Key word for the Orioles in 2013? Same one as 2012…”luck”

February 13, 2013 | Drew Forrester

My first baseball blog of 2013.

And it’s February 13.

Then again, there’s not really been any legitimate reason to write about the Orioles since January 1.  First, the football team kept us all in constant contact with Purple Fever, which made writing and opining about anything BUT the Ravens a waste of time.  And, obviously, the Orioles haven’t done anything worth commenting on…unless you count the signing of a broken-down Jair Jurrjens as a move deserving of evaluation.  I didn’t.

But, with pitchers and catchers reporting on Tuesday and the rest of the players showing up by Friday, it’s clearly time to start discussing our orange-feathered-friends with an eye towards the 2013 campaign.

As our very own Luke Jones assessed RIGHT HERE on Tuesday at, it’s been a listless off-season for the Birds.  They commenced the hot stove period with question marks and issues worth considering at first base, second base, left field and starting pitching.

The team convenes in Sarasota with none of those problems either completely addressed or improved upon, truth be told.  Rather than go out and get a real first baseman, they simply promoted a formerly-failed glove with a decent bat in Chris Davis.  Not knowing whether or not Brian Roberts will ever return to form, the club elected to add a half-player in Alexi Casilla rather than create a sea change by sending Roberts on his way and giving the job to an everyday major-leaguer.  Left field was rescued in large part by Nate McLouth in 2012, but anyone willing to bet that he will duplicate his form of a year ago is just hoping for the sake of hope.  Oh, right, the team still believes Nolan Reimold can stay healthy and be a threat at the plate and share the left field position with McLouth.  The team likely believes in the Tooth Fairy, too.

In fairness, if the Orioles can get the same yield from guys like Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez, the 2013 starting rotation might not be all that bad.  Would it have been good to see the Orioles make a play for Zack Greinke or Dan Haren or, like Toronto, make a trade to bring in the likes of Josh Johnson and/or Mark Buerhle?  Sure.  But those players all cost money.

While the Birds clearly didn’t do anything in the off-season to improve their team, it’s accurate to note that the Blue Jays wound up being the only A.L. East club to appear as if winning was going to be important to them in ’13.  Boston’s going to stink again, the Yankees appear to be hard-pressed to be an 85-win team and Tampa Bay traded away some of their good young arms to Kansas City for high-level prospect types.  Sadly, had the Orioles actually added a handful of quality players over the last four months, they might legitimately be the favorite in the division.

My guess on 2013?  Pretty simple.  As The Killers showed with their first album, it’s awfully hard to catch lightning in a bottle two times in a row.  I’m going to assume the luck that guided the Orioles through 2012 ran its course a year ago and that same good fortunate bestowed upon the Birds by the baseball gods will instead go to the Royals or Mariners or Brewers or (insert team here) in the upcoming season.

2012 was a fluke season for the Orioles.

I said before the first game a year ago they’d go 79-83 and everyone in town thought I was nuts.  Obviously, I had no idea how lucky things would turn out for them.

I think they’re an 85-win team in ’13, but that won’t be nearly enough to get them into post-season play.  After 14 years of horrible baseball, I suppose we should be happy with back-to-back seasons of plus .500 play, but the Birds turned 95 wins into 85 wins in the off-season by dumpster diving for guys that no other team in the big leagues cared to take.  That philosophy worked a year ago but I can’t see lightning striking twice in the same place twelve months apart.

I’m hoping for the best, because I enjoyed the hell out of 2012, but you can’t count on luck to take you places.  At some point, you have to try to win.  And you do that by adding quality, not gambling on also-rans who swallowed the pill-of-good-fortune and put together a few good months of baseball.

I’d love to be wrong about this group.

I hope like hell they get as lucky this year as they did last season.

But I’m not counting on it.


13 Comments For This Post

  1. Purple Kelly Says:

    Great! More Debbie Downer crap. (DF: LOL. You people are funny. The only opinion anyone is allowed to have is the one that says “everything around here is great, even if the team didn’t actually do anything worthwhile all winter.” No wonder the team lost for so long. The fans are part of the problem…)

  2. calvin@jhh Says:

    Sadly, I agree with you, Drew. The O’s caught teams off guard last season but that won’t happen again.

  3. BK Says:

    Drew, even you are being too optimistic. I don’t think there is anyway this team is a .500 club again this year. No chance, except for chance, that they win 80 games. Once lucky winning season does not make up for 15 years of getting abused and lied to as a fan and that could not be more evident by this offseason! If fans have forgotten that this quickly, then we once again have no hope in the near future as a baseball franchise.

    NONE of these moves have anything to do with winning or caring about the fans. They are all predicated on lining Angelos’ pockets, MASN, and showing MLB how we compare to Washington financially so Angelos’ can continue to hold MLB’s feet to the fire about the damage Washington has done to ‘his’ franchise.

  4. Stoner Says:

    You pretty much derided them at around the same time last year, ripping them on players you had no idea about (Chen), and ripping them for trading Guthrie. How’d those additions work out? I’ll keep my faith in the guys that actually know what they’re doing, thanks. (DF: I certainly NEVER ripped them for trading Guthrie. I absolutely said that signing an Asian pitcher is a gamble based on how many of them came over and stunk…those were the facts talking, more than me. But you can keep on apologizing for them. They need people like you in the seats. Folks who just go and fork over your money without caring whether or not the team did anything in the off-season to warrant your investment. See you at the park.)

