2015 Season Previews: Baltimore Orioles

Over the next several weeks, The Baseball Haven will be creating season previews for all 30 MLB teams. You’ll find their projected records (based on PECOTA records from Baseball Prospectus, as of 2/15/2015), each team’s top three players (based on Steamer WAR projections from FanGraphs), and some valuable notes on each team, including likely bounce-back candidates, potential breakout players or fantasy sleepers, as well as a look back at offseason transactions which led to each team’s projections. Stop back frequently to see where your favorite team ranks! 

Baltimore Orioles

Orioles
Courtesy: MLB.com

2015 Projected Record: 78-84 (5th in AL East, 23rd in MLB)

Manager: Buck Showalter (377-328 in five seasons with Baltimore, 1,259-1,161 in 16 seasons overall)

Top Three Players: 3B Manny Machado (5.0), OF Adam Jones (3.4), DH Steve Pearce (3.2)

Bounce-back Player: 3B Manny Machado

Manny Machado may have injuries to both knees on his resume, but he will be 22 years old until July, which seems wild considering he already has 1,266 plate appearances in his brittle career. The gold glove third baseman is primed for a breakout in 2015, if he can manage to stay on the field. The ball jumped off of his bat in 2014, as 15 percent of his hits went out of the yard – an eye-popping stat when you consider the friendliness of Camden Yards (just 7.9 percent in 2013). Machado’s slight increase in walk-rate (from 4.1 percent in 2013 to 5.6 percent in 2014) brings hope for further growth in that area, as he has only swung at 49.4 percent of pitches in his career, ranking 55th in MLB (among players with 1,000 plate appearances since 2012) over his career, showing that he isn’t a free-swinger. His approach may never lead to Joey Votto comparisons, but it wouldn’t be surprising for Machado to start reaching some of the offensive numbers that led to comparisons to early Nomar

This is the year Gausman becomes an ace...right?
This is the year Gausman becomes an ace…right?

Garciaparra production, and he would be about a year younger than Garciaparra if he reaches those numbers in 2015. Machado should be an All-Star level producer for the next decade, and a healthy Machado reaches that expectation this year.

Fantasy Player to Watch: RHP Kevin Gausman

Remember Gausman’s September?

I Split W L W-L% ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP SO9 SO/W
Sept/Oct 0 1 .000 2.87 5 5 0 0 31.1 27 12 10 2 9 29 1.149 8.3 3.22
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/4/2015.

The hard-throwing right-hander moved quickly through the Baltimore system, gaining and providing valuable innings down the stretch for the O’s. Only time will tell as to whether that quick elevation led to a lower ceiling for Gausman, but based on the late season results and the mid-90’s heat, Gausman could become the next Justin Verlander. The elevated WHIP and unimpressive strikeout totals will likely be a thing of the past, as Gausman continues to harness his stuff and moves to the top of the Orioles’ rotation and becomes one of the top starters in the American League.

Offseason Overview: The Orioles lost outfielder Nick Markakis and DH Nelson Cruz to free agency, replacing the two with Travis Snider and Alejandro De Aza. Neither player will come close to the league-leading 40 home runs that Cruz hit, they likely will combine for half of that, but the Orioles are banking on the healthier seasons from Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, and Manny Machado, while hoping for continued production from Steve Pearce. The major faces remain in the rotation and bullpen, so, beyond health, the Orioles will continue to bank on their young players, like Gausman, Machado, and Jonathan Schoop (who could become an offensive force at second) to continue to contend, leaning on Adam Jones as the face of the franchise. The Orioles will have impressive defense and power from their arms and their bats.

The Verdict: Buck Showalter has continued to lead his teams to contention, keeping Baltimore competitive the last three seasons, including the AL East title while dealing with insane amounts of injuries in 2014. He appears ready to trust his younger players to produce, and he’ll likely allow the chains to come off of Gausman in 2015, and, perhaps, Dylan Bundy can prove 100 percent recovered from elbow surgery to be a factor down the stretch. The Orioles could be better in 2015 with improved health and productive, contract-year performances out of Davis, Wieters, Bud Norris, and Wei-Yin Chen, and this could be the final year with this group before free agency really pulls it apart. They, too, will perform better than their PECOTA, as Showalter proves his worth and the talent overcomes the doubt.

