MLB  > General MLB  > Baltimore Orioles: Hot Stove League Outlook
November 12, 2013, 12:12 PM
The Baltimore Orioles finished the 2013 season with a decent 85-77 record and tied with the Yankees for third place in the AL East. And, like the Yankees, the O???s were in the running for a spot in MLB???s postseason tournament until the second-to-last weekend of the season when Tampa swept them in a four game series to end their playoff pretentions. Using the word pretentions is not an error on my part because, just like the Yankees, I think they were somewhat lucky to even be in the running for a playoff spot that late in the season.

Are they a vastly improved team over their abysmal also-ran seasons of their recent past of not being very good? Yes. After all, for the first time since 1996-1967 they have now finished over .500 two years running.

But, are they really a credible every season playoff contender? Borderline??? in my opinion they ain???t there yet. But they are getting very close. The fact is that winning baseball has returned to Baltimore.

In 2012 the Orioles had a lot of breaks go their way as indicated by their 2012 record in one run games (29-9, .763) and extra innings (16-2, .889) versus their record in both categories respectively in 2013 (20-31, .385 and 8-7, .533). Many folks, myself included, said that there was no way the O???s would be as good in 2013 in those categories as they were in 2012 but I doubt many folks, myself included, thought they would be as bad as they were in those one run games as they actually were in 2014. So, the fact that they were in contention until the final weeks of the season, especially with the extreme turnabout in those one run and extra-inning games, caught many of us naysayers a little by surprise??? it wasn???t a total shock but, yes, it did indicate that the Orioles
Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette

Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette

might actually be a team who can compete in the AL East and consistently be in the playoff mix.

And, what that means is that they are a team with a good base, with center fielder Adam Jones, first baseman Chris Davis and starter Chris Tillman, which needs some help to take the next step. The question is: Will GM Dan Duquette be allowed to take the initiative to make some offseason moves that he didn???t do in last year???s offseason.

Needs:

So, what are their areas of concern? One, or more, starters, a bat who can hit for average/high OBP, some bench help and depending on what they do with free agents/arbitration-eligible players maybe a second basemen and/or a DH.

Finances:

Financially they have six guaranteed contracts in outfielders Adam Jones ($13 million) and Nick Markakis ($15 million); shortstop J. J. Hardy ($7 million); starting pitchers Wei-Yin Chen ($4.45 million), Dylan Bundy ($1.245 million) and relief pitcher Darren O???Day ($3.6 million) for a total of $44.295 million.


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