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The Orioles are in it to win it, as you should be

Assuming the additions of Dexter Fowler and Yovani Gallardo are made official, the braintrusts inside the warehouse will have spent a past and future sum of $272M. Regardless of future stipulations, 2016 will, at the very least, ooze with excitement.

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Having moved to the beautifully frozen city of Minneapolis nearly a month ago, I prolonged every American millenial's traditional shopping spree at IKEA. Though I find amusement at the Swedish successfully turning droves of people into actual human cattle, I just don't like shopping.

Anyway, an unsuccessful visit two nights ago was followed by yet another outing to stupid IKEA last night. Minutes upon walking into America's best/worst import, I got the news. The Dexter Fowler news. No, it wasn't the $3.99 spatula or the $14.99 rug, but the Orioles agreeing to an extremely club-friendly 3-year, $35M (or $33M as Jon Heyman is reporting) deal that prompted a public fist-pump and probably too loud "oh yeah" near a group of frivolous older ladies. I regret nothing.

Prior to the half-expected agreements with both Fowler and Yovani Gallardo (pending his release from a secret government black site), the Orioles had spent an uncharacteristic $208M. When pen finally meets paper with the O's newest acquisitions, the Orioles will have committed between $276M-$278M this offseason, an uncharacteristic exchange of currency. Though some will bask in the forfeiture of both first round picks, or the massive cumulonimbus clouds on the shore of the franchise's future, let's just...not.

I understand the Orioles were not given the benefit of the doubt, instead just doubt, among baseball's most-trusted prospect valuators. A pair of first-round selections could have been considered more than likely to tip the scale back in the team's favor, buffing out the prospective dent the Orioles are facing. And as the Orioles farm is low on crops, the club has also pushed just north of a quarter of a billion dollars to six players, five of which whom set be at least 30 years-old by season's end.

Nevertheless, while 2017 and beyond has baseball pundits predicting an Orioles' armageddon, tomorrow is so far away. I mean, just today do we officially have everyone reporting to spring camp. Spring is in the air, why can't we smile? For all those power rankings, winter report cards and other meaningless means of forecasting the ultimate in unpredictability, I rain on you some cold, hard, biased, and optimistic truth.

The Good

Though I'm immediately retracting my most previous statement in regards to positivity, I'd be remiss to neglect the Orioles obvious, highly-publicized failures in the starting rotation a year ago. Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez combined for a 4.67 ERA, 18.3 K% and 12.8 HR/FB%, none of which can happen again if the Orioles hope to push for October baseball. The thing is, can it get any worse?

Tillman already looks to be the opposite of a dump truck this spring, a small step to retribution. Last season, Tillman saw his fly ball totals decrease, but his home run frequency rose, which is hard to understand. However, Tillman's inducing of grounders has risen precipitously since 2012, so maybe a little sliver of luck is on his side this go around. Gonzalez was derailed with tendinitis late last summer after a promising start through May, where he had looked to be his FIP-defying self. Did growing injuries in his pitching arm lead to his troubles? One may believe a low-key tough guy like MiGo was doing his all to pitch through limitations, subsequently doing the Orioles a disservice. Perhaps a winter away from baseball did him some good. Mentioning Jimenez hasn't sparked confidence in anyone in nearly six years, but as always, the stuff is there.

Upon completion of his physical, Gallardo presents a hopeful pedestal for what his comrades must do to succeed. As it always is, the Orioles don't have to overthrow the world on the mound. They just have to be OK. And as we know, they've been OK before.

The Great

Adding Fowler to the top of the lineup is going to create an exciting unsteadiness in Baltimore. By that I mean I was just starting to forget the sensations of celebrating a swiped bag or yelling at Buck for doing that because it's stupid. Not to say that Fowler is solely going to change the Orioles base-running philosophy, but who knows what a few more walks, stolen bases and sneaky pop at the top of the lineup can do.

I'll be the first to admit I was hoping Matt Wieters would graciously accept free-agency rather than $15.8M. I was hoping Caleb Joseph's savvy behind the plate and average hitting attack would see closer to 130 games. Still, the proven duo of Wieters and Joseph sees two sides of the same coin; two catchers vying for starting gigs in 2017. Once again, the Orioles won't lose a step behind the plate.

How often has Birdland envied the rise of baseball's OTHER pitching prospects? Maybe, for the first time in a long time, that arm is already here. In what is becoming a weekly PSA, I'm a well-established Kevin Gausman fanboy, and I'm very much looking forward to his enjoyment of a stress-free month of March that hopefully carries into his evolvement into the next big thing. I'm a dreamer.

We get to look at that mug starting in left field. You tell me with a straight face that in any way upsets you.

The Best

Perhaps the green grass on the other side already passed for the Orioles as so many are quick to snark, but maybe it hasn't. We still have Adam Jones blowing bubbles, hitting 25-plus home runs and dazzling in center field. Darren O'Day is back to rock rising fastballs and frisbee sliders. Eno Sarris think Zach Britton throws the best pitch in baseball, so that's cool. Jonathan Schoop's 2016 may revolutionize second base (once again, I'm a dreamer). Chris Davis' home runs and good looks are going to retire in Baltimore. Oh, and Manny Machado is still an Oriole.

All reasons to rejoice.

At the end of last season, I'm not sure any reasonable, Facebook-comment-avoiding fan could have imagined the returns of Wieters, O'Day and Davis could be met with relative bargains in Gallardo and Fowler. Dan Duquette not only managed to coax back three players from the Orioles recent run of success, but also added a pair of established fill-ins at positions of needed improvement. Though the galaxy beyond 2017 proposes scary notions, nitpicking 2016 will find much to do with nothing. Duquette, for better or worse, spent a lot of Angelos money in an attempt to continue a championship brand I'd yet to experience.

For better, I'm going to continue to enjoy it.