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Pretend GM: Signings and Trades That Should Be Made

With the big signing of Masahiro Tanaka by the New York Yankees on Wednesday, the market for free agency and trades could explode over the next several days. With that in mind, I was thinking about some deals that would make tremendous sense for several teams…although, they could just make sense to me. Regardless, here are some deals that I’d like to see made over the next few weeks before pitchers and catchers report.

Cincinnati Reds Trade Brandon Phillips to the New York Yankees for Brett Gardner

PhillipsWhy This Trade Makes Sense: The Yankees clearly want to get back to the top, as their $155 million investment in Tanaka showed. With Brian Roberts, Kelly Johnson, and Scott Sizemore as the current options at second base, New York could use a more reliable name to replace Robinson Cano. While the Reds don’t have an immediate replacement ready for Phillips (outside of Henry Rodriguez or another position change for Billy Hamilton), they need to clear some payroll in order to lock up Mat Latos, Johnny Cueto, and Mike Leake, all of whom are eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, as well as Homer Bailey, who will be a free agent after the 2014 season. Phillips, who is due $50 million over the next four years, could be a bargain based on the current market, while his ability to play defensively at an elite level will provide quite a bit of value, as well. Gardner is unlikely to provide the on-base skills that Shin-Soo Choo provided last season in Cincinnati, but he would provide elite-level defensive skills, speed, and solid on-base skills (career OBP of .352). Gardner, earning $5.6 million in 2014 prior to reaching free agency after the season, would be an upgrade over a 2014 version of Hamilton, while providing quite a bit of financial flexibility to shore up the rotation for the coming seasons in Cincinnati. Even if Cincinnati had to chip in $10 million in salary relief, it would be an interesting deal for both clubs.

Baltimore Orioles Sign A.J. Burnett to a one-year, $14 million deal

burnettWhy This Signing Makes Sense: In 2012, the Baltimore Orioles surprised the world by contending and finishing 2nd in the AL East with 93 wins. In 2013, there was a slight regression, as the team dipped to 85 wins after doing very little over the offseason. The Orioles have been very active in the minor league free agent market this winter, but they could use a splash, and Burnett would be a tremendous addition to the club’s rotation. Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Bud Norris, and Kevin Gausman make a good, young rotation, but Burnett would be the anchor for the staff, and his presence would allow the club to move Norris to a (more appropriate) bullpen role. Burnett is from Maryland and he has been rumored to be retiring if he doesn’t re-sign with Pittsburgh, but Baltimore is close to home and he can keep his wife happy, and the spare change for one year would be worth it for both sides. Burnett rebuilt his value with two tremendous seasons with the Pirates, and he is worth a one-year deal for Baltimore for another shot at the AL East for the tattooed right-hander. Sure, it seems like it is going to be Pittsburgh or bust, but the Orioles are contenders with a healthy Manny Machado and consistent production from Adam Jones, Chris Davis, and Matt Wieters – the O’s need to do their due diligence here.

Toronto Blue Jays Sign Matt Garza to a five-year, $60 million deal (I know he was rumored to have signed with Milwaukee for four-years, $52 million pending a physical, but it isn’t official…yet)