  5. Christian Says:

    It’s funny to me how some of you rip Drew for “apparently” writing negatively about the Orioles, yet are probably the same people that complained about the Ravens for “not winning enough” over the past 5 seasons, talk about double standards.

  6. Christian Says:

    I forgot to make my point, Drew is right, the Orioles had the city in their hand and did nothing, 85 wins is unacceptable if it means no playoffs. Hopefully players progress and get better, but 90+ wins will be hard to get.

  7. unitastoberry Says:

    If they are contending midseason and pitching well but no one is breaking out power wise at the plate they could give up some pitching to get a cleanup bat who is NOT in his mid 30s. I’m giving them until July before I beat them up for not making any winter moves based on last season. I just hope the pitching holds up and keeps them in the race. Peter will always be Peter we know this by now.

  8. The Armchair QB Says:

    Sometimes, it’s better to be lucky than good, but last year, the O’s were both, notwithstanding the fact that they had their share of injuries. So, expectations will naturally be a little higher at the start of this season than they were at the start of last season as they should be. However, without that BIG BAT in the lineup, they’ll need more luck this year to equal last year’s success……

  9. Bill Says:

    No one can argue the fact that they were lucky last year with almost twenty extra inning wins but lets not kid ourselves this team overcame a lot of bad luck as well. Markskis was out twice including the stretch run. Hammel went down twice. Roberts never materialized. Their original left fielder was lost from may on. Their opening day starter fell apart. Jim Thome was out or a while. Benemit was injured twice.

    I wish they did a llittle more this off season too but to mention last years team had nothing but luck is incorrect and disrespectful to their effort last year. (DF: “No one can argue the fact that they were lucky last year.” That’s what you wrote. Later, you beat me up for saying that luck played a role in it. Hilarious. Oh, and please go back to the piece and show me where I wrote that last year’s team had “nothing but luck”. I’ll be here waiting…)

  10. matt Says:

    i just dont get why in baseball, barely being over mediocre gets you in the playoffs. 80 wins doesnt, 90 might, 100 definitely. winning 90 games in baseball is equivalent to going 9-7 in football. how many playoff teams each year in football are 9-7? not many. 1 in each conference?

    if a team can win 4 games over .500 a month, they are guaranteed a playoff spot in baseball. its been said by players that baseball is a failure sport because missing 7 out of 10 times at bat makes you a hall of famer, but its ridiculous that its just a failure sport period

    anyway. youre right drew, youre right about everything baseball. just not football. i had to add a qualifier. (DF: I was wrong about baseball last year. I said they’d win 79 games and they won 93.)

  11. Bill Says:

    Sorry when I said that you said “nothing but luck” came from your post. Your right you did not say thosee exact words. I was, what’s called paraphrasing, sorry they didn’t teach you that in the Bernie. You did say exactly “it’s awfully hard to catch lightning in a bottle two years in a row”
    “I’m going to assume that that the luck that guided the orioles in 2012 ran its course a year ago and that same good baseball fortune bestowed upon the birds last year will go o the royals”. Sorry I might have paraphrased that one to but you get the point. Sorry it took me all day to call you out on your ridiculous rebuttal. You need some powder or lotion by the way for your as sensitive as a baby’s bottom personality. And the killers rock all their albums, after all Dan and Buck are gonna turn this thing around. (DF: You would have been better off just stopping at, “I’m sorry”…instead, though, you couldn’t just admit that you were wrong. You had to go on and on and on and on and on and on — and on and on…zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.)

  12. Bill Says:

    You couldn’t admit you were wrong if you put down 2 + 2 = 4. (DF: I thought 2 + 2 is 4?)

  13. Joe Says:

    I agree with you that them not making moves in the off season was a disgrace. But we all know whose the reason for that, Angelos. Every other person on this team is dedicated to winning, that’s why sometimes as Baltimore Orioles fans we need to say F Angelos and then root for the guys who are giving there all to make this a winning organization! Showalter and the guys on the field mainly. There are a lot of positives on this team as well. We get to see the progression of the careers of guys like Markakis, Jones, Wieters, Hardy. Theres a lot of upside with our youngsters like Machado, Bundy, Gausman. These are all questions marks what Im about to mention but Jurrjens can be a very dominant pitcher if hes healthy, Roberts can be solid at second base undoubtedly if hes healthy, Davis can unload homeruns with the best of them if he works on cutting down the strikeouts, and Reimold has the potential to be a very impressive hitter and he hustles better than anyone I’ve seen in baseball. Would it really be luck if Roberts, Jurrjens, Reimold were healthy and played well? Would it really be luck if Markakis and Wieters progressed offensively? Would it really be luck if Hammel and Chen learned from mistakes last year and were better this season? Would it really be luck if our young prospects/players progressed nicely into impressive major leaguers? Doesnt sound like luck to me, sounds like players working hard to play as well as they can! Theres no way to know if all this will happen, or if even any of these things happened, but it wouldnt be LUCK if it did! Luck is when an umpires gives your team a lot of calls, luck is when the other team drops an easy pop up or bobbles an easy groundball. When players perform, its not luck.

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