Happy Holidays Birdland.
The snow is still blanketing the greater Baltimore Mtreo-plex and I have received the early girft of a nice long X-Mas vacation from Santa, or Father Christmas, or whomever you choose to think gives gifts at times like this. Myself, I celebrate Christmas and the twiggy tree in my den right now has neatly and tastefully wrapped presents resting beneath it, but what is under the Orioles fan's tree this year? Let's take a peek and see what is there.
The first box is a long heavy box propped against the wall, is it that Red Ryder BB Gun? No, you'll shoot your eye out kid - why it's TWO BATS! Homerun bats to be precise for Matt Wieters and Nick Markakis. Starting in April they will need these bats because without them the Orioles will be in real trouble. I know that O's fans out there had Alex Gonzalez sugarplums dancing in their heads but you can't get everything you wish for and A-Gon is just too expensive. Besides, if Markakis and Wieters use these shiny new homerun bats (obviously felled by a strike of lightning) then they will gladly fill in for a lack of A-Gon and be the "big-bat" that Andy MacPhail wants so badly.
This next box feels like clothes - ugh. Opening it you see a brand new Orioles Jersey! The name on the back: "TOP OF THE ROTATION STARTER". But who is it for? Well, no one knows yet. Maybe Kevin Millwood steps into that role, Guthrie is the elder statesman of the rotation and is capable of much more than last year's debacle. Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz arguably have the best "stuff" and "potential" to fill that jersey though Brad Bergesen was the best pitcher last year before his injury. With John Lackey and Rich Harden off the market there are no clear "TOR" starters out there through FA anymore so the four top candidates will have to settle it out over the course of the spring. Don't let the fact that Millwood will probably get the ball on day one fool you Orioles fan - Tillman or Matusz will be wearing that Jersey by the end of July.