GarzaWhy This Signing Makes Sense: The Jays need another solid option in their rotation to compliment R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, and Brandon Morrow, so that their offense isn’t wasted on sloppy rotation options like Esmil Rogers, Ramon Ortiz, Aaron Laffey, and Rickey Romero, who combined to make 27 starts last season. While Garza has some injury concerns, the Blue Jays have already given him a dynamic weapon – Dioner Navarro. With Navarro as his catcher, Garza has logged 338.1 innings and managed a 3.25 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP, while Garza has posted a 4.07 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP with anyone else behind the dish. While there is risk involved due to Garza spending 170 team games on the disabled list the last three seasons with right shoulder and elbow injuries, the Jays need a pitcher who is capable of pitching in the AL East (Garza has done it before), can toss 180 or more innings (Garza has done it four times), and would be a significant upgrade over Rogers, Todd Redmond, and J.A. Happ, while the club waits for Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Alberto Tirado, Daniel Norris, and Sean Nolin to reach the majors. Garza may not be a number one starter, but he is a strong number two or three option on a club that should compete with an absolutely loaded offensive group.

Philadelphia Phillies Sign Ubaldo Jimenez to a five-year, $85 million deal

Why This Signing Makes Sense: The Phillies first round pick, seventh overall, is protected, so while Jimenez would require draft-pick compensation, it would only be a second round pick going to Cleveland for Jimenez. After a tremendous second half in 2013 (1.82 ERA, 1.14 WHIP over 84 innings), Jimenez rebuilt his value, and, at the age of 30, would be a solid right-handed option for the Phillies to place between Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. Jimenez has had some success during his career in the NL East:

I Split W L ERA GS GF CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP SO/9 SO/BB
Atlanta Braves 3 5 3.79 9 0 1 1 54.2 47 25 23 6 28 66 1.372 10.9 2.36
Miami Marlins 1 2 4.07 5 0 0 0 24.1 23 19 11 1 16 31 1.603 11.5 1.94
New York Mets 2 3 3.40 6 0 0 0 39.2 27 15 15 4 21 29 1.210 6.6 1.38
Washington Nationals 5 1 2.61 7 0 0 0 48.1 39 14 14 1 16 36 1.138 6.7 2.25
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/22/2014.

For those who don’t want to do the math, Jimenez is 11-11 with a 3.39 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and a 162:81 K:BB over 167 innings and 27 starts, and while that isn’t perfect, especially in a ballpark that is more favorable to hitters, Jimenez should, at least, be worth the money as an innings eater if he isn’t elite like he was in the second half of 2013. The Phillies may not be contenders, but they’ll always be spenders. They don’t have any arms ready in their system and Jimenez would be a huge upgrade over Roberto Hernandez and Ethan Martin, who appear to be options for the rotation currently.

Oakland Athletics Sign Nelson Cruz to a three-year, $27 million deal

Why This Signing Makes Sense: The Cruz market appears nearly dead after there was draft-pick compensation added to a PED suspension, but Cruz is still just 33 and he is coming off of an All-Star season with solid production (27 home runs and 76 RBI in just 109 games). With very little interest and risk involved, it’s the perfect opportunity for Oakland to swoop in and make an interesting signing. While the club has some solid right-handed pop in Yoenis Cespedes and Josh Donaldson, the remainder of the lineup is filled with left-handed hitters, including Josh Reddick, Eric Sogard, Brandon Moss, as well as switch-hitters Coco Crisp and Jed Lowrie. Another right-handed, middle-of-the-order bat would be a tremendous addition, as Reddick or Moss could sandwich between Cruz and Cespedes, providing quite a bit of value and production for a team that struggles to find offense in a cavernous home ballpark. However, Cruz has struggled in Oakland, posting a .192/.248/.352 triple-slash in 202 career plate appearances there. The late first round pick and discounted contract, though, could be enough to overlook his struggles, while providing a little more punch to the Oakland lineup.

Texas Rangers Sign Bronson Arroyo to a two-year, $24 million deal

ArroyoWhy This Signing Makes Sense: Arroyo has been homer prone in the past and doesn’t have the stuff to avoid bats, but he has averaged 211 innings pitched over the last nine seasons and is someone whom the Rangers could count on with Colby Lewis and Matt Harrison coming back from injuries and Derek Holland on the shelf until mid-2014. Arroyo survived in a bandbox in Cincinnati over the last eight seasons, so he would be just as likely to post 200-plus innings and an ERA around 4.00 in Texas, especially with spacious ballparks like those in Seattle, Oakland, and Anaheim within the division. There isn’t draft-pick compensation tied to Arroyo, and with Masahiro Tanaka gone and no real hope of acquiring David Price in a trade, the Rangers just need five starting pitchers, and Arroyo is a nice, reliable addition for the middle or back-end of the Texas rotation.

