Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Patience is the key

2008 is going to be a lesson in one thing and one thing only... patience.

The Orioles are about to break camp with their 25-man roster and as it stands, there are only a half dozen players on the roster who have any chance to be key players for the Orioles in the future.

They are... Nick Markakis (24), Adam Jones (22), Adam Loewen (24), Jeremy Guthrie (29) Scott Moore (24), and Daniel Cabrera (27).

Yeah, players like Randor Bierd (24), Brian Burres (27), and Guillermo Quiroz (26) are still relatively young, but they'll have to buck some serious trends to become anything resembling the future of the Baltimore Orioles.

The rest of the roster will be filled out with a bunch guys on the wrong side of 30. Brian Roberts should and probably will be traded at some point between now and the trade deadline so he doesn't count, and then there are decent guys like Luke Scott and George Sherrill who are right at the 30 year-old line. They could go either way.

So basically, 2008 comes down to watching the above named six players who are under 30.

Of course there are chances for prospects like Garrett Olson, Hayden Penn, Radhames Liz and Nolam Reimold to make a name for themselves in 2008, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

We're still going to be forced to watch like likes of Jay Payton, Melvin Mora, Kevin Millar (our clean-up hitter), Aubrey Huff and Jay Gibbons collect more meaningless at-bats than they deserve, while the future of the Orioles hangs in the balance.

No, I didn't expect Andy MacPhail to dive head first into a massive rebuilding plan. That became evident when he was content to let the Erik Bedard trade drag out a full two more weeks than necessary.

I do believe his patient approach is something that will pay off in the long run, but as much as we tell ourselves to be patient, it's still hard to swallow the notion that 2/3 of the roster on Opening Day will be filled with fodder that most likely won't be here in 3 years.

What the Orioles need to do, starting now, is be efficient -- shedding the dead/expensive weight from the roster and replacing them with players from the minor leagues who are ready. If Steve Trachsel is struggling, call up Olson, Penn or Liz sooner rather than later.

If Reimold is ready, release Gibbons, move Luke Scott to DH and trade Millar or Huff.

We've got players knocking on the door. Don't ignore them to watch another re-run of Everybody Loves Raymond.

And while 2008 will start with the tedious act of watching these same old players another year, at least... no, FINALLY... there is the chance to have some actual youth and potential on the team by season's end.

So while you must be patient on Opening Day, just remember, that if all goes well, the Orioles roster should look much different by the trade deadline, as well as the end of the season.

That said, play ball!

It's Opening Day.

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