Explanation of ratings system and other team previews here
Overall – 61 points (30th MLB, 14th AL)
Starting Rotation – 23 points (27th MLB, 14th AL)
Line-Up – 28 points (T-28th MLB, 13th AL)
Bench/Bullpen/Defense – 10 points (30th MLB, 14th AL)
Offseason Addtions – Adam Jones
Offseason Subtractions – Eric Bedard, Miguel Tejada
Biggest Strength– Camden Yards
The Orioles beautiful ballpark is really the only thing that is going to get people to go to games this year. The Orioles celebrated their 93-loss season by trading away their best pitcher (Eric Bedard) and the face of their franchise (Miguel Tejada). Granted they got a good number of prospects for Bedard and Tejada was named in the Mitchell Report the day after he was traded (excellent work Ed Wade!), but the team does not have a lot of good players left over and considering the teams in their division, they might reach 100 losses this year.
Biggest Weakness– Starting Rotation
Bedard was an elite pitcher, one of the best in the AL. The rotation he leaves behind is a compilation of #4 and #5 starters. Daniel Cabrera has had a couple years now to reach his potential and I don’t think he’s going to. Adam Loewen and Jeremy Guthrie have potential, but the AL East is a real hard place to
Key Player in ’08 – Adam Loewen
If this team wants to be slightly competitive this year, they need one of their pitchers to step into Bedard’s role and give them a chance to win once every 5 days. Loewen has the best chance to be that guy. At 23, he has only pitched 142 innings, but he has all tools to be a 2nd or 3rd starter. He has a good strikeout rate for a lefty, but will need to grow-up fast to fill Bedard’s spot in the rotation.
Player to Keep an Eye On – Adam Jones
The prize catch in the Eric Bedard deal, Jones is an elite, 5-tool prospect who most scouts agree will have a quick rise to superstardom. He will probably get a chance to show off those skills right away and will give the Orioles fans something to hope for in the future.
Outlook/Prediction – 5th place, AL East. As I previously said, the Orioles will be one of the worst teams in the league this year. However, they did get good value back for both Tejada and Bedard and could see some of those players contribute in a couple years. Unfortunetely, their line-up is full of washed-up veterans (Kevin Millar, Aubrey Huff, Melvin Mora, Ramon Hernandez) so there will be A LOT of holes to fill. Along with Jones, it will be interesting to watch the progress of Nick Markakis, the other part of the Orioles outfield of the future. Markakis had an overlooked season in 2007. At age 23, he his .300 with 23 HR, 43 2B, 112 RBI and 18 SB.