Atlanta Braves Trade Alex Wood to the New York Yankees for Gary Sanchez

Why This Trade Makes Sense: C.C. Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, and Hiroki Kuroda make a great top three and Ivan Nova showed drastic improvements last season, but the Yankees are relying on David Phelps, Michael Pineda, Adam Warren, and Manny Banuelos at the back of the rotation in 2014. While Alex Wood has one of the more violent deliveries you’ll ever see, he has solid stuff and is ready to be productive immediately in a major league rotation. With Brandon Beachy healthy and David Hale and Gavin Floyd capable of filling the back of the Braves rotation, Wood could be expendable for Atlanta to seek a long-term option at catcher with the departure of Brian McCann to the Yankees via free agency. Evan Gattis has a lot of power and Christian Bethancourt has tremendous defensive skills, but neither seem like strong options as an everyday catcher for Atlanta. While Sanchez still needs some seasoning and he could use a change of scenery due to his makeup and maturity concerns, the Braves have several upcoming arms, as usual, and they have a long-term need at catcher. Sanchez could be the answer and the eventual elbow surgery that Wood will need is worth this type of deal for Atlanta, and the production that the Yankees get out of Wood could be useful, as well.

Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Catchers

I’ll be compiling lists of the top players at each position for 2012 Fantasy Baseball in the coming weeks.  Overall rankings will consist of their value in a points format, earning points for each H, R, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI, basically a formula of Total Bases + RBI + Runs = Total Value.  I’ll begin with catchers.  You’ll see their stats for 2011 below their names with 2012 Projections in ITALICS

1. Mike Napoli, Texas

.320/.414/.631, 25 2B, 30 HR, 75 RBI, 85/58 K/BB in 369 AB

.295/.389/.560, 30 2B, 27 HR, 81 RBI, 101/68 K/BB in 446 AB

Napoli has always had power but he sat so often for the AMAZING Jeff Mathis on the Angels that he never got a chance to truly breakout.  He finally got a chance and became a near-MVP talent in Texas in 2011.  He may not repeat the AVG, but the power is real, especially in that lineup and ballpark.

2. Carlos Santana, Cleveland

.239/.351/.457, 35 2B, 27 HR, 79 RBI, 133/97 K/BB in 552 AB

.279/.401/.531, 31 2B, 33 HR, 91 RBI, 123/101 K/BB in 549 AB

I may be higher on Santana than most, but he’ll make more contact in 2012 and he posted these numbers in his first full season.  The sky is the limit and the value in Santana is that he plays 1B and DH when he isn’t behind the plate.

3. Alex Avila, Detroit

.295/.389/.506, 33 2B, 19 HR, 82 RBI, 131/73 K/BB in 464 AB

.286/.391/.511, 35 2B, 21 HR, 86 RBI, 124/76 K/BB in 471 AB

4. Yadier Molina, St. Louis

.305/.349/.465, 32 2B, 16 HR, 65 RBI, 44/33 K/BB in 475 AB

.301/.342/.437, 29 2B, 14 HR, 63 RBI, 46/36 K/BB in 461 AB

5. Buster Posey, San Francisco

.311/.374/.521, 31 2B, 23 HR, 82 RBI, 83/65 K/BB in 476 AB

We all know about his injury last year, but reports show he is ready.  His 2010 stats were: .305/.357/.505, 23 2B, 18 HR, 67 RBI, 55/30 K/BB in 406 AB.  Expect the same, maybe more.

