It has been a very fun(and very odd)season. For the Baltimore Orioles, it has been very odd, but not so fun. Actually, not so fun at all. This team has:
-Given Up 30 Runs In One Game(To the Texas Rangers, May I Add)
-Got No-Hit By A Rookie In His 2nd Big League Start
-Gave Up A Lead To...You Ready For This....The Devil Rays To Lose A Heartbreaker
These are just 3 examples of the horrible season. Almost everything has gone wrong for this team. And it doesn't help that they play in the A.L.(the A.L. East, no less). This once proud franchise has become not A laughing stock, but THE laughing stock. Lets break open this treasure chest of mediocrity:
Pitching- When you look at the pitching on paper, it actually looks like it could be pretty solid. With young guns(Daniel Cabrera, Jeremy Guthrie, and Adam Loewen) and with some experienced vets(Kris Benson, Jaret Wright, and Erik Bedard), the pitching looks like it could possibly hold up with the Yanks and the Sox. But, it has not worked out that great. While you do have the young sensation Guthrie and the scary good ace Bedard(who leads the Major Leagues in Ks) the rest has not been too good. 3 out of the 6 pitchers are on the D.L.(Benson, Wright, and Loewen). And then you have Daniel Cabrera, who could be the most inconsistent pitcher in all of baseball. One start, he is throwing like Nolan Ryan on steriods. The very next start, he is throwing pitches either in the upper deck or embedding them in the ground 2 feet in front of the pitcher's mound. It's too bad because he has tons of talent. He just can't get it under control. There are times where he looks like Johan Santana as a righty only with more speed. Then they're times where he looks like he is pitching ON speed.
Batting- This team's offense is as unpredictable as Ozzie Guillen's hissy fits. It's a very weird offense. First, you have Ramon Hernandez who has been injuried most of the time. And when he is actually playing, he is hitting a not-so-good .241. That is not good at all, add that fact that Paul Bako is the back-up catcher. That duo ain't gonna get it done. You have Jay Gibbons, whos career continues to do down the drain. When you look at his stats, you would think he was Julio Franco. Only....he's not. When he first came up, I really liked him. Thought he was gonna be a really solid player for a long time. But he just hasn't done much at all. Except disappoint. Melvin Mora is looking more and more like a back-up after every game. He is 35, only hitting .262 with only 13 HRs. Those are not 3B #s. He ain't what he used to be. Miguel Tejada is having a very good year(even if his power #s keep diving down). But his consecutive games streak ended this year with a HBP. At least that was something interesting and note-worthy.
Then you have all the other vetarens hitters on this team(Aubrey Huff, Kevin Millar, Jay Payton, Corey Patterson, and Tike Redman). These guys are all OK, but that is not good enough by any means. These are not guys you build around. They have never been, so why would they be know. With the explosive line-ups of the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays(sometimes), even the Devil Rays, this team doesn't scare you. It has basically no firepower and no big weapon. Now don't get me wrong, not everything about the offense is terrible. Brian Roberts is the most underrated 2B in baseball and he is a great switch-hitting spark plug. And OF Nick Markakis is looking like he will be a young cornerstone for a long time to come for this franchise.
Bullpen- This is the area to focus on. During the offseason, this was the biggest focus for this team. They needed to improve the bullpen. They robbed the bank for these guys:Jamie Walker- $11.5 million, 3 years= Overused
REC 1-2 | SV 4 | ERA 2.82 | WHIP 1.27
Chad Bradford- $10.5 million, 3 years= Not as good as last year, but still good.
REC 2-6 | SV 1 | ERA 3.67 | WHIP 1.46
Danny Baez- $19 million, 3 years= A total bust
REC 0-5 | SV 3 | ERA 6.46 | WHIP 1.54
Scott Williamson- $900,000, 1 year= He ain't even on the team anymore
REC 1-0 | SV 0 | ERA 4.40 | WHIP 1.40
Overall, these guys and some others had a overall bill of $42 million. The result? Well...lets me just say this: in the 30-3 implosion/meltdown of the Orioles, the bullpen gave up 24 runs. 24 RUNS!!!!! They're paying these guys a combined total of $42 million to give up 24 runs in 1 game. Add the fact that Chris Ray has had a ugly year for a closer and is also on the D.L., and the bullpen is not that much better. More expensive, not much better.
These team has lost in every way possible this year. What do they need? Well...
1. Dump The Old Guys- I'm talking about the position players.It seems to me this franchise has a pretty good farm system. So dump the old guys and start grooming the young studs. Start with a fresh and exciting look. This team has not had a breath of fresh air in a LONG time.
2. Get Dependable Pitching- Since more then half of the starting pitching is on the D.L., they ain't that dependable. One thing that gets lost in the shuffle is the Kris Benson for Jorge Julio and John Maine trade for the Mets. I't hard to believe that Jorge Julio was the main piece of that trade. It looked like a great trade for the Orioles. Now, it is one of the worst trades of the last 5 years. Jorge Julio has been with 3 teams after leaving the Mets but John Maine is becoming an ace. And when you think about it, it was good for the Mets to get Julio because they ended up trading him for El Duque. so everything worked out for them. The only thing the Orioles got was...well....Anna Benson.
The Bullpen?- Really, what else can you do? Give them credit. At least they tried to fix their biggest weakness. This organization tried to catapult this team back into contention with fixing it's biggest need. Too bad the the ball of fire landed on them. There is really nothing else you can do except maybe go for another closer. But do you wanna give up on Chris Ray yet?
Once again, this team has had one of the worst years in the franchise's history. They have alot of problems to fix. Better start now. Because the division ain't getting any easier. I'm done.