Baltimore Orioles: Cranky New Year’s Eve Thoughts


Oct 11, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones (10) is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two-run home run in the third inning against the Kansas City Royals in game two of the 2014 ALCS playoff at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

Not being much of a party animal ever, I’ve never understood the enthusiasm for New Year’s Eve. Hey, the sun goes down like any other day, and 13 to 14 hours later it will come back up. Big deal.

Yep, that’s the mood I’m in. Add to it that New Year’s Day now means 15 hours of taking inventory in the family business, and I see nothing to celebrate.

Yes, 2014 was a year to celebrate in Orioles history, and I’ll do that in an article tomorrow that looks back on the great moments in a great year. And it is the recognition of the good season that has me ready to rant just a bit today.

The folks at do a great job and have one of the best sites out there for baseball information. And surely the writer meant no harm or disrespect with the following, but it got under my too-sensitive skin I suppose.

In a discussion that listed many, many teams who could possibly have an interest in Ben Zobrist, it was said of the Orioles:

"The O’s have yet to replace either Nick Markakis or Nelson Cruz, and second baseman Jonathan Schoop struggled greatly at the plate as a rookie in 2014. Zobrist could help in a variety of ways as Baltimore looks to keep up with the much-improved Blue Jays and Red Sox."

Two things annoy me about this. First is the endless harangue about “replacing” Markakis and Cruz. I recognize I’ve been going against conventional wisdom with writing that I think this theme is overblown. So, that’s the smaller prick.

The larger irritation is the phrase “to keep up with the much-improved Blue Jays and Red Sox.”

What’s this “keep up with” talk about? The Blue Jays were four games over .500 and 13 games BEHIND the Orioles, whereas the Red Sox were 20 games under .500 and 25 games back of the AL East Champions!

Really? The Orioles need to “keep up” with the Jays and Red Sox?

So, to discuss this a bit, I’ll go to what I believe is another totally overblown modern baseball metric – WAR – wins against replacement. Cruz and Markakis were worth 4.7 and 2.1 WAR in 2014. So, there is a seven-game loss. And I really don’t see the gains of either team mentioned as that incredible to close the gaps.

Even so, the statement is still backwards. It should say rather that “Zobrist could help in a variety of ways as Baltimore looks to maintain their large advantage over the much-improved Blue Jays and Red Sox.”

The proclivity of general baseball writers is to not believe in the sea change that is the Baltimore Orioles of 2012-2014. To them it is a series of “one-year wonders.”  Forget that over that time, only the Oakland A’s have more wins: 278-274. And over that three-year period, the Orioles have won 37 more games than the Red Sox and 44 more than the Blue Jays.

So the Orioles need to struggle to “keep up?”  Really?

All of this comes from a discussion on Ben Zobrist. Now that would be a good acquisition at a good price. He is a terrific ballplayer with skills to play varied positions and would really thrive in the clubhouse in Baltimore. I believe he and Caleb Joseph are great family friends.

Any possibility of a trade with the Padres for OF Seth Smith is now gone, as he has been sent to the Mariners for RHP Brandon Maurer. Smith would have been a decent addition at an appropriate price.

The Colby Rasmus talk continues. Oh please! No! It would be a horrible way to end 2014 or begin 2015. Not having to write about this would be a good New Year’s resolution.

I’ll see you tomorrow with a more cheerful discussion.

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