6. Miguel Montero, Arizona

.282/.351/.469, 36 2B, 18 HR, 86 RBI, 97/47 K/BB in 493 AB

.276/.349/.471, 33 2B, 20 HR, 84 RBI, 101/56 K/BB in 489 AB

7. Brian McCann, Atlanta

.270/.351/466, 19 2B, 24 HR, 71 RBI, 89/57 K/BB in 466 AB

.281/.363/.485, 21 2B, 22 HR, 79 RBI, 81/71 K/BB in 483 AB

8. Matt Wieters, Baltimore

.262/.328/.450, 28 2B, 22 HR, 68 RBI, 84/48 K/BB in 500 AB

.276/.339/.490, 29 2B, 27 HR, 84 RBI, 97/61 K/BB in 506 AB

9. Joe Mauer, Minnesota

.287/.360/.368, 15 2B, 3 HR, 30 RBI, 38/32 K/BB in 296 AB

.313/.394/.411, 31 2B, 8 HR, 71 RBI, 79/76 K/BB in 496 AB

It’s well documented about Mauer’s knee issues last season.  I can see him taking a Carlos Santana/Victor Martinez approach to stay in the lineup.  He won’t ever come close to his 2009 power outburst, but he can have value due to the ability to drive the ball in the gaps of Target Field.

10. Devin Mesoraco, Cincinnati

.180/.226/.360, 3 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 10/3 K/BB in 50 AB

.265/.329/.449, 18 2B, 14 HR, 59 RBI, 72/21 K/BB in 374 AB

Mesoraco will be a top catcher once he isn’t sharing the position.  He’s capable of hitting 15 homers in about 350 AB, and will settle into the Cincinnati lineup near Votto and Bruce to see plenty of good pitches.  He’s someone to watch in Keeper Leagues, but he’ll have value right away.

11. Geovany Soto, Chicago (N.L.)

.228/.310/.411, 26 2B, 17 HR, 54 RBI, 124/45 K/BB in 421 AB

.268/.335/.445, 28 2B, 23 HR, 73 RBI, 147/56 K/BB in 447 AB

Shoulder woes have sapped Soto’s value and possibly led to some offensive struggles, particularly with strikeouts, in 2011.  He may become a trade chip for the rebuilding Cubs in 2012, but he needs to build his value and show that he is healthy.  He can still hit, but can he do it consistently?

12. Jonathan LuCroy, Milwaukee

.265/.313/.391, 16 2B, 12 HR, 59 RBI, 99/29 K/BB in 430 AB

.269/.318/.401, 21 2B, 13 HR, 54 RBI, 112/41 K/BB in 456 AB

13. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Boston

.235/.288/.450, 23 2B, 16 HR, 56 RBI, 119/24 K/BB in 358 AB

.251/.301/.450, 27 2B, 19 HR, 62 RBI, 126/38 K/BB in 438 AB

It wasn’t always pretty last year for “Salty,” but he shows enough power and plays in the right lineup, so he has value.  He has always been huge and awkward behind the plate, but the Red Sox only have Ryan Lavarnway ready, and he isn’t ready defensively, and may never be ready defensively, to steal time from him.

14. J.P. Arencibia, Toronto

.219/.282/.438, 20 2B, 23 HR, 78 RBI, 133/36 K/BB in 443 AB

.231/.313/.479, 25 2B, 24 HR, 83 RBI, 145/31 K/BB in 471 AB

Arencibia doesn’t have a whole lot of time to hold down this job.  If he doesn’t show that he can make consistent contact in 2012, he may lose time to Travis d’Arnaud really soon.  Even being young, he may find himself as trade bait or moved off of the position.  We’ll see if that is enough motivation for him.

