Question of the Day…
Thanks to all who wrote in (firstname.lastname@example.org) or tweeted me questions yesterday. As a reminder, I’ll be taking one to answer per day in Spring Training so if you don’t see yours it doesn’t mean I forgot about it. I’ll try to get to everyone, either on the blog or responding personally if I run out of time. Questions may be edited for spelling/grammar, accuracy and brevity and should be tagged with #QOTD on Twitter or in your email body. I’ll include first names only.
Why does the front office insist on paying lip service to the fans? I’m not nearly as upset about the team’s failure to add a big name starter as I am about all the talk of adding a big name starter. If the team had said in November “We likely won’t add anyone. We don’t want to spend more money and we trust in our system and the players we have”, I’d have been a bit disappointed, but I’d have been okay with it. –Chris
I don’t think anyone, the front office included, saw the winter going like it did. Did executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette stick his foot his mouth by saying at the Winter Meetings that the team would leave with a player? Absolutely. They came close with Grant Balfour, but we all know how that turned out.
There was never a feeling that the Orioles would add a “big name” starter, (like Masahiro Tanaka or Matt Garza) and if that was the sense among fans it was probably more optimistic than what was actually reported. There was, however, the expectation that they would make some moves to get better and in that regard they’ve done nothing but foster lip service. I agree with you there.
Duquette has said numerous times, including at the Winter Meetings, that their best players are going to come through the farm system so any expectation of them soaring over previous payrolls to add pricey free agents is way off. Keep in mind some of their smaller moves, the trade for outfielder David Lough and the signing of reliever Ryan Webb for example, could end up being savvy additions. But I understand that they’re overshadowed by the silence in addressing two key spots: closer and starting pitcher. (And in noting adding any bats).
Can they still add a starter? Absolutely. I asked Orioles manager Buck Showalter yesterday about the possibility of new roster additions this spring –something Duquette has mentioned several times– and, after going on about liking the current guys in camp, he said “just because something is delayed doesn’t mean it’s not denied.”
There are still guys available who could help the Orioles, such as starters Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez. There’s also the chance the club adds more bullpen depth and potential closer candidates in waiting for guys coming off injury, such as Andrew Bailey and Joel Hanrahan.
I understand fans’ frustration and think calling the offseason anything but a disappointment would be insulting everyone’s intelligence. But with money to spend, Duquette has said they will be around $100 million and right now they are in the low 80s, I don’t think the Orioles are done adding just yet. Nor should they be.