Baltimore OriolesLast season: 64-98 (5th in AL East)
This season's prediction:
Key acquisitions: Kevin Millwood (trade, Texas); Miguel Tejada (free agent); Garrett Atkins (free agent); Julio Lugo (trade, St. Louis)
Departures: Melvin Mora (free agent); Danys Baez (free agent); Chris Ray (trade, Texas)
Oh, the O's. Ever since watching them on HTS while growing up in North Carolina, I've had a special feeling for the Birds. Who can forget those goofy three-color caps with the Oriole Bird on them? Or, for that matter, the fact that the mascot is named "The Oriole Bird"? I do love the Orioles, and it was a great time to be living in D.C. in the mid-90s, that's for sure. Which makes this slide past mediocrity and into downright putridness all the more painful. Whatever happened to The Oriole Way?
As the only Oriole in my 2010 collection (so far), Scott was an easy choice as key player. However, he's not a bad choice. Although he's listed as a DH on the card, Scott splits that duty with Nolan Reimold, spending the rest of his time in left field. I like this card, because I like to see Luke Scott celebrating. I hope he does a lot of it in 2010. But if I had to pick a real key player, it would be Brian Matusz. It's his first full season in the bigs - how will he adjust to big-league hitter that have adjusted to him?
The Bottom Line: The Orioles are still a couple of years away from breaking up the Yankees/Red Sox duopoly in the AL East, as reflected in my revised prediction for this year. Still, there are signs of hope in Birdland that the team's first post-season appearance since 1997 is not too far away. This year is about taking out the Tampa Bay Rays as the "best of the rest" in the East - something that the opening series shows is easier said than done. Let's just say I have my doubts that Mike Gonzalez is a big league closer.