With O’s in freefall, focus turns to future: Who is a nugget, and who isn’t?

July 07, 2011 | Peter Dilutis

If the Orioles could augment those six core players that I outlined with Prince Fielder, they would start to look like a very legitimate team. Go out and bring in a league average DH, even if it is on a one year deal, and the O’s could trot out this lineup on Opening Day 2012…

2B: Roberts
RF: Markakis
CF: Jones
1B: Fielder
3B: Reynolds
C: Wieters
SS: Hardy
DH: league average DH
LF: Reimold/Pie

I will argue with anyone who doesn’t believe that team would be a serious contender, at least before pitching is considered (which I’ll take a look at in Part 2 of this installment).

Again, this hypothetical obviously assumes that the glass is half-full, and that three key things would go right for the O’s at a time when everything seems to be going wrong. Hardy would have to sign back up with the Birds, Roberts would have to come back healthy, and MacPhail would have to bring Fielder to Baltimore.

All three are variables, but all three are realistic.

If the O’s go 3/3 with those scenarios, does anyone want to disagree on whether that is a winning offense/defense?

Of course, when talking about the team as a whole, pitching is a huge factor…obviously. Pitching wins championships. I get that. I’ll be analyzing the pitching situation next, but I wanted to focus on the position players first.

Who is a nugget, and who isn’t?

Realistically, could that team contend? Could Buck Showalter go into battle with that lineup in 2012 and 2013 and expect to compete with the big boys?