Ranking the Orioles NeedsPosted on December 23, 2013 by John Wilkes
1. Starting Pitching- This could actually be #1-3. Right now the Orioles rotation is good enough to get this team to a max 85 wins. They need at least one more piece. For better or worse the Orioles seem hell bent on waiting for AJ Burnett to make a decision about his future. I’d like to see the Orioles sign Burnett and go out get Matt Garza. You’d have a starting five that looked something like this
1. Chris Tillman
2. Matt Garza
3. AJ Burnett
4. Wei-Yin Chen
5. Miguel Gonzalez/Brian Matuz/Steve Johnson/Kevin Gausman/Bud Norris
This starting five, while far from dominant, would be a major upgrade from last season and gives the Orioles a chance to compete in a loaded AL East
2. Closer- Grant Balfour has now entered Orioles lore. The Orioles are currently talking to former Rays closer Fernardo Rodney. At the time the Orioles are talking with Rodney on lowering his current contract demands.There are also talks of Jonathan Paplebon though the Phillies would have to eat a large chunk of his salary . Personally, I think the Balfour issue was a blessing in disguise. Gives the team a chance to promote a closer internally and spend money elsewhere (hopefully). I think someone like Tommy Hunter or Bud Norris could easily step into the closer role. Though I suspect Norris will compete for starting job (plus I can’t see him wanting to close).
UPDATE: Roch Kubato of MASN is reporting that the closing situation will likely be Rodney or Hunter.
3. Designated Hitter- An actual designated hitter. Not some mishmash of whoever is not starting in left field. Preferably your DH would bat near the top of your line-up and not in the eight or nine spot. Also I prefer the Orioles designated hitter, to you know... hit. Nelson Cruz is still out there and would provide some much needed security for Chris Davis. A 3-4-5 of Jones, Davis, and Cruz would be deadly at Camden Yards.