What Do Orioles Need To Do To Sustain 2012 Success?
Throughout the week, PressBox baseball writers will be sharing their thoughts on what the Orioles need to do to sustain their 2012 success for 2013 and beyond.
• Jim Henneman: Could (And Should) The Orioles Trade For James Shields?
By Matt Palmer
The Orioles showed in 2012 that a little tweaking can make a big difference. The Birds are a club that is still developing and has some holes to fill, but this is a club that has something that is nearly impossible to get in the market: chemistry.
I'm not advocating for the Orioles to sit on their hands and do nothing during the offseason. What I am saying is that the difference between a World Series team and one sitting at home in mid-October is small. The Tigers might have won the American League Central, but they had the worst record among all American League postseason teams.
There was a stretch when it seemed only the Yankees or Red Sox could make the postseason in the AL East, but the Rays and now the Orioles are showing it's doable.
After sweeping the Yankees, the Tigers have spent the last several days waiting for the winner of the National League Championship Series. The Tigers have been active in the free-agent market during recent years. The Yankees, meanwhile, have the highest payroll in baseball and were embarrassed by Detroit.
The Orioles now know they have their third baseman of the future in Manny Machado, but still have questions about first base. The Orioles never appropriately answered the question during last offseason and shoehorned Mark Reynolds there after he failed at third again. He flourished at first, but his bat was rarely reliable from one week to the next. Manager Buck Showalter needs a long-term answer at first and in the lineup. Reynolds' team option is too much money, so if he returns, it should be at a reduced rate or if the team finds a sustainable replacement in the market.
The Orioles can be a major player with a top-line starting pitcher. Although the Nationals didn't make it any further than the O's during the postseason, Washington was there by virtue of its outstanding pitching staff. Had ace Stephen Strasburg been in the rotation, it stands to reason the Nationals might be in the World Series against the Tigers. The Orioles need a reliable ace, and if the Birds want to maintain their level of success, they'll need to move aggressively this offseason to make it happen.
Aces make all the difference.
Posted Oct. 23, 2012