Here's a good question. Does the Orioles' success this season mean they have put losing records in the future behind them for a while now?
It seems there is a good chance that is true. I don't see this season as a fluke. The Orioles now have good pitching depth, in the rotation and bullpen. No, they don't have an ace like CC Sabathia or Justin Verlander, but it didn't keep them from winning 93 games.
They have Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman on the way toward that rotation as well at some point in 2013. If we were to list all the potential rotation candidates for next year here now, it would be a long list.
Also, the Orioles have suddenly become much more attractive to free agents. Most of those players want two things: The chance to make a lot of money and the chance to win, some in that order, others not necessarily in that order.
Going into this season, some fans may have hoped for a winning record to send a message to potential free agents that the Orioles are close. They have gone beyond close to 93 wins. A free agent now is joining a contender, not a team that hopes to make a run.
However, I just don't see the Orioles becoming a team that suddenly throws around money in every direction and chases many free agents. But the ones they do have interest in, whether they are the biggest fish or not, may now have more interest back in them than ever before.
By the way, thanks to a reader of my Twitter account who has a magazine copy of Baseball America's league top prospects lists out before they have released those on their website, we now know that Bundy was rated by BA as the No. 1 prospect this year in the Carolina League. He wasn't in the South Atlantic League or Eastern League long enough to quality for those lists.
Also Manny Machado was named the No. 1 prospect in the Eastern League with Jonathan Schoop No. 14. LJ Hoes was rated No. 15 in the International League.
As for the O's decision to start Chris Tillman tonight and not hold him back for a game Thursday or Friday, I agree with it. The Orioles still have a chance to tie for the AL East and/or gain a home playoff game with a win tonight. They need to get this game. Winning the East and playing at home is important to this team and its chances to move forward.