About a month ago, as you walked through the Baltimore Orioles clubhouse, it just seemed that something wasn’t right. No, there wasn’t descension or anything but something was “off” a little. I talked about it on air and stated that I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it just had a different feel.
Instantly, fans pointed to losing Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis and Andrew Miller. Sure, statistically you miss those guys but there was something beyond stats. You’ll feel the effects of losing a player who hit 40 home runs unless you replace him with another 40 home run guy but the O’s did not do that.
I think the team was/is missing something that goes beyond the box score. True, maybe guys like Cruz and Markakis were part of the culture that’s lost but those guys aren’t coming back through that door. Maybe some of the 10 pending free agents were playing more for contracts and less for a pennant. All I know is Alejandro De Aza and Evereth Cabrera were designated for assignment shortly before Matt Wieters returned from Tommy John surgery and this team started playing with a little bounce in their steps.
Were De Aza and Cabrera problems in the club house? No, I’m not suggesting that but I am saying chemistry is very important in sports. Maybe it just wasn’t there. Maybe the addition of Wieters adds to the incredible chemistry that we’ve seen from this ball club over the past four years. It sure doesn’t hurt adding a three time All-Star and two time Gold Glove catcher to your line-up. Matt is a guy who knows the heartbeat of this team because he has been part of it in the past. Sometimes you just need a spark and perhaps Wieters can add that.
Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com wrote that the club will purchase the contract of Nolan Reimold on Tuesday. Now I’ve gone on record saying in the past that was a move I am not crazy about. I believe Reimold is a very talented player. As far as right handed batters go, there aren’t many who go from home to first faster, but the guy just can’t stay healthy. At the same time, I can certainly understand the club’s decision to add a player who can, again, provide a spark to a struggling offense.
The American League East doesn’t appear to be among the top divisions in baseball but as we saw last year with the Orioles, all it takes is for a team to go on a run. The O’s are trying be that team just as seemingly every other team in the division is getting hot. With 12 out of their next 16 games being against the A.L. East, this is a great time to make a move.