Friday, January 7, 2011
These are your 2011 Orioles...
With this week's signings of Derek Lee and Kevin Gregg, you could say that the Orioles are finished significantly upgrading the team for the 2011 season. As it is now, the 25-man roster looks like...
So how do you feel about that team?
I can get excited about that team. But at the same time, I am as skeptical as I am excited.
The pitching turned it on during the last two and a half months of the 2010 season and the offense looks to be much improved with the additions of Mark Reynolds, Derek Lee and JJ Hardy. So predicting a .500 finish in 2011 is not crazy talk.
But every offseason, O's fans find themselves looking over the roster and saying the same semi-optimistic things, only to be proven wrong by June. So is this team any different from those disappointing teams from the last 13 years?
Yes and no.
For the first time in many years, the Orioles enter the season with a line-up that boasts some real power in the middle of the order. But each of the new additions in Reynolds, Lee and Hardy come with their own risks. I am sure each of them will have their own struggles in 2011 but overall they should give the Orioles the power surge they've lacked over the last few years.
The key to a successful 2011 season still lies with the pitching. Yeah, the rotation pitched extremely well at the end of the season last year, but can they maintain that level for an entire season against the best division in baseball?
Did Buck Showalter make *that* much of an impact last year when the Orioles were the second best team in the AL with Showalter as the skipper?
That's why I'm not ready to pencil this team in for 80 wins next season. I just don't believe that this team is capable of sustaining that kind of play over a 162 game season.
Guys like Wieters, Jones, Matusz, Arrieta and Tillman *should* take that giant step forward this year, but every time we as O's fans say that, players usually end up taking a step backward.
And that's the kind of team Andy MacPhail has assembled...again. A team full of promising players with risks. He's still hoping, as are fans, that the planets can align and more goes right than wrong over the course of a season.
The problem is, Andy's only been here for a little over 3 years. So for him, it's worth one more try. But us O's fans have been hoping and praying that the duct tape will hold for an entire 162 game season.
And until now, it never has.
Maybe the duct tape reference wasn't fair. This year Andy's used duct tape *and* super glue.
Here's to hoping it holds up.