight to the large number of top-100 picks the club has amassed.