This twisting in the wind routine is getting old. From a fan's perspective, I want to see more.
In 2012, we were treated with the first post season taste since 1997. We have a solid core of Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, Manny Machado and a few others. The pitching prospects are highly touted. The fans per game have gone up in the last few years. TV viewership and merchandise sales are up. The team (if you include MASN) is valued at 1.1 billion dollars. Yet the front office has not upgraded them team in any significant way this offseason.
I am not impressed with the Orioles at the moment. Jim Johnson leaves via trade, we sign someone to replace him but then he doesn't pass the physical. So now we have no real closer. The team still has huge holes and question marks in the starting rotation, at second base, and in the outfield. To add insult to injury, longtime Oriole Brian Roberts departed the team as a free agent to sign a deal with the Yankees. But as fans we are told to be patient, that other deals may still happen, that A.J. Burnett could be here this month. I don't know what to believe anymore. After back-to-back over .500 seasons, I had expected more from this club.
Then again, us long time followers of the team are usually disappointed with the offseason results. We had the bloated payrolls of the late 1990's that did nothing. We had the upgrades in 2004 that were supposed to right the ship (Tejada and Lopez). We saw high draft pick after high draft pick not pan out. We saw the revolving door or GM and managers. And we saw the retreads that got paid a lot for nothing (Sosa and Guerrero). The Angelos family is the one constant in all of this. And while the Orioles front office has earned a little more given their recent successes, a step back now in terms of performance will cause to fanbase to clamor more and stop showing up.
I am a pretty big Orioles fan. I attend anywhere from 10-40 games a year. I live a mile from the ballpark. I am the kind of person the Orioles count on to follow the team through thick and thin. What we as fans ask is that the front office do its best to gather the best talent around via draft, trade and free agency and to keep great lineups together as long as possible. That was the core of the Orioles mantra in the 1970s. Build and keep together what you can for as long as you can. We can complain that the Yankees spend way too much, but if you look at their five titles since 1996, the core players that the Yanks cultivated were part of all of them: Jeter, Rivera, Posada, and Pettite.
There is still time for some more maneuvering prior to the start of the season. I know that and I need to be patient. Still holding out that hope for a big splash signing or move that will ramp up our enthusiasm and give us the ever so subtle hope that we can compete. In Buck I trust.