2010 Baltimore Orioles Baseball Preview
Despite reports to the contrary from the Baltimore Orioles (64- 98), this team has not been improving one whit, at least not in terms of wins and loses. But 2010 could signal a change in status for this club. Last season, the Orioles finished in fifth place in the American League East, 39 games out of first and 31 out of the wild card. The plan is to buy bats and grow arms on the farm, but is it working?
As far as starters go, the best of the best for the Birds was Jeremy Guthrie (10- 17, 5.04 ERA, 110 SO) who was 8-6 in quality starts. Former Texas starter Kevin Millwood (13-10, 3.67 ERA, 123 SO) comes to the team in a winter trade. He becomes their primary starter. Millwood is a workhorse and it’s hoped that he can take some pressure off the pen and the younger starters. Last year, Brad Bergesen (7-5, 3.43 ERA, 65 SO) was putting in a solid rookie season when a leg in jury took him out of the game. Lefty Brian Matusz (5-2, 4.63 ERA, 38 SO) didn’t see enough time to negate his rookie status. He’s got talent and could contribute. Righty Chris Tillman (2-5, 5.40 ERA, 39 SO), who started a dozen games last season, might get the nod as low man in the rotation.
The new closer looks to be former Brave Mike Gonzalez (5-4, 2.42 ERA, 10 SV, 90 SO). Gonzalez spent time as the set up man and closer for Atlanta. He’s a keen K artist. Look for Jim Johnson (4-6. 4.11 ERA, 10 SV, 49 SO) to move from closer by default to set up guy, a position with which he is more comfortable. Koji Uehara (2-4, 4.05 ERA, 48 SO) will move from starter to bullpen. The pen is refurbished and in better shape than it was last season.
Second baseman Brian Roberts (.283 BA, 16 HR, 79 RBI) is a fine leadoff hitter. Last season, he stole 30 bases and scored 110 runs. Nick Markakis (.293 BA, 18 HR, 101 RBI), in right field, offers a good bat but newly acquired third baseman Garrett Atkins (.226 BA, 9 HR, 48 RBI), late of Colorado, has seen his numbers decline over the past few years. He’s expected to bat fourth. He’ll need to pick it up. Backstop Matt Wieters (.288 BA, 9 HR, 43 RBI) was hugely productive late in the season and looks to be a premier player. The DH spot is sketchy. It may go to Luke Scott (.258 BA, 25 HR, 77 RBI).
Manager Dave Trembley saw his players make a lot of basic mistakes last season and the word was that he wasn’t tough enough. He’ll have to pick it up a notch to keep his job. President of Baseball Operations Andy McPhail is calling the shots and that’s a good thing.
The Orioles have made some decent additions and some questionable ones. The team is creating a foundation of young players that could make this a hallmark team, but it won’t happen this year. It will be a huge improvement if they can reach .500 this season and continue to build for the future.
For more info on the Orioles check out the MLB official page for Baltimore baseball.