Baltimore Orioles: Two Unanswered Questions Heading into FanFest
Two unanswered questions regarding the 2019 season as the Baltimore Orioles head into FanFest today
There are undoubtedly more than two unanswered questions about the 2019 Baltimore Orioles; you’d expect nothing less for a team seemingly set to lose 100 games next year. However, front office executives aren’t always explicit or direct when they address fans and the media.
Because of that, it’s a bit optimistic to think we’re going to get much new information from Mike Elias or any of his front office staff this afternoon at FanFest. They’re not going to reveal which free-agents they’re interested in, but that doesn’t mean important questions won’t be asked, or that it isn’t a great opportunity for fans and media to connect with the new Orioles staff.
However, there are still glaring issues surrounding the 2019 Orioles.
One of the biggest questions is how the Orioles plan to shore up the weaknesses on their roster. This team needs help behind the plate. They don’t have an experienced third-baseman. Their shortstop is a Rule 5 pick. The back end of the rotation is still unset. There’s limited veteran presence in the clubhouse. Will the Orioles utilize the free-agent market to address any of these issues?
The Orioles have most recently expressed interest in Matt Davidson, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, and we’ve written several times this offseason about potential free-agent candidates who would help the Orioles.
Are Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde ready for the 2019 season with the current roster? We’re already assuming that this team will not be good, and will likely lose somewhere close to 100 games. Adding a veteran free-agent or two is less about making the Orioles competitive and more about ensuring that they aren’t relying on prospects who aren’t ready for the majors, and about improving the defense so the young pitchers on the roster don’t run ERA’s two points higher than their FIP’s.
This season is going to be about player development, and adding the right veteran free-agent could help.
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That leads to the second unanswered question: are Orioles fans ready for a full season, and potentially more than that, focused on player development?
This Baltimore Orioles team is going to lose, and they’re going to lose often. Most fans are cognizant of that, but how long will casual fans continue to give Mike Elias the benefit of the doubt with the rebuild in Baltimore?
We’ve seen a lot of optimism surrounding the Orioles this offseason because we saw what Mike Elias and Sig Mejdal helped build in Houston, and we’re hoping that they can implement some of those same systems here in Baltimore.
But those systems can’t be implemented immediately; it very well could take five years for the Orioles to be in a position to compete in the AL East, especially with the juggernauts in New York and Boston. Most fans are giving this front office the benefit of the doubt right now, but how will that change over the next few months?
The attitude at FanFest should be close to 100% positive. But fans can’t necessarily see player development as it’s happening. We can see progress over time, but how long will Birdland remain optimistic when the Orioles start losing?
How many of you are heading to FanFest today? Let us know how it goes!