When the Birds started the year 6 and 2, winning their first three series of the season, everyone was excited, even a few were delusional. But since then, the O’s have come back to earth and are playing like the team we thought we had at the outset. All we hear is that the team is heading in the right direction. The minor league system has a few good arms that should be able to contribute soon at the big league level. Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are in it for the long haul and Brian Roberts is secured. Matt Wieters is waiting in the wings.
I want the Orioles to be in the Penant Race every season. I know that the thought process is that we should be right where we want to be in 2011, and some seem happy with that. A lot is being said that the starting rotation is just gaining seasoning in the minors and nearly ready to anchor a pitching staff for years to come.
Here’s what I am telling you; if Tillman, Arrieta, Bergeson, and Matusz don’t pan out, we are staring at another decade of putrid baseball. The team has essentially put all of their eggs in one basket, that of the young arms in the minors. Angelos has said that he is willing to open the wallet if the team shows signs of being close. Read between the lines. What he is saying is that if these young arms can be the answer, he’ll go out and pay for a proven starter or veteran bat to “complete the equation”. But what he is also saying is that if those pitchers are not the answer, then he isn’t spending a dime. It’s a sort of a vicious cycle… I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat…
It’s all well and good that we have these young arms that are going to save the organization. But guess what, I’m pretty sure that Adam Loewen, Matt Riley, Haden Penn, and Liz were all “the answer” as well.
Here’s the problem. It’s good to have young talent, but you absolutely cannot build a team through the minor laegue system alone. As we well know, they don’t always work out. By the same token, you can’t build strictly through free agency either. There has to be a happy medium. The comments that come out of the front office dictate there will be no change in philosophy, unless we are a player or two away. We are staring the very real possibility of having no 3rd baseman or Shortstop and being 3 starters, a reliever and a closer away. That’s a far cry from one player away. Now, pick up 2 pitchers and a major league shortstop, mix in the young guys to fill the rest, and now we are working with something instead of a situation we are in now, where a few guys don’t pan out, and we are screwed.
I am not predicting the failure of these young guys, but I’m saying it is wrong to put the entire fate of the franchise on them. We brought in Gregg Zaun for the exact reason I am talking about. Why not bring in some decent arms as well…