15. Russell Martin, New York (A.L.)

.237/.324/.408, 17 2B, 18 HR, 65 RBI, 81/50 K/BB in 417 AB

.249/.337/.415, 19 2B, 15 HR, 61 RBI, 80/61 K/BB in 443 AB

16. Wilson Ramos, Washington

.267/.334/.445, 22 2B, 15 HR, 52 RBI, 76/38 K/BB in 389 AB

.271/.339/.456, 24 2B, 19 HR, 68 RBI, 91/49 K/BB in 467 AB

17. Chris Ianetta, Los Angeles (A.L.)

.238/.370/.414, 17 2B, 14 HR, 55 RBI, 89/70 K/BB in 345 AB

.242/.359/.408, 19 2B, 12 HR, 57 RBI, 91/76 K/BB in 453 AB

18. Kurt Suzuki, Oakland

.237/.301/.385, 26 2B, 14 HR, 44 RBI, 64/38 K/BB in 460 AB

.229/.291/.376, 21 2B, 10 HR, 38 RBI, 71/31 K/BB in 398 AB

19. Miguel Olivo, Seattle

.224/.253/.388, 19 2B, 19 HR, 62 RBI, 140/20 K/BB in 477 AB

.212/.239/.371, 17 2B, 12 HR, 39 RBI, 131/16 K/BB in 348 AB

20. John Buck, Miami

.227/.316/.367, 16 2B, 15 HR, 57 RBI, 115/54 K/BB in 466 AB

.234/.327/.381, 18 2B, 16 HR, 54 RBI, 111/58 K/BB in 439 AB

KEEPER LEAGUE PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Travis d’Arnaud – TOR

Wilin Rosario – COL

Jesus Monter0 – SEA: He’d be a top 10 talent “IF” he gets Catcher Eligibility

Yasmani Grandal – SD

Christian Bethancourt – ATL

Sebastian Valle – PHI

Gary Sanchez – NY (A.L.)

Derek Norris – OAK

Andrew Susac – SF

GM for the Day: Baltimore Orioles

Well, we finally made it to the American League.  Thanks for your patience and if you’re a Baltimore Orioles fan, I know you have some.  Baltimore finished in last place in the AL East for the 4th straight season and completed their season with a 69-93 record, their 14th straight losing season.  New management and another rebuilding effort is in the works, as the O’s look for a way to get back to the glory of the…70’s…which seems like forever ago to their fans because it was.  Who are the 25-men on the current roster?

2 Catchers: Matt Wieters and Taylor Teagarden

1B: Mark Reynolds

2B: Brian Roberts

3B: Josh Bell

SS: J.J. Hardy

LF: Nolan Reimold

CF: Adam Jones

RF: Nick Markakis

DH: Chris Davis

Bench: Endy Chavez (OF), Robert Andino (INF), Matt Angle (OF)

Starting Pitchers: Jeremy Guthrie, Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada

Relief Pitchers: Jim Johnson, Kevin Gregg, Pedro Strop, Troy Patton, Alfredo Simon, Darren O’Day and Brad Bergeson

The O’s didn’t have the success that they hoped to with the young arms that they were stockpiling.  Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz have been total flops, while Arrieta and Britton seem to look like solid arms, but not really the top of the rotation guys that all four were hoped to become.  Britton still has a shot, though.  Adam Jones finally reached his potential last year, and at age 25, he is either someone to build around or someone to deal.  It sounds like Dan Duquette is in the middle of deciding what that is going to be.  Markakis is solid and average at the same time.  J.J. Hardy looks like a great piece to keep until Manny Machado is ready, and the O’s have some talent in the pipeline to look forward to until they matter again.  If only they moved to the NL Central, they could contend now.

They should probably look to deal Adam Jones.  At 25, Jones is under team control until 2014.  He would be an asset for a team that wants to contend.  He would fit perfectly in the Braves outfield, they could trade Prado and put Jones or Bourn in LF, and he could get one or two of the Braves arms back in return.  But you have to wonder if taking on arms is what the O’s need to do.  They’ve added a couple of arms from Asia this offseason in Chen and Wada, basically eliminating rotation spots for Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter and Chris Tillman…if they even wanted them there in the first place…and their system hasn’t had much luck with developing arms.  Luckily, the Braves have Minor, Teheran, Delgado and Vizcaino ready.  Packaging one of those arms with Edward Salcedo, a highly ranked 3B prospect, would be an excellent package for Jones.

