|Baltimore Orioles 2003 Preview||| Print ||
Written by Jonathan Leshanski (Contact & Archive) on February 10, 2003
36.5 games back, fourth in AL East
Home: Camden Yard
What’s going on in Baltimore? It’s a good question, and the answer is not a heck of a lot so far. Baltimore has been very interested in adding to their team, but have been shot down a lot by the free agents who they’ve coveted. Perhaps the best move they’ve succeeded in making has been the removal of Syd Thrift as the Vice President of Baseball Operations. They’ve been replaced by a pair of former pitchers in Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan.
Beattie and Flanagan let two of their offensive players, Chris Singleton and Mike Bordick, walk away as free agents. In their place they’ve been searching for offensive players like Pudge Rodriguez and Jose Cruz Jr. So far they have failed to land any of the big fish they have targeted, but that is not a major issue. The Orioles are not going to compete this season.
The one offensive player they have succeeded in signing has been shortstop Deivi Cruz who played last in San Diego. Cruz is a solid shortstop, and is not really a step down offensively from Mike Bordick.
Only one prospect, centerfielder Darnell McDonald, really stands out as ready to jump to the fore in spring training. He has moderate power, some speed, and can hit for a decent average. He’s by no means a sure thing, but the Orioles have one of the worst farm systems currently in the majors, and among that crowd McDonald could be a standout.
The Orioles have attempted to upgrade the pitching staff and managed to snag two new pitchers, Omar Daal and Kerry Ligtenberg. Ligtenberg is an excellent reliever who will contribute by attempting to hold whatever leads the Oriole staff manages to gather.
Daal offers another veteran arm and will step right into the starting rotation. The rotation, as it appears now, looks something like this: Rodrigo Lopez, Sidney Ponson, Omar Daal, Jason Johnson, and Scott Erickson.
What to expect in 2003:
Sadly, it’s more of the same for the Orioles. Expect to see them get pounded, over and over again. Omar Daal is not enough to turn this franchise around, and Flanagan and Beattie still have a lot of work to do. Judging from what is left in this free agent class and what the Orioles have available for trade, there will be a few more years of treading water before this franchise will be capable of making more than a ripple on the pond.