PDA

View Full Version : Spring Training Preview 3/09/05: Baltimore Orioles


Jjav829
03-09-2005, 10:55 PM
Baltimore Orioles

Key offseason additions:
OF Sammy Sosa
RP Steve Kline
RP Steve Reed

Key offseason losses:
2B/OF Jerry Hairston Jr.

General Outlook:
Not a very good offseason for the Orioles. They needed pitching and they didn't get any. The signing of Kline was a nice move, but they needed a lot more. They failed to improve a pitching staff that needed an established front-line pitcher. They made a strong effort for Delgado, though lost out on him to the Marlins. So what did they do? They traded for Sammy Sosa. And why not? They're not going anywhere this year. So they added a guy who can possibly draw a few more fans and will improve their offense. He only has one more year left. They'll have a very good offense, but it won't mean much barring some drastic improvement from several of their starters.


Possible starting lineup:
2B Brian Robers
3B Melvin Mora
SS Miguel Tejada
OF Sammy Sosa
C Javy Lopez
DH Rafael Palmeiro
1B Jay Gibbons
LF Larry Bigbie
CF Luis Matos


Their 1-2-3-4 could be one of the best in baseball. Could be. Except I'm sure they'll bat Sosa 4th to cater to his ego, rather than batting the more deserving Javy Lopez there. They should probably bat Palmeiro 5th just to break up the righties. But because they'd never drop Sosa down to where he belongs, the 6 hole, their lineup will likely look like this. Newhan could start in left, though Bigbie's age will likely give him the advantage. They're going to have a powerful lineup. They'll give opposing pitchers nightmares on some nights and they're definitely going to need it. It's not going to mean much, however, because their pitching won't help them compete against teams like the Yankees and Red Sox.

Possibly starting pitching rotation:
Sidney Ponson
Rodrigo Lopez
Erik Bedard
Daniel Cabrera
Bruce Chen

Unspectacular, huh? That's what happens when you fail to land a good starting pitcher. They made plays for Hudson, Mulder, Vazquez, and others, but they couldn't get one of them. So they're stuck with Sir Sidney leading the way for a group of youngsters. The good news is that there is some upside for several of these guys. Lopez had a very good year last year. Is he going to only pitch well in even numbered years? They better hope not. Ponson last year was simply bad. Was he trying to justify his big contract? Did he want an ERA that made his weight look small in comparison? Who knows. If he pitches like he's being payed, they'll at least be able to take a little pressure off their offense. Instead of needing 8 runs to win, maybe they'll only need 7. I do think Bedard will be OK. Still, about the only thing they can hope for out of this unit is to see the young pitchers get some experience and hopefully improve. I'm not sure how long Bruce Chen will stay in the rotation. I would think that they would want to give Kurt Ainsworth a shot. Apparently they don't feel the same way and are prepared to make him a reliever. On the bright side, their bullpen should be solid with Ryan, Kline and Grimsley helping to finish things out. Throw in a Jorge Julio, a Steve Reed, and whatever young pitcher they kick to the pen and they should be OK out there.

Overall Prediction:
3rd place; 75- 87

Player that will surprise:
1B Jay Gibbons - I expected more out of him last year, though he ended up getting hurt. Maybe I'm falling into the same trap this year, but I think he'll put up nice numbers. I can see 25/80 out of him if he stay on the field, which isn't bad for a 7th place hitter.

Player that will disappoint:
3B Melvin Mora - Is Melvin Mora really a 27/104 guy with a .981 OPS? I certainly don't think so. I can see his avg/obp staying up, but at the age of 33, 2004 screams career year to me. 20/85 with a .915 OPS seems more realistic to me, but who knows, maybe he'll prove me wrong. Still a good year, just not quite the 2004 performance he had.

Thoughts?

OEO Magglio
03-09-2005, 11:04 PM
Baltimore Orioles

Key offseason additions:
OF Sammy Sosa
RP Steve Kline
RP Steve Reed

Key offseason losses:
2B/OF Jerry Hairston Jr.

General Outlook:
Not a very good offseason for the Orioles. They needed pitching and they didn't get any. The signing of Kline was a nice move, but they needed a lot more. They failed to improve a pitching staff that needed an established front-line pitcher. They made a strong effort for Delgado, though lost out on him to the Marlins. So what did they do? They traded for Sammy Sosa. And why not? They're not going anywhere this year. So they added a guy who can possibly draw a few more fans and will improve their offense. He only has one more year left. They'll have a very good offense, but it won't mean much barring some drastic improvement from several of their starters.


Possible starting lineup:
2B Brian Robers
3B Melvin Mora
SS Miguel Tejada
OF Sammy Sosa
C Javy Lopez
DH Rafael Palmeiro
1B Jay Gibbons
LF Larry Bigbie
CF Luis Matos


Their 1-2-3-4 could be one of the best in baseball. Could be. Except I'm sure they'll bat Sosa 4th to cater to his ego, rather than batting the more deserving Javy Lopez there. They should probably bat Palmeiro 5th just to break up the righties. But because they'd never drop Sosa down to where he belongs, the 6 hole, their lineup will likely look like this. Newhan could start in left, though Bigbie's age will likely give him the advantage. They're going to have a powerful lineup. They'll give opposing pitchers nightmares on some nights and they're definitely going to need it. It's not going to mean much, however, because their pitching won't help them compete against teams like the Yankees and Red Sox.

