Every day of the Winter Meetings brings more agony from Birds’ fans. Why is Duquette not doing anything? Why hasn’t the team signed player X or Y?
First, when Duquette talks about allocation of resources, I think many people fail to consider that a lot of that may not be spent this year. J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters,and Chris Davis all have contracts that are coming to an end.
The Orioles are going to want to keep all three of these players, and likely will try to get those contracts done before the trade deadline, that way if one of them isn’t coming back, they can at least get something in return.
Yes, the Orioles need starting pitching, and now relief pitching. But could they get by without adding an established hitter?
The Orioles were fifth last year in baseball in runs. The four teams ahead of them were Boston, Detroit, St. Louis and Oakland, all playoff teams for those keeping track at home.
The Orioles were in the top 10 last year in hits, fifth in doubles, first in HRs by a significant margin, third in total bases, tenth in average, third in slugging, and fourth at OPS.
You’ll notice the one major stat not included above is On-Base Percentage (OBP). There, the Orioles were 19th, an obvious point of improvement for the team.
Then, you consider a down year for Matt Wieters at the plate, a down year for Nick Markakis, average at best production at second base and after a hot start, not a lot in left field and it shows just how good the O’s offense is. Yes, Chris Davis probably played over his head last year, but I would venture to guess that no one else did offensively.
So say Ryan Flaherty, who showed he has the defensive range of Brian Roberts if not better, and the second half of the season was just as good at the plate, wins the 2B position. And Nolan Reimold can stay healthy and he and Francisco Peguero can play LF and DH along with a full season of Danny Valencia.
In my mind, that offense looks just as good as last years. You expect a better year from Markakis this year. What it comes down to is the upgrades don’t need to be to the offense.
Once again, it is all about the pitching.