Bird Talk: O's could contend in AL East, Barlow tribute and more

Live baseball is back and the Orioles are still making headlines.

The Orioles made another splash Tuesday by signing Johan Santana to a minor league deal.

Several national writers have weighed in on the Orioles' offseason. Read below for the latest.

* The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo said other teams in the AL East should be looking out for the Orioles after their February roster additions. By adding Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz, the team has improved itself significantly. By drafting Matt Wieters, Manny Machado, Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman recently, the organization has set itself up to win, according to Cafardo. Read more from Cafardo here.

* USA TODAY's Paul White recently stopped by Orioles camp in Sarasota. White begins his latest edition of "Camp confidential" with a mini-profile of Jonathan Schoop. Schoop doesn't care what position he's playing, as long as he's on the field. White goes on to say that the Orioles became a player in the race for the AL East by signing Jimenenz and Cruz.

* It was just a couple of weeks ago that the Orioles were near the bottom of every winter report card. Sign Jimenez, Cruz and Santana and things will change quickly. CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman released his latest winter report card on Tuesday and listed the Orioles at No. 1. Want to see his complete rankings? Click here.

* As I mentioned above, the Orioles signed Santana to a minor league deal. It's a low-risk contract for a veteran pitcher recovering from shoulder surgery. ESPN's Christina Kahrl agrees. She details what would happen if Santana debuted with the Orioles rotation looking like the pitcher he once was. It's an interesting read and certainly something for Orioles fans to consider.

* Finally, the Orioles lost one of their own last Friday. Orioles PR director Monica Pence Barlow passed away after a battling Stage IV lung cancer since 2009. You can read MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko's tribute to Barlow here. MLB Network ran a touching video tribute to Barlow, which you can watch below. Rest in peace, Monica.

That's a wrap of this week's Bird Talk. Make sure to come back to MASNsports.com every day for the latest on the Orioles.

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