Possibly starting pitching rotation:
Sidney Ponson
Rodrigo Lopez
Erik Bedard
Daniel Cabrera
Bruce Chen

Unspectacular, huh? That's what happens when you fail to land a good starting pitcher. They made plays for Hudson, Mulder, Vazquez, and others, but they couldn't get one of them. So they're stuck with Sir Sidney leading the way for a group of youngsters. The good news is that there is some upside for several of these guys. Lopez had a very good year last year. Is he going to only pitch well in even numbered years? They better hope not. Ponson last year was simply bad. Was he trying to justify his big contract? Did he want an ERA that made his weight look small in comparison? Who knows. If he pitches like he's being payed, they'll at least be able to take a little pressure off their offense. Instead of needing 8 runs to win, maybe they'll only need 7. I do think Bedard will be OK. Still, about the only thing they can hope for out of this unit is to see the young pitchers get some experience and hopefully improve. I'm not sure how long Bruce Chen will stay in the rotation. I would think that they would want to give Kurt Ainsworth a shot. Apparently they don't feel the same way and are prepared to make him a reliever. On the bright side, their bullpen should be solid with Ryan, Kline and Grimsley helping to finish things out. Throw in a Jorge Julio, a Steve Reed, and whatever young pitcher they kick to the pen and they should be OK out there.

Overall Prediction:
3rd place; 75- 87

Player that will surprise:
1B Jay Gibbons - I expected more out of him last year, though he ended up getting hurt. Maybe I'm falling into the same trap this year, but I think he'll put up nice numbers. I can see 25/80 out of him if he stay on the field, which isn't bad for a 7th place hitter.

Player that will disappoint:
3B Melvin Mora - Is Melvin Mora really a 27/104 guy with a .981 OPS? I certainly don't think so. I can see his avg/obp staying up, but at the age of 33, 2004 screams career year to me. 20/85 with a .915 OPS seems more realistic to me, but who knows, maybe he'll prove me wrong. Still a good year, just not quite the 2004 performance he had.

Thoughts?
I agree with you about Gibbons, I think he's going to have a pretty solid year and I also believe Mora will still be a damn solid player but like you said no way does he post a .981 ops again. Anyways, I think Baltimore finishes in the cellar this year, I think Tampa and Toronto have better overall teams, jmo.

samram
03-09-2005, 11:16 PM
Offensively, they should be pretty good. They have to be hating that Ponson contract right now- he's got Jamie Navarro written all over him. I do like Lopez and Cabrera and I agree Ainsworth will get a look. I recall Bruce Chen being the next big thing in Atlanta about six years ago. It's all for naught anyway since they're playing for third.

Jjav829
03-09-2005, 11:18 PM
I agree with you about Gibbons, I think he's going to have a pretty solid year and I also believe Mora will still be a damn solid player but like you said no way does he post a .981 ops again. Anyways, I think Baltimore finishes in the cellar this year, I think Tampa and Toronto have better overall teams, jmo.

I think their offense alone carries them to 3rd place. Neither Tampa nor Toronto is all that good. I think the 2005 Orioles will be similar to previous versions of the White Sox. One of the better offense around, though inconsistent and lacking the pitching needed. Of course it's going to be a lesser version of the Sox as they have to face the Yankees and Red Sox a combined 36 times a year. I still think their offense is enough to push them ahead of the Blue Jays and Devil Rays.

balke
03-09-2005, 11:28 PM
Gibbons doesn't have quite the BA. you want, but I saw him make a play last season during the rain delay double header that was simply amazing, and I've loved him ever since.

Didn't Kline get like arthritis in his finger during the playoffs last season? I loved him going into the end of the season, but that's not something I'd want coming out of the bullpen. Mora and Roberts at the top of the order with Tejada behind them gets me all tingly inside, that'll produce a lot of runs.

yeah, they're gonna suck. I think Lou might coach the D-rays past them this season.

PAPChiSox729
03-10-2005, 06:16 PM
Pretty good analysis. I think they will finish third in that division. That lineup is very, very good. There is only thing I have to disagree with you on. Melvin Mora is that good. He may become one of, if not the, best 3B in the AL (no disrespect to Joe). Other then that, right on once again.

Foulke You
03-10-2005, 06:35 PM
I see the Orioles losing a lot of games 12-9, 10-7, etc. They are going to score runs, yes, but I don't see them finishing anything higher than 4th place in that division. I happen to think the Blue Jays will finish higher than them. The Jays have Halladay and Lilly as their front 2 in the rotation and I'll take any of those guys over any of the 5 Orioles starters. Plus, I felt the Jays underachieved last year. If Schoneweis stays healthy for the Jays, he is good for 10 wins too.

Back to Baltimore...I see Sosa being a disaster, he is going to pretty much be a full time DH while spending some time on the DL and being a clubhouse cancer. Being full time DH won't allow them to rest Palmiero's aging legs as a DH unless they want to risk putting Sosa in RF where we all know he is brutal defensively. They'll be lucky if they get 25-30HRs out of Sosa, in my opinion. Palmiero is over the hill and is coming off a sub par year (for him). Palmiero and Sosa are two big keys to their offense and they are both old and creaky. If Sosa and Palmiero don't produce, it is going to be a long year for the O's.