But now coming into the next month or so
that's left of the season before they go on strike, I can confidently say
I've learned a lot more about this team then just that they are fun to watch.
Unfortunately, every answer leaves us with another question.
But taking a look back at the season thus far, I've learned...
While I certainly have a
hard time looking past the fact that, I think, the Orioles are overachieving, I
was reminded by Hargrove that it's not always bad to have a team full of guys
playing beyond their realistic expectations.
Looking over the roster, there are as many guys not pulling their weight
as there are guys who might be pulling too much.
Considering how badly the teams before them underachieved, I'll take
this any day. Who can we realistically expect to keep playing better than
they ever indicated they could before? Matthews?
Gil? Your guess is as good
Marty Cordova's best
position is without a doubt on the disabled list.
I will not argue this point.
Syd Thrift has one of the
best eye's for unproven talent out there.
However he has shown nothing in terms of bringing a legitimate respected
threat here to help lead this talent. I'm
leery of some of the contracts he's given guys who are role players on good
teams, guys like Conine, Groom, and especially Marty "rally killer" Cordova
are locked in deals that make it hard for us to trade.
If Syd thinks these are guys who are going to be part of our next playoff
team, well then it would be better to see him replaced.
Unfortunately, we're no
closer to knowing who our shortstop and second baseman are for next year.
Brian Roberts has had two chances to unseat Jerry Hairston and has been
unable to do so both times. One of
them isn't long for Baltimore, but which one?
As for short, Mike Bordick's deal is up after this year and I quiver at
the thought of bringing him back when he's obviously washed up.
A sleeper pick would be Ed Rogers, who, could easily hit what Bordick is
hitting in the big leagues. The
difference is his fielding, which would be far and away better than the biggest
overachiever in the history of baseball (that's a compliment btw). And despite his three extra birthdays from the offseason, he
is still young.
The Orioles are proving
you can never, ever have enough pitching. The
Cardinals, thought to have a surplus of starters, are a perfect example.
So too, are the Orioles, who banking on young pitching to get them over
the top in the future, have seen how arm injuries and bad luck can turn up at
most inopportune times. Having good
young pitching is easily the best way to get back into contention, but to expect
that young pitching to deliver before they ever do is a risky proposition.
They say that if you have 10 good minor league arms, you can expect two
of them to be productive major leaguers. Just
remember, Forney, Klingenbeck, Eshelman, Sackinsky, and Haynes from the mid
Lastly, I believe the
core of this team is solid. There
are some guys who might be able to be part of Oriole teams that see the good
side of .500 again. But this team
is still a long way away. Before
they're even considered a playoff team they need a legitimate shortstop,
another power hitter, and a front of the rotation starter.
We all know who the closer is, and while not preferable, we've seen
it's possible to get by with Melvin Mora hitting leadoff.
They are almost there personnel wise, though it's usually better to
have the main stars on the team first so you can look for the right
complimentary players afterwards, instead of vice-versa like the Orioles have
done. There are certainly
opportunities to improve themselves, but will Syd really do it?
I'm not sure how confident I am in that happening.
A good start for him though would be to trade, trade, trade!
(Steve and Bert would like to welcome another fine reporter to the
Raven Insider Family. John Domen is Associate Editor of The Orioles Hangout. His
articles can be read at http://www.orioleshangout.com You can also chat and ask
John questions on our Orioles board, or email him: firstname.lastname@example.org)