For those of you who are reading this blog simply because of the entry title...I like your style in music. Good to see Marvin Gaye fans in O's Nation.
That being said, I'm intrigued by what the Orioles have the potential to do in 2010. One thing is for sure, they do need to get something on in 2010. According to Andy MacPhail's blueprint, this is the year slated for results.
The 2009 rookies aren't rookies anymore. It's not about MLB debuts this year. It's not about rebuilding and focusing on the future. As MacPhail said himself, 2010 is about wins and losses.
Perhaps this isn't the year when the Orioles take the AL East, but progress in the standings come September would be a realistic goal. So is the first .500 finish or better in twelve years.
I wonder...would fans be happy with that goal? Or are fans not happy unless there is a post-season?
There are a couple of things I think will be crucial in deciding the success of the O's this year:
One is how does Trembley react now that he is asked to make the players more accountable? He said he'll bring down the "hammer" this year. I think more accountability across the board is a good thing, but I hope on Dave's part, it's done in a way that's not forced. Players aren't used to seeing him that way.
It's hard to get tougher on players when you haven't been that no-nonsense manager from day one. It's hard to be taken seriously when you switch managerial styles with players who've played under you for two years. Trembley's been a player development guy his whole career. That is why he was given the job as O's skipper two and a half years ago. This will be the first time he's asked to manage a truly veteran team.
The second key to success in 2010 will be how the sophomore class performs - especially the pitchers. Brad Bergesen found success in the short amount of time he pitched from the end of April to July. Can he duplicate that success through 162 games? Also, how do hitters adjust to Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, and David Hernandez? Remember there is now a lot of tape out there on those players. Big league hitters will be more prepared for them. A lot is riding on these young pitchers.
Third, who's going to be the Orioles' big bat? The potential is there for a few players. I don't believe the Orioles have a 35-40 home run guy, but they do have a couple who could be in the 20-25 range. We'll see how Nolan Reimold comes back from Achilles heel surgery. We'll see if Adam Jones can play an entire year the way he did in the first part of 2009 when he earned an All-Star selection. Can Garrett Atkins return to his 2006-2007 form with the Rockies? Any of these guys could be the big bopper. The question is who? If it's nobody, the Orioles will be in trouble in the cleanup spot.
Lastly, many baseball insiders think this could be a big year for Matt Wieters. MLB insiders are predicting he'll hit 20-25 homers this year. Many feel his upside for power is more than any other rookie from 2009. I think the fact that he eased his way into the big leagues and started hitting better in the second half of the year shows he's not a guy who comes swinging out of the gate. He's patient, listens and learns. In my opinion, he'll be the most interesting player to watch, development wise, on the O's roster in 2010.
I'm looking forward to seeing the O's new spring training home in Sarasota. As always at this time of the year, the optimism runs high. I believe a lot of the pieces are in place, while some are still missing. It could be a year where we see a lot of change, and I believe that's what the fans have been waiting for.