“You’re either rebuilding for something special, or you’re on the verge of something special. To be in between is foolish.”
– Billy Beane
What a brilliant statement and philosophy.
In 2008 and 2009, it could have been argued that Andy MacPhail and the Orioles were rebuilding for something special. Fans pictured a 2011 season during which the O’s would contend for the pennant with a myriad of young, talented players that were going to both grow up and learn how to win together.
Where are they now? What are the Orioles doing at this point in time with regards to Beane’s statement?
Are the Orioles on the verge of something special? They have Hardy, Markakis, Jones, Wieters, Roberts, Reynolds, Reimold, Pie, and Andino signed up for at least the next two seasons. Matusz, Tillman, Bergesen, Britton, and Arrieta are going to be around for a while unless one or more of them are traded in the near future.
A core exists in Baltimore. The core that I just outlined consists of young players with different degrees of talent. Each and every name that I threw out there can have a role on a championship contending team.
However, at this point, it can reasonably be established that the current core of players cannot compete for championships without outside help.
Right now in 2011, the core, to a degree, is what it is. It’s solid, and the pitching will determine if the core becomes “good,” but even a good core will not compete by itself in the AL East.
Unfortunately for the Orioles, there is no legitimate superstar offensive player on the team. And at this point, it doesn’t appear that there is an ace among the current crop of young pitchers.
In order for the Orioles to be on the verge of something special, they are going to need to go out and bring outside, legitimate talent to Baltimore. And quite frankly, MacPhail doesn’t have much time to do so. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the young, cheap core that he has assembled will not be young and cheap forever. They will start to get older, more expensive, and closer to free agency as time goes on.
Putting hypotheticals aside, in their current state, are the Orioles on the verge of something special? I think an overwhelming majority would agree that the O’s are definitely not on the verge of something special.