Following, undoubtably, the most successful orioles season in the last 15 years, it seemed almost a definite that the orioles would aggressively pursue well known players either through free agency or via trade. Hearing the orioles name pop up in Josh Hamilton talks (even though there may have been no truth to such conversations) only solidified the idea in my mind that someone significant would be wearing orange and black next season for the first time. Ultimately, it is January 29th, only two weeks or so away from spring training, and the most exciting move out of birdland has probably been the signing of now 27 year old, Jair Jurrjens, who posted a horrendous 6.89 ERA last season before being released by the Braves. One could even make the argument that even last year's offseason was more interesting as the O's managed to sign Wilson Betemit, Endy Chavez, Wei Yin Chen, and traded Jeremey Guthrie for Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom. Not exactly the most exciting offseason but without a doubt it involved more action than the current one.
That being said I am left more excited than ever for this season and I am actually starting to like the fact that Duquette has held firm with the players that created so much magic last season. As the saying goes, "don't fix what isn't broken". While the Al East has gotten MUCH better with the Blue Jays and Redsox making large improvements to their rosters and the Yankees and Rays already being two of the better teams in the league last season, I still believe this orioles team, as it is currently constructed, can build on last year's success and prove that it wasn't just magic brewing in Baltimore. Baseball people tend to bring up the one run games, or the extra innings and state that it is something that can not be repeated. It is in this way that they attribute the orioles 2012 success to luck. While, I can't deny that it would be extremely difficult to repeat such results in one run games, there is no such thing as a fluke in baseball. 162 games is a lot and therefore every team's strengths and weaknesses are always clearly displayed over the course of the season. Last year, the orioles proved to be a top 8 team in all of baseball. That team that achieved such a feat only lost Mark Reynolds, who while he is a fan favorite was certainly not our best player, and possibly Joe Saunders. Not to mention, while my hopes aren't too high, there is a legitimate possibility that two key players could be added to that roster in 2013. Those are Brian Roberts and Nolan Reimold. If these two can stay healthy it will give the orioles a huge boost just like a free agent to other clubs or a big trade.
At the beginning of the offseason I was extremely anxious and wanted desperately for a big name to sign with the orioles as a result of their recent success but now I realize that maybe its better that it hasn't happened. The Angels brought in a guaranteed hall of famer to go along with the rookie of the year and an above average pitching staff and still managed to miss the playoffs. There is alot of depth in the orioles organization and while they may not be the best players, there is always someone with major league experience waiting to get the call up when needed. Just look at the second base position. Yes Ryan Flaherity, Alexi Casilla, Danny Valencia, and a broken Brian Roberts may not be the best or even average but I'd rather take my chances with four experienced, hungry players than one or two. I love Duquette's interest in small risk, high reward players. It is for these reasons that I like the fact that the orioles continue to make small moves and float under the radar. After all, it is this group of guys that created so much excitement last year and I think they might just do it again.