More of the same for the Orioles
The 2007 season was yet another losing one -- make it 10 straight and counting now -- for the once-proud Orioles, but maybe, just maybe, there is reason for optimism. By all indications, new club president Andy MacPhail has been given full autonomy to fix things, and that may mean bottoming out and starting from scratch, something the Orioles should have done a few years ago. The roster is full of expensive, limited veterans and MacPhail would like to move a number of them to begin the housecleaning the O's need.
GM: Andy MacPhail
Manager: Dave Trembley
'07 record: 69-93, 4th AL East
'07 payroll: $95.1M, 10th MLB
Runs scored: 756, 9th AL
Runs allowed: 868, 13th AL
OPS: .746, T-9th AL
ERA: 5.17, 13th AL
Fielding percentage: .987, 1st AL
2. There's a desperate need to find a closer to replace the injured Chris Ray, and of course, the rotation, though full of promise, could use some depth.3. More than anything, the lineup could use an honest-to-goodness, prime-of-his-career run producer since most of the Orioles' bats are aging and diminished.
Free agentsC Paul Bako, RHP Kris Benson (option), CF Corey Patterson, RHP Jaret Wright. Of the pending free agents, Patterson is likely the only one the O's will seek to retain. It helps that he played for MacPhail before with the Cubs. If he leaves, there are other big-ticket options (Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones, Mike Cameron), but for a change, the Orioles are sending signals that they don't intend to be bidding for the top-tier free agents. What's more, they don't seem willing to go after some of the overpriced midmarket players that have stung them in recent years (Aubrey Huff, etc.). Expect them, then, to concentrate on bargains, while attempting to deal off some of their dead contractual weight.