The Baltimore Orioles made the playoffs in 2012. That was the first time the franchise had achieved postseason success in 15 years.
Hell, that was the first winning season that they had since 1997.
The town was going nuts and Orioles baseball was back.
Then the offseason hit.
A lot of fans–and experts–expected Baltimore to capitalize on their winning season and make a big splash in either free agency, or by making a blockbuster deal.
That did not happen.
Reluctant to pursue Josh Hamilton or Zack Greinke, the Birds didn’t move the needle with a big signing. Unwilling to trade top prospects Dylan Bundy, Manny Machado and Kevin Gausman, GM Dan Duquette played it safe and chose to continue his philosophy of building from within.
Because of the fact they didn’t make a major move, the Orioles have been dubbed one of the most disappointing teams in baseball during the offseason.
ESPN has been ripping them pretty good. Columnist David Schoenfield gave them an F grade for their lack of work.
However, I will try to be a calming voice.
Even though the headline grabbing transactions weren’t there, I still see plenty of talent on the roster.
And in the dugout.
Manager Buck Showalter is one of the best in the game. End of story.
In Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis, J.J. Hardy and Chris Davis, Baltimore features some All-Star caliber talent.
Manny Machado is a star on the rise.
Led by closer Jim Johnson, the bullpen still looks to be one of the best in the majors.
The Orioles had a lot of things work for them in 2012.
They were 29-9 in one-run games and were 16-2 in extra-inning affairs. Expecting those numbers to be duplicated, I think, are a little unrealistic.
However, that doesn’t mean this squad will not find other ways to get it done on the field and in the standings.
There are still plenty of questions surrounding the 2013 Baltimore Orioles and we will address all of them over the next two months.
I believe the 2012 Orioles were not a lucky team, they were a good team.
Most of that team returns to Camden Yards on April 5th.
Buckle up Orioles fans, I expect another fun ride.