Baltimore Orioles Season Preview
April 8th, 2016 by Brendan Pierce
The Baltimore Orioles are off to a terrific start to begin the 2016 season. They squared off against the Minnesota Twins in the first series of the year this week and they certainly took care of business. The O’s defeated them in all three games, holding them to two runs in each game. This was just the start that manager Buck Showalter wanted from his club as they look to get back on top as AL East champions.
The Baltimore Orioles had a relatively quiet offseason as they were unable to sign a big ace for their rotation. However, they did resign a bunch of their own guys who played pivotal roles for the team last season. Most notably, they resigned first basemen Chris Davis to a 7 year $161 million deal this offseason tying the slugger with Baltimore through the 2022 season. Another important bat making his return to Bird Land is catcher Matt Wieters, who accepted the 1 year $15.8 million qualifying offer. Wieters is a three time all-star, but he is coming off two injury riddled seasons. He is in a contract year so look for the former first round pick to bounce back in a big way this season. The last major contributor the O’s brought back was reliever Darren O’Day. O’Day was viewed as one of the top relievers in this years free agency class, but he opted to come back to Baltimore because he likes pitching under coach Buck Showalter and is familiar with the Orioles system.
As far as the new guys go, Baltimore brought in two big bats to bolster the middle of their lineup. They signed longtime Pirates corner infielder Pedro Alvarez to a one year deal. His best year came in 2013 when he was an all-star and led the National League in home runs with 36. Alvarez is projected to get most of his work at the designated hitter position this year. The other big bat that the Orioles acquired this offseason was right fielder Mark Trumbo. Trumbo spent last season with the Diamondbacks until he was traded to the Mariners in June. Trumbo was then traded from the Mariners to the Orioles over the offseason for backup catcher Steve Clevenger. Trumbo will provide the Orioles with some pop from the right side of the plate, which was a major need for the O’s entering the offseason.
The AL East is completely up for grabs this season. There is not a standout team that is going to run away with the division crown so, the Orioles are certainly in the mix. We know they can hit the ball out of the ballpark, but how will the staff hold up throughout the year? They lack a true ace and they lost a quality arm in Wei-Yin Chen in free agency this offseason. The Orioles are relying on veterans Ubaldo Jimenez and Yovani Gallardo to carry the load this season. Then, if the Orioles are still relevant in July, they might trade for another starter at the deadline. It is certainly going to be a fun summer at Camden Yards. Do not count out the O’s to make a run in the AL East and return to their 2014 form when they won the division title.