The O’s aren’t going to contend in 2012.  They won’t contend for a few more years.  They need to come to grips with that and start looking at the next wave of talent.  Manny Machado at SS, Dylan and Robert Bundy at starting pitcher, and Jonathan Schoop look like top to above average prospects.  Because of their future being two years out, they shouldn’t be starting anyone over 30.  No more Derrek Lee’s or Vladimir Guerrero’s, even if they sign on the cheap.  This team needs to invest in the draft, international signings, and player development.  With the talent in the AL East, they have no choice but to build a little and THEN start signing talent via Free Agency.  They have to have more key pieces on the field before they start filing holes.  So they should waste their money on signing guys like Edwin Jackson or even spend time checking in on Prince Fielder.  Let other teams spend now.  Trade Nick Markakis to the Red Sox for Ryan Lavarnway and Anthony Renaudo, even though he is young (28 in 2012), you aren’t going to win with him.  J.J. Hardy can help you win some games, but he could also get you a nice return from, say, the Reds, at the trade deadline in 2012 if Zack Cozart doesn’t work out.  Trade Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Roberts to the Rockies for Seth Smith and Hector Gomez, giving the Rockies the solid arm they need to contend now, while the O’s get a spot for a young arm to try to prove themselves again.

There are a lot of things that the Orioles can do in 2012, but winning isn’t one of them.  They have an interesting lineup with Jones, Markakis, Reimold, Hardy and Wieters, but they just don’t have enough consistency out of those guys to win, plus the pitching is just as questionable.  Wada is a Japanese clone of Jamie Moyer, hitting 87-88 with his fastball.  Chen can throw some heat, but he also has had some shoulder issues.  We know that their young arms haven’t been consistent…or good…as Tillman and Matusz have been busts.  But they are young enough to keep getting chances, especially when your team isn’t going to be good.

If you trade Jones, Markakis and Guthrie, it makes for an ugly roster, but after going 69-93 with them and not seeing an end to the losing with four solid teams in front of you in the AL East, you’ve got nothing to lose.  Matt Angle, Reimold, Smith, and Endy Chavez would be your outfielders.  You’ve got a 2B of the future in Gomez on the way (he spent all of 2011 in Double-A), with Machado coming up at SS, and Schoop at 3B.  Lavarnway can play 1B or DH, Reimold could do the same thing.  Draft college players early, high ceiling guys later, maybe get in on Yoennis Cespedes, the CF from Cuba and get him now.  Why not?  He’s someone to plug-in now.  How would that change the roster for 2012:

2 Catchers: Matt Wieters and Taylor Teagarden

1B: Nolan Reimold

2B: Ryan Adams (.284/.341/.454, 28 2B, 10 HR in 94 games at Triple-A in ’11)

3B: Mark Reynolds

SS: J.J. Hardy

LF: Seth Smith

CF: Yoennis Cespedes

RF: Endy Chavez

DH: Ryan Lavarnway

Bench: Robert Andino (INF), Matt Angle (OF) and Chris Davis (1B/3B)

Starting Pitching: Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and Chen/Wada (whoever looks best in Spring)

Relief Pitchers:  Jim Johnson, Kevin Gregg, Pedro Strop, Troy Patton, Alfredo Simon, Darren O’Day and Brad Bergeson

The fake deals that I made would make Hector Gomez (2B in 2013?), Anthony Renaudo (#3 pitcher in 2013?), Randall Delgado/Arodys Vizcaino/Mike Minor (#2 pitcher in 2013?), and Edward Salcedo (3B in 2014) a part of the organization.  They’re solid guys who could force the O’s to move other players around, like Schoop to 2B or Salcedo to 1B (as his defense is still weak/raw).  It is all made up and some of the deals may not be possible, but it is worth a shot.  The O’s won’t win again until they build from within to create their own talent.  See the Blue Jays, Rangers and Rays for current examples of this type of development.