Saturday, February 9, 2008
Keep in mind...
When Erik Bedard is racking up 20 wins and pitching the Mariners to the postseason next year, just remember, this trade needed to happen.
Believe me, it's going to be hard to keep it in perspective.
But the Orioles finished no better than 70 wins in the 2 seasons where Bedard flipped the switch on and became a dominant pitcher. And as they stood at the time of the trade, the O's weren't going to be any better with him either.
Things are probably going to get worse, a lot worse, before they get better for the Orioles. But unlike the last few years, with the losing comes a real sense of optimism, that any of the 10 players acquired for Tejada and Bedard thus far, can help the Orioles get on the winning track.
Never before have the Orioles had this many options at pitcher. The O's have had their share of problems in the past, but they've never had this problem. There are probably 12-15 pitchers in the system right now that all project to be impact players in the majors.
Of course, not all of them are going to make it. Hell, I think having 5 of those 15 pan out are about as good as it gets. But let's not forget the importance of competition.
Before, a guy like Bedard or Loewen or Markakis has simply been given the job and told it's theirs to lose. And while a lack of competition may not have hurt any of these players, competition for their position wouldn't have hurt either.
Troy Patton, Matt Albers, Hayden Penn, Garrett Olson, Radhames Liz... all of these guys are gunning for 1, maybe 2 spots in the starting rotation in 2008 and the competition will make them better for it.
And that's what the Orioles needed more than anything, was a system where guys are always on their toes, playing hard, and surrounded by others like them.
We've been prematurely mentioning a return to "the Oriole Way" the last few years, but now I think it can finally be mentioned again.
It's only the beginning. But at least we've begun.