Let’s begin with a series of questions about the 2014 Baltimore Orioles:
- Would the Orioles have a better winning record in 2014 if the services of a veteran pitcher like Bronson Arroyo, A.J. Burnett, or Ubaldo Jimenez were added to the team? The answer is “probably yes.”
- Could the Orioles have an equally successful year by having young pitchers such as Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman make steps forward, along with Wei-Yin Chen and Bud Norris recovering to previous form? The answer is “possibly yes.”
- Would Orioles fans prefer the second scenario working rather than the first? The answer is “definitely yes.”
- Could you take either scenario to the bank and deposit it? The answer is “no,” but the teller would be less likely to laugh at the former.
Let me next give an illustrative story about what this entire Orioles “search for starting pitching” is like. It is as if you go to the fruit stand with the intent of buying a crate of tomatoes. But when you get there, you find that there are not many to choose from, and those that are there are somewhat expensive, and quite a few other customers are eyeing the same boxes – some of them negotiating on price. And beyond that, the familiar sales person seems to keep changing the conversation … you want to talk about the ripe fruit, but he keeps pointing out to you the nearby tomato bedding plants and seedlings – which “yes” look very healthy and even have blossoms. But you want tomatoes … NOW.
One more question:
- Do I want to join the large chorus of those who doubt the truthful veracity of the Owner and Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations? The answer is “no.” But …
And one more illustrative story:
I should really buy another late model used car soon. I own a Corolla, a Civic, and a Cavalier. When I say to you that I want to buy a 325 Series BMW … that is a true statement. I stop and look at them sometimes. But I also continue to wander through the lot at Younger Toyota, and I’ll probably end up with another Corolla or go a bit longer with what I have.
The word is out and about today from both MASN Orioles writers Roch Kubatko and Steve Melewski, along with other sources and MLBTR, that A.J. Burnett is apparently preferring the National League and Arroyo will end up with the Diamondbacks or Dodgers. And what are the chances that Duquette will actually give up a draft choice to get a not-so-cheap deal with Jimenez?
But look over here at the plants … look over here at the Corollas … look at our minor league and youth options … look at what others are acknowledging about the rankings of our almost-ready young pitchers … pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!
Don’t read this as a dump on Duquette. There are paths forward that could reveal him to be a genius in this whole offseason and in all he has done since coming to the Orioles. I don’t want to go back to any previous place. Enough good things have happened that all of us “fan-sided” fanatics (the spirit of the name of our sports network) should keep walking down the road with this entire Orioles outfit.
Here is what I am saying, and it is in the title – be prepared to enter this season with the roster filled with names we already know … without the addition of a recognizable frontline starter. Though it may yet happen, I think we have heard enough preparation in all of the many, many, many statements about the help on the youth horizon that nothing may eventuate with free agents. And may it be that the dust from the hooves of this entourage of horses truly proves this time to be the cavalry to the rescue and not just another roving band of marauders.