There seems to be a concern among some of the Orioles’ fan base that the club wants to return pretty much the same roster as it had last year. A concern that the club may stand pat, so to speak.
I say one big reason to not worry about that theory is the duo of Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter. Those men were at the controls in 2012, when the Orioles led the universe in roster moves. “Stand pat” is not in their dictionaries.
But if the Orioles did return a club next season that looked a lot like the 2012 Orioles, what would be wrong with that?
The worry here seems to center on the club’s amazing record in the close games. The Orioles went 29-9 in one-run games for the best win percentage in major league history. They won their last 16 extra-inning games, the longest win streak in the big leagues since 1949.
No, they cannot count on having that success again. But that doesn’t mean major upgrades or changes to the roster are necessary either.
It seems in looking back at last season, we sometimes look only at what can’t happen again in terms of what went right for the club. But some other factors could also be at work.
* The club may pitch more next season like it did in the second half of last season, when the team ERA was 3.73.
* Manny Machado should play more than the 51 games he did and, if Nate McLouth returns, he may play more than 55.
* Nolan Reimold could remain healthy and play more than 16 games.
* Brian Matusz could thrive in a bullpen role and pitch more than 13 1/3 innings of relief.
* Jason Hammel could make more than 20 starts.
* Nick Markakis could return to full season health and log more than 104 games.
* Mark Reynolds could return and hit 37 homers as he did in 2011 and not the 23 he had last year.
* J.J. Hardy could see his average and OPS return to their 2011 levels of .269 and .801 instead of the figures of .238 and .671 from last season.
* Jake Arrieta could pitch better than someone with a 6.20 ERA.
* Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, who combined for zero starts last year, could enter the rotation at some point in 2013.
I don’t expect to see the Orioles in stand-pat mode, but if they failed to make many moves and instead returned most of the 2012 Orioles, I could live with that.
What do you think?: Are you concerned the Orioles may stand pat? Do you expect to see them make some big moves? Will the Orioles be more active in free agency or trades?