Rob Long: The New Oriole Way?
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It seemed like yesterday when fans and sports talk radio hosts (me included) were talking about the lack of off-season moves by the Baltimore Orioles. We were all looking at how other teams were making moves to improve their chances of winning and yet the O’s continued sit still, hoping to rely on guys who hadn’t shown the ability to be everyday players.
Now, things have changed significantly. The Birds have gone out and tested the free agent market and lost draft picks in the process. It all started with the team signing right handed starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to a four-year $50 million deal. Jimenez is a front of the rotation arm that can add stability. Coupled with Chris Tillman, they can form a solid one-two punch and a couple of quality innings eaters.
Think about it O’s fans, now the rotation is set with pitchers who can get the job done just by doing what they’re known to do. You don’t need these guys to have career years. You just need them to do what you’ve grown accustomed to watching them do.
In addition to adding an arm to the roster, the front office has also added a quality bat to a line-up that struggled down the stretch. Nelson Cruz, who served a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal signed a one-year deal with the team for $8 million. Cruz, along with sluggers Chris Davis and Adam Jones could provide for a very potent offensive attack.
The O’s line-up isn’t just about Cruz, Davis and Jones. JJ Hardy has been one of the more productive shortstops in the game and while Matt Wieters has struggled with an anemic batting average lately, you can pencil him in for 20 plus homeruns as well.
It looks like things could get quite interesting in Bird Land in 2014. This team doesn’t appear to be the team that refused to spend money in order to contend. They’ve added some real quality to an already solid roster.