Baltimore Orioles: Low 2018 power rankings in the early Hot Stove
It is a bit early for completely accurate power rankings, but the early off-season Baltimore Orioles are not ranked high for 2018.
In their off-season rankings, Sports Illustrated does not think very highly of the Baltimore Orioles for the upcoming season.
The magazine ranked the Orioles in 21st place, and their reasons for doing so were legit. In fact, they are the same reason that many of us are worried about the team.
The O’s big problem
The Orioles are stuck between the Oakland A’s and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Stuck in the low-middle area of nowhere land in the MLB. Not really good and not bad enough to benefit from being bad. This is not a good place to be.
Sports Illustrated‘s writer who put together this list, Jonah Keri, wrote about the O’s:
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"The bigger problem is that, despite flashes of potential from Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, the Orioles haven’t developed an elite starting pitcher since Mike Mussina…and don’t seem to know what they have on the rare occasion when a top arm sits in their midst."
It is difficult to figure out what Dan Duquette is actually going to do in the off-season. So far, his big moves have been to sign a pair of pitchers. One is 25 and hasn’t made it out the minors and the other was DFA’d by the Athletics. For a team that has the talent it does (Manny Machado, Trey Mancini, Jonathan Schoop), it seems like signing proven pitchers would be the goal.
The other big problems
The Sports Illustrated rankings are also based on the lack of elite talent. While the team does have Machado, Mancini, and Schoop, it also has Joey Rickard, Caleb Joseph, and Mark Trumbo. The team also has an immense “albatross” contract belonging to Chris Davis. If nothing changes, this contract will be troublesome for the team for several years to come. Keri used the word “flaccid” to describe Davis’s batting stats in 2017. Ouch. This is an issue that needs to get fixed if the O’s are going to succeed.
When the 2017 season began, the Orioles were ranked 10th in payroll. While the $160+ million payroll should have landed the team in the playoffs, they used that money to land in last place in the AL East. While much of the money has fallen off through free agency, there are plenty of position to fill. Unfortunately, other teams are looking for the same thing – proven pitchers. This will make them more expensive. This might be why the O’s are signing the unknowns.
Next: Former O's on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot
Honestly, putting the Orioles in 21st place for the 2018 season might be a bit generous. Until the O’s sign a pitcher or two who have a history of success, they aren’t moving any higher than they already are.