In 2011 the Orioles had another disappointing high 90 lost last place finish where they looked like they had a pretty decent team going into 2011, that was at least going to be able to score a lot of runs with a good young pitching staff, but where they got very little from Vlad Guerrero and Derek Lee their top two free agent signings from 2011. They got very little from the 1B and DH, two hitters in the Middle of their Lineup.
RF Nick Markakis had another off-year. 3B Mark Reynolds was a good surprise leading the club in HR and RBI. SS JD Hardy had a big year both defensively and at the plate. C Chad Wieters had another solid season at the plate and catching, making the All Star team. And is probably the best all around C at least in the American League right now. But starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie who was solid, but got very little run support.
Brian Matusz had a down year and took a step back. Zack Britton was up and down like a lot of young starting pitchers. The Orioles bullpen was inconsistent, sometimes very good and then they could be bad as well. In 2012 for the Orioles to compete in the AL East probably the best Division in MLB, they need to pick up an all around 1B both offensively and defensively. They need a new full-time DH and then they can replace both Guerrero and Lee.
Nick Markakis has to bounce back and they probably need another starting and relief pitcher for them to be able to compete in the AL East and play for a 500 or Winning Season. After 14 straight Losing Seasons and a lot of these free agents are either gone or out of reach and they haven’t filled most of their holes yet and they don’t have the people down on the farm that can fill these holes at least in 2012.
So you’re looking at making some last-minute trades, without giving up too much of what you already have. And I don’t see that happening, so unless something big happens, the 2012 Baltimore Orioles are looking at another down year. Where they struggle just to get to the 70 win mark. Which won’t make any Orioles fans happy, I’m being one of them.
When you have a good young club and you’re just a few pieces away from being a winner and a serious competitor and you know you just have to fill a few holes to make that happen and you can become winners again.
For the first time since 1997, you have to be aggressive and be aggressive early on. To let other clubs know you’re going to compete to be good. And potential players that you’re interested in that you’re serious. So they will want to play for you and the Orioles haven’t been doing that for a long time.