Three Major Additions to the 2015 Baltimore Orioles
By Mike Franz
Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Baltimore Orioles fans are a little upset right now. As the off-season continues, it seems like the “big name” free agents are signing anywhere but to Baltimore. It also seems like blockbuster trades are being made with the Baltimore Orioles on the outside looking in. Whatever it may be for general manager Dan Duquette, it appears he seems content with not shopping to fill the holes in the Orioles outfield.
This makes Orioles fans confused to a certain degree. However, like I always say when it comes to the business side of things in this sport, “In Duquette we trust.”
In order to ease the minds of many Baltimore baseball fans, let’s remember that the 2015 Orioles will have three major additions to the roster that were not there at the end of the 2014 season.
Matt Wieters is returning from season-ending Tommy John Surgery next season. The two-time Gold Glove Award winner and three-time All-Star had hit at least 22 home runs and 68 RBI in each of the last three seasons prior to the 2014 season.
Wieters will add stability to the bottom part of the lineup as well as spectacular defense from behind the plate.
Manny Machado is also returning from a season-ending knee injury in 2014. Hopefully 2015 will be the year that Machado plays his first complete season in the Majors without being sidelined by injury.
If Machado stays healthy and continues the tear he has been on while with the Orioles, it almost seems certain that he will be awarded his second career Gold Glove Award.
Machado is a career .278/.313/.434 hitter with 112 extra base hits and 129 RBI. Machado could be a great No. 2 hitter in the batting order and, of course, his defense speaks for itself.
Lastly, the Orioles will be getting Chris Davis back after he serves his last game of his suspension on Opening Day next season. Yes, Davis did not hit with consistency at all last season and his strikeout numbers were up in 2014. With all that being said, Davis still hit 26 home runs and 72 RBI.
Although I do not expect his numbers to be like they were in 2013 with 53 homers and 138 RBI, I do expect him to return to around a .275 batting average with close to 32 home runs and 80 RBI. If he does, then fans will be quick to forget about his performance in 2014.
Knowing these three will be back, along with a more mature, developed Jonathan Schoop and a J.J. Hardy at shortstop, this Baltimore Orioles infield is good to go for the 2015 season.