Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Winter Ahead

Christmas is right around the corner and the Winter Meetings are behind us and might I say that the Winter Meetings were very good to the Orioles. Andy MacPhail had seen Adam Dunn and Victor Martinez had spurned the Orioles; Paul Konerko had made his intentions clear and many fans were sharpening their pitchforks nand loading various implements of destruction into a red VW micro-bus - MacPhail needed to make a splash.

Andy MacPhail pulled off trades for third-baseman Mark Reynolds, Short stop J.J. Hardy and he re-signed Closer Koji Uehara. MacPhail was able to significantly upgrade the entire left-side of the infield and wrap up Koji to a deal that is cheaper than what he would've gotten if he was offered arbitration. All of this was accomplished giving up only one legitimate major leaguer in David Hernandez. Now, I will miss David Hernandez, but these deals were all very solid.

Then the news came that the Boston Red Sox signed former Rays Left Fielder Carl Crawford to a mind-boggling contract. All of the sudden the solid moves the Orioles made seem to pale in comparison. Here is Andy MacPhail making smart, sound baseball decisions but they seem all for nothing when all another team has to do is write a check. It doesn't diminish the intelligence or positive impact on the team, but many Orioles fans are coming back down to Earth. Looking at a lineup that has both Adrian Gonzalez and Crawford batting in it; a lineup that it feels like the Birds will see 200 times next year makes Mark Reynolds feel more like Melvin Mora.

It shouldn't though. Yes, Reynolds will strike out a ton, but he is also the first legitimate 30 homerun threat the Orioles have had in awhile. J.J. Hardy is a huge upgrade offensively over Izturis, whom the Orioles re-signed in a utility role, and the Orioles have made headway in the search for a first-baseman as well. Rumblings have the Orioles targeting Adam LaRoche with Derrek Lee in reserve. To me LaRoche seems like the player most likely to come here; he should put up consistent, if un-spectacular, numbers and being a significant upgrade over the 2010 model.

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