Letting Three Key Orioles Walk


The past week has been a difficult one to swallow for Baltimore Oriole fans, as their best hitter, longest-tenured player, and best reliever have joined new teams.

Have you recovered yet?

The loss of Andrew Miller was expected.  Sure, he went to the Yankees, which is painful.  But, the Orioles had no shot at outbidding half of baseball for a high-priced reliever.  Plus, we all know the Orioles are not in the market for giving big contracts to relief pitchers.  Look at what happened with Jim Johnson last year.

So, the Orioles will look to bring in some cheaper relief pitchers.  And, it is not the like the Orioles’ bullpen was awful last year before Miller arrived.

Nelson Cruz going to the Mariners was also not a shock.  It became clear quickly that the market for Nellie would likely come down to the O’s and the M’s.  And the contract is just not smart.  With Cruz’s age, Seattle is paying, in my opinion, $56 years for Cruz at the end of his prime. I believe by 2017, Cruz will be a sagging, aging weight on the Mariners roster.

Replacing the best hitter in baseball last year will not be as easy.  There are names out there, like Matt Kemp, Melky Cabrera, Justin Upton, etc.  None of these will match Cruz’s stats from last year.  But, at the same time it is likely he will never match his 2014 season either. 

the Orioles have stringent medical requirements, and it has paid off in the past. (See Balfour, Grant.)

But, the loss of Nick Markakis hurts.  Markakis was the cornerstone of the Orioles for years, a mainstay in right field.  The O’s fans loved their Greek right fielder.  Sure, Nick’s contract was too high for what he was, a good defender with a great arm, a guy who had good patience at the plate and racked up singles and doubles at a prolific rate.  But, it is the emotional connection that makes Nick’s departure tough to bear.

The Orioles will be better for not giving Nick the contract that Atlanta did. Let’s face it, with today’s news about his neck, the Orioles once again did their due diligence.  Other teams may find it unnecessary, but the Orioles have stringent medical requirements, and it has paid off in the past. (See Balfour, Grant.)

It has been an emotional week for Oriole fans. But in the end, this team is run by people who want to be successful.  Who want to put the best team possible on the field.  Losing a beloved player hurts, but in the end, it may end up being the best thing for the Baltimore Orioles.

Last year, the off season for Dan Duquette was all about pitching.  This year, it is all about rounding out the roster.

At the top of the list, two outfielders to flank All-Star Adam Jones.

It is your move, Dan Duquette.  Your faithful fans await.

(The photo of Nick Markakis above was taken by myself, when I won the Nolan Reimold Sweepstakes and got to sit in the first row, right behind home plate.)