Baltimore Orioles: Beast out of the AL East


The Baltimore Orioles got better yesterday by subtraction…subtraction on a rival AL East team, that is. Tampa traded Ben Zobrist to Oakland yesterday, and I would submit that the O’s will be happy that he’s gone from the AL East. Over his career, Zobrist has played against the O’s in 122 games, and is a career .280 hitter with 15 homers and 61 RBI. At Oriole Park at Camden Yards, he’s a career .300 hitter with 15 homers and 29 RBI.

Courtesy of Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Zobrist of course is staying in the American League, and thus the Birds will still have to contend with him a bit. But for the most part he’ll be setting his sights on Seattle and Anaheim as opposed to giving the Orioles problems. (For what it’s worth, now former Tampa shortstop Yunel Escobar was also sent to Oakland in the trade.)

Some players just play better against certain teams, and that’s a fact. Zobrist had the Orioles’ number for a long time. But perhaps more importantly, he was a part of a team in the Tampa Rays who always seemed to just linger around. He was part of a mindset and an attitude whereby that team sought to simply out-do teams from the north by being as loose as they possibly could. Let’s face it; the Rays pulled some weird stunts over the years, from ugly ties on road trips to theme dress-up days on road trips.

Nevertheless, it’ll be interesting to see what Oakland has once the dust settles. While the Orioles need to focus simply on the AL East for the time being, the AL West is shaping up to be quite a division between Oakland, Seattle, and Anaheim. As I said, the Orioles will still have to face Zobrist, as they’ll be in Oakland on August 3-5th. Oakland will make the return visit to Oriole Park later in the month on August 14-17th.