Over the next few weeks and months fans and reporters will be tracking the Orioles for a couple of reasons. One, the constant watch to see just how historically bad this team turns out to be. Two, to see who might become the next manager.
For me, this season has turned out so badly, I don't care if they lose 100, 110, 120 or 130 games. At this point, what difference does it make?
Here is what I am most interested in the rest of this season:
Will the core group of young players that this organization is banking its future on improve in the second half and provide hope for 2011 and beyond?
That is the real story for the rest of this season.
Will Matt Wieters start to drive the ball more? Will Adam Jones' recent hot streak at the plate continue? Will Nolan Reimold return and hit more like he did last year? Is Felix Pie a part of the future?
The young pitchers' continued progress and development at the Major League level is very important. Can Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta win now at this level? Has David Hernandez found a home in late relief and Jason Berken a home in the pen?
On the farm, Josh Bell's bat is taking off a bit. The O's may need to get him to the Majors at some point to get some games under his belt at this level before next year.
Will Zach Britton move to Triple-A to pitch in advance of getting his chance at Baltimore in 2011? Or is there a chance that Britton could make it to the Majors later this summer?
At this point I guess if pressed, I really don't want the O's to set records for futility. At the same time, I don't want them to lose out (by winning too much) in getting the first pick in next year's draft either.
Coming into the year, the O's brass seemed reluctant to turn this into a roster almost totally full of youth. They wanted some vets around to help the youngsters along the way. That made some sense. It just didn't work out as planned, almost nothing has for this year.
Time to shift the plan and speed up the arrival of the young, both in the majors and minors.
Hiring a quality, experienced, and big name manager is fine, and that would be a huge move for this organization. They need to do that.
But they also need to fix and/or improve the nucleus of young talent that had people around the sport calling the O's a team on the rise just a few months ago.
That is really job one from now through the rest of this season.