After sweeping a double-header yesterday against the Detroit Tigers, the Baltimore Orioles are now 65-95 with two games remaining in the 2010 season.

65 wins represents a 1 game improvement over the 2009 season, which is frankly amazing considering the O’s were 32-73 when Showalter took over. With one win in these last two games, the O’s will have a .500 record since the All-Star break. (currently 36-36) The Orioles had a winning August. The Orioles will have a winning September/October. With Showalter at the helm, the O’s have showed they can play against the division.

Two weeks ago, I asked after further inspection who are the O’s?

My basic opinions remain. You are not as good as you look when everything is going right, nor as bad as you look when everything is going wrong. As currently constructed, I think the O’s in 2011 would be the .500 level team I predicted them to be here in ’10. Watching the youth of this roster continue to grow and mature is going to be fun.

What also is going to be fun, is seeing how the O’s choose to augment their roster.

Before the O’s make plans to pursue players currently external to the organization, I anticipate they will prioritize resigning Uehara, and Wigginton. I do believe both players will be back in an Oriole uniform for 2011.

There are no secrets about where the O’s need to improve. Izturis is the worst offensive every-day player in the Majors, and his defense is not at the level of a Belanger or Ozzie Smith to make it acceptable.

(Check-out this thread started by Tony Pente on his own Orioles Hangout forum about Izturis. )

Josh Bell is a legitimate 3rd-base prospect, but 53 k’s (vs. 2 walks) in 155 at-bats clearly indicates he is not ready to hold down the position.

I’ve made clear that I believe in the talents of Nolan Reimold, and feel he could handle 1st-base if handed the position full-time. With the Achillies’ and the birth of his child behind him, I expect him to have a focused off-season, and be prepared to help the O’s next-year. The reality is that as encouraging as his rookie season was, this sophomore season was a nightmare. If the Orioles have visions of rapidly improving, you can not go into 2011 with 1st-base being a question mark.

Barring trade or injury; Guthrie, Matusz, Arrieta, and Bergesen are four locks for the O’s 2011 Opening Day rotation. Without a Free Agent addition, or the acquisition of a starter via trade; Tillman will head to Spring Training as the most-likely 5th starter. Britton (and to a lesser extent VandenHurk) will be waiting in the wings as internal replacements when injuries or non-performance occurs.

If you believe like I do that Uehara returns, you have to be excited about the prospects for the bullpen. Uehara, Gonzalez, Hernandez, Johnson, Berken (if able), Simon/ VandenHurk, Patton / 2nd lefty is potentially very good.

You know who will man RF, C, and 2nd. Even if the O’s decide to move Jones to LF, you know that he will man one of the OF spots. My guess is that he returns to CF at-least to start ’11. The odds are very low on Scott being traded, so really you know who is the DH. Unless the unexpected presents itself, Pie figures to be back in LF.

You can not make Free Agents sign, but it will still be interesting to see whom the O’s choose to pursue.

In June, I asked if the O’s should consider Victor Martinez this off-season:

Now in October, you are hearing his name with some frequency. I expect the O’s will make an offer here. If the O’s could get him for 2 years, I see a lot of value in his potential acquisition.

I’ve come around to the idea of pursuing Adrian Beltre for 3rd. Here is a article about the type of contract it will likely take to land him.

Four years, and $60M seems like a reasonable estimation of what it would take to bring him to Baltimore. He is not the hitter he has shown to be this year with Boston, but he is a capable offensive and defensive player that would improve the everyday Oriole lineup.

The Orioles have spent additional time scouting Japan this year, and I’m interested to see if the O’s will aggressively pursue top-level talent such as the starter Yu Darvish, or SS Hiroyuki Nakajima. Both players are mentioned as potential options to be posted this Winter. The first-link below talks about that possible posting, the second link is a previous entry from me on Darvish complete with scouting reports. At the time I was suggesting a posting-fee possibly at $60M, which would represent a slight increase over what Boston provided to negotiate for Dice-K. If it is now going to be significantly lower, and similar to what it cost for Igawa – you can bet the Orioles will be involved.

What these last two months have done is reset the clock. People are seeing tangible improvement, and potential for the franchise. Questions remain, but even if no major additions are made the talent exists internally for this team to take major steps next-year. That by itself is going to have people looking forward to ’11. With a couple of key additions you have to wonder just how much this team could achieve.

Chris Stoner
Chris Stoner


Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, CBS 1300, Q1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. He has also been interviewed by The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, and PressBox (TV). As Owner, his responsibilities include serving as the Managing Editor, Publicist, & Sales Director.