What is O’s priority? Upgrade the pitching or the offense?

Here is a question I’d love to get many reader responses on this weekend. As the hot stove season now really begins to heat up, are the Orioles more in need of additions to their pitching or offense?

The stats sheet says the Orioles performed a little better on the mound than they did at the bat in 2012.

Where the O’s offense ranked in the American League this season:

Ninth in runs with 712 (AL avg. was 721)
Tenth in batting average at .247 (AL avg. was .255)
Eleventh in OBP at .311 (AL avg. was .320)
Seventh in OPS at .728 (AL avg. was .731)

While the Orioles ranked second in the AL in homers, they were last in stolen bases and had the third most strikeouts.

Where the O’s pitching ranked in the AL this season:

Sixth in ERA at 3.90 (AL avg. was 4.08)
Seventh in average against at .252 (AL avg. was .255)
Ninth in quality starts with 78 (AL avg. was 81)
Seventh in WHIP at 1.29 (AL avg. was 1.31)

The Orioles ranked ninth in the league in starting pitcher ERA at 4.42 (the league average was 4.37) and third in bullpen ERA at 3.00 (the league average was 3.55).

Despite the fact that the Orioles scored just 10 runs and hit only .187 in the American League Division Series against the Yankees, I don’t buy the argument that the series exposed the offense as an O’s weakness. What it exposed is how hard it will be for the Orioles to score runs when the foursome of Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy and Mark Reynolds combine to bat .133 (11-for-83). It exposed the fact that CC Sabathia is still an ace pitcher. I would look more closely at how the offense fared over 162 games than how it looked during that five-game ALDS.

Still, the O’s offense did perform under league average in four of four team stats categories I listed above, while the pitching rated above average in three of the four. They need more offense. But you almost always need more pitching, and even though the Orioles fared better in the pitching stats, they were not near the top of the AL, even though they were much better after the All-Star break.

So what does all this mean to you? Does the club need more help right now on offense or for the pitching staff?

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