Now that Christmas Day has come and gone, I wonder if some Orioles players found these gifts under their trees:
* Nick Markakis - His old pop back. No, he won’t hit many homers, but the guy used to fall out of bed and hit doubles. If that returns in 2014 - and we should not forget Markakis had a real solid 2012 season - it would be a big lift for the Orioles.
* Adam Jones - The ability to chase fewer pitches. Few things drive O’s fans more crazy, yet really I see it as a nitpick of a player that produces the numbers he does.
Some fans wonder how much better Jones could be if he chased fewer pitches. I wonder the opposite - that if he became less aggressive, would it hurt his offense? Jones doesn’t walk much and very likely never will and we should probably just accept that at this point. He plays hard all the time and has been great with kids and others in the Baltimore community. He got a big contract from the club but has been earning it. Chasing a few pitches just comes with that package.
* Matt Wieters - A few more days off. Even though his track record shows his bat often gets better late in the year, that bat seemed to be dragging at times late last season. Think the O’s just have to give him more off days moving forward.
* Nolan Reimold - Good health. The guy deserves a break at this point, no pun intended. I still see a potential impact player if healthy, but yes, that is a big if and his bandwagon has really thinned out. A healthy Reimold surely would be a big plus for the 2014 Orioles.
* Tommy Hunter - The ability to get left-handed hitters out. Also an improved off-speed pitch would be nice.
* Brian Matusz - The ability to get right-handed hitters out and the return to form of his changeup.
* Chris Davis - Another big year even if it will be hard to duplicate his breakout 2013 season. I also hope any player that turns into a star before our eyes so rapidly handles it as well as Davis did. The guy stayed humble and hungry throughout and was a total class act with reporters. While national guys were hovering to get the next Davis quote last year, he never forget to take time for the local reporters. Class.
* Brian Roberts, Jim Johnson and Nate McLouth - A strong 2014 season. These are three good guys who helped the Orioles win games and cared about the fans and the city. Just can’t root against them and hope many fans give them nice ovations upon their returns to Camden Yards.
So what gifts do you hope some O’s players got? How about you, did you get any good sports or O’s related presents this year?