We've got Daisuke. We've got Lugo. Drew is all but wrapped up. And Doug Mirabelli will be catching the knuckler once again, according to reports. What do we do now? My gut feeling is that the closer position will not be solved in the very immediate future.
I thought it might be interesting to look at the moves (and non-moves) other teams in the league have been making lately. Let's start with the Orioles.
The Orioles have been remaking their bullpen. They signed Scott Williamson, Danys Baez, Jamie Walker, and Chad Bradford. All of these are good moves by themselves, for the most part. Baez, Walker, and Bradford all got too many years, and all are at least slightly overpaid. Williamson is the classic low-risk/high-reward signing at slightly under $1M/1YR. However, this significantly improves a bullpen that, beyond Chris Ray, was definitely shaky last season.
Where these are not good moves is in whether they will pay off as far as wins/the division goes. I have to think the answer there is no. The Orioles did a lot to fix one problem and basically nothing to fix the others. Their lineup returns almost completely intact, aside from the addition of old "friend" Jay Payton. A lineup that finished ahead of only 4 teams in the AL in runs scored.
Their rotation is solidly unspectacular, beyond Erik Bedard, who broke out in a pretty big way last year. He's a talented guy, but can he single-handedly make up for the solid mediocrity of Kris Benson and Jaret Wright? The inconsistency of Daniel Cabrera? The youth of Adam Loewen? The last two could be better next season: they've both got talent. Speaking of Jaret Wright, I'm probably not alone in saying the Orioles got hosed on that deal. The Yankees could've picked up his option or not; either way, giving up anything of value probably was not neccessary. Making a division rival hold on to a $7M 5-inning average/below-average starter is not the worst thing in the world. Their bullpen should be greatly improved, but on the "stength" of their rotation, their team era probably will not make a huge leap (or drop, I guess), though I suppose jettisoning these fine pitchers can only help. (Unfortunately, they've not gotten rid of Lopez quite yet.)
A couple other notable moves: Re-signing Millar? Good idea. Guy still has good plate discipline, which is somewhat lacking on that team as a whole. They also signed him for half of what they might've had to pay a Shea Hillenbrand, for example. Signing Paul Bako? The Transaction Oracle and Camden Chat's SC say it better than I ever could.
Notable non-moves? How about trading both Brian Roberts and Miguel Tejada at the peaks of their value? Don't think either LA team would fork over tons of prospects in order to slot Tejada in as their cleanup hitter and third baseman? (I think I remember reading somewhere that Tejada didn't want to move to 3B, but I read the same kind of reports about Soriano and LF) Don't think they could get a decent return on Brian Roberts while he's still young enough to be considered a semi-elite baserunner? They can in both cases, but they won't. Not as long as Angelos owns the team. Just remember. JWH, LL, TW and TE don't always get it right. But during their tenure, I can't remember Sox fans even considering something like this.
The Orioles are due for a major overhaul and some rebuilding. They're slightly better than middle of the pack, in terms of their farm system, as rated by Baseball America. Taking some of the Angels or Dodgers top-flight talent for Tejada would probably push them several spots up.
Bright Spot:Nick Markakis. Kid seems like the real deal, a good RF defensively and more-than-solid with the bat.
First Step To Improvement:Angelos selling the team to someone...anyone else.
This is obviously the first in a potential series. Should I continue? Opinions/Thoughts in the comments would be appreciated.
This poll is closed
I don't care about other teams. More Daisuke coverage.