Baltimore Orioles: The 10 Worst Things about the Offseason

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Dec 8, 2014; San Deigo, CA, USA; A general view of the podium at the MLB Winter Meetings at Manchester Grand Hyatt. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

#10.  The annual false hope of this thing called “The Winter Meetings” – Every year there is a build-up to these meetings of GMs and executives. Every year there is the hope and expectation that the Orioles are going to add some players or make a trade. And it seems that every year (at least of those in recent memory) everyone else is wheeling and dealing while the Orioles watch from a distant perch on a tree branch.

It is a little bit like the Charlie Brown football gig with Lucy – who always pull the ball away every time Charlie goes to kick it (meaning that Dan Duquette is Lucy, and Charlie Brown represents the O’s fans who annually fall on their heads). However, to flesh out the illustration a bit, DD said just before the meetings, “We’re trying to put together our team so we can have a competitive team so that we can play again at the end of September where it counts and October. We’re not trying to win in December.”

And as Roch Kubatko said in the same article about the history of the pending meetings, “They traded for Dana Eveland in 2011 and re-signed Nate McLouth in 2012. Otherwise, it’s Rule 5 city.” But every year, hope springs anew … or falls anew.

#9.  The annual family fight that breaks out about what Duquette is or is not doing – Families getting together at holidays can be a blessing or a curse. Gathered around the table or Christmas tree, a wrong word might be said or a bad memory dredged up, and the family feud is on.

In real life, I serve as the pastor of a church … and yes, that is weird for a sportswriter. Add to it the role of Civil War historian, along with an undergraduate degree in music (think Justin Tucker), and I’m a whacko for sure. All to say, my most famous sermon ever is one about dealing with the crazy relatives around the holidays, entitled “Dealing with the Turkey at Your Table and the Sap in Your Family Tree.”

Our Orioles family is a bit like this. We have this dysfunction of annually bickering over what offseason moves should or should not be done … rehearsing what was or was not done in the past. Duquette ends up a bit schizoid from it all, as he’s not sure he is welcome at the homestead for the holidays or not.

This is a family that has a lot of drama – especially in the winter.

#8.  The annual Bird Flu epidemic – No, I am not actually talking about the H5N1 strain that caused the Bird Flu in 2004. I am actually referencing the offseason strain of concern that we might call the “Oriole Bird Flu.”  This occurs every winter, and its epidemiology relates to 14 consecutive years of losing and the resultant fear that without bold and determinative moves, the Orioles are going to fall into the basement again.

Much could be written (and is written every day) to combat this psychosomatic fear. For today, here are some statistics relative to Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and Manny Machado. The Orioles expect to have all three returning in 2015. Together in 2014, those three players combined to miss a total of 261 games. Without Davis in the lineup, the O’s were 24-11; without Wieters, 80-56; without Machado, 49-31.

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