Former Orioles star Nick Markakis is enjoying a career year in the fourth year of his deal with Atlanta, with he and Ryan Flaherty providing the upstart Braves much of what they did for the Orioles, showing what their old team lacks in the process.
A first-round draft pick in 2012 who was in the major leagues less than a year later, Kevin Gausman has seen his constant efforts to fashion himself into a front-line major league starter play out in front of Orioles fans desperate for him to fill that role.
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?
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.
Whether the Orioles are ultimately able to lock up Yovani Gallardo and Dexter Fowler remains to be seen. Regardless of the outcome, the club heads into spring training this year with few roster and position battles. That's because leading up to this point, the Orioles' offseason focused on keeping its core group intact, and they've done that in retaining first baseman Chris Davis, setup man Darren O'Day and catcher Matt Wieters.
The Orioles managed to bring back Matt Wieters, Darren O'Day and Chris Davis, three of the six players who were in a position to leave for a possibly more lucrative contract with another team. The price tag was staggering — $207.8 million — and that number figures to rise before the club is through upgrading the pitching staff.
Orioles fans would love to live in a world where their team was willing to spend a guaranteed $230 million for Chris Davis and Wei-Yin Chen on top of $15.8 million next season for Matt Wieters and a record $31 million deal for setup man Darren O'Day. That would certainly show they are committed to fielding a competitive team after last year's .500 finish. What it would not have done, however, was make the Orioles a better team than they were last year.
Up until Saturday, free agents were only able to negotiate with their 2015 clubs, but this morning the market is officially opened up to all teams. Free agents are now free to negotiate and sign with any team.
As of 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning, free agents could begin signing with clubs besides the ones they played for in 2015. That means the Orioles' six free agents — Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis, Gerardo Parra, Steve Pearce, Darren O'Day and Matt Wieters — can all begin testing their free-agent value elsewhere. Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has said the club will have the resources to add players via free agency.
Which Orioles will receive qualifying others? Does a judge¿s ruling Wednesday to throw out an arbiter¿s decision involving the MASN rights dispute mean the club will have more money to spend on free agents?
The Royals might give some teams cover for staying on budget, but the Orioles don't need to take a lesson from anybody about that. If they want to take something from the Royals, how about a few of their key players?
Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette sought to quiet concerns among the fan base that the coming free-agent exodus would eviscerate the team, but couldn't say for sure that they would be able to prevent that.
Baseball operations chief Dan Duquette sometimes seems to be in slow motion early in the offseason, but he should see the value in making some moves quickly this winter to allay fear among the fan following of a total roster rebuild.
It is a simple enough matter to break down the past season and find all the reasons why the Orioles did not score enough runs — or distribute them more evenly — to deliver their fans a fourth consecutive winning season. The Orioles offense was consistently inconsistent because it was not built with enough versatility and connectivity to overcome the predictable ebb and flow of a free-swinging lineup with an inordinate dependence on the home run.
When the Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners early Tuesday morning, the Orioles' pursuit of the 2015 playoffs officially ended after weeks of sputtering and hoping. With that elimination comes the reality that this Orioles club likely will undergo drastic changes in the next few months.
One of the side benefits of Adam Jones' persistent back stiffness is that it has allowed the Orioles to take the occasional look at Gerardo Parra in center field, in case there is a future need. Where Parra's future will be, however, is undetermined. But the pending free agent said he has enjoyed his time in Baltimore and would like to come back if there's a fit.
When David Lough was sent home following the end of Triple-A Norfolk¿s postseason series, he thought his season was over. But after spending a week back home in Akron, Ohio, he received an unexpected call from the Orioles telling him join the major league club Thursday in Washington.
The Orioles haven't lost their sense of humor despite being 3.5 games out of the last wild card spot with only nine games to go. On the flight to Boston, they had the rookies dress up in ridiculous costumes as part of an annual ritual.
The Orioles reaped their revenge against the Nationals without further incident, sweeping their beltway battle with a 5-4 victory over the Nationals Thursday afternoon in front of an announced 28,456 in the makeup game of Monday¿s rainout.
The Orioles left the nation's capital on a surprising roll, but they need to stay on it for another 10 days and they need a couple of their key players back to give themselves any chance of completing a miracle run to the playoffs.
While Adam Jones told reporters before today¿s game that there was nothing specific keeping him out of the lineup, manager Buck Showalter said that Jones was not available to start today because of back spasms.