Orioles: Grading the Offseason Part Two
With the acquisition of Kevin Gregg to help shore up the back end of the bullpen it appears that the Orioles have mostly completed their offseason moves. There might be a few more low-risk, low-dollar additions, but the odds of them making a splash from here on out seem remote.
We took our first look at Andy MacPhail‘s performance right after the winter meetings. Time to do it again, starting with a quick recap of the major moves:
- First Base will now be manned by Derrek Lee, who arrives in town on a one-year, “playing for one more big payday after this year” deal.
- Shortstop goes to J.J. Hardy via trade.
- Third Base goes to Mark Reynolds, also via trade.
- The aforementioned Gregg arrives to help solidify the bullpen, which was also bolstered by the retention of Koji Uehara
We knew all along that SS, 1B, and 3B were huge needs. We knew likewise that the bullpen would probably need an arm or two, which became a necessity when David Hernandez got traded.
I can’t imagine anyone making an argument that 1B and 3B aren’t improved. 3B probably more so but Lee is still an upgrade. Hardy has, I believe, the potential to be a very nice addition. Even if you disagree, though, Izturis is back in a backup role so the worst-case scenario is status quo. And I don’t see that happening — Hardy figures to stick and be a decent upgrade.
As for the bullpen, it’s hard to say (given the mercurial nature of relief pitchers) what exactly we’ll end up with. I like Gregg in theory and I know I like Uehara, but I’ve got to wait until Opening Day to really figure out how I feel about the bullpen.
There is, in all of this, one glaring absence: veteran starting pitcher. On the list of needs entering the offseason but, as yet, unmet.
My best guess there is that Andy surveyed a weak FA crop and decided he’d be better off banking on the continued development of young arms. I can’t say I’d argue, but the one huge risk is lack of depth. I’d like to see one or two more arms in camp, even if they’re just #4 or #5 guys. You need a few of those every year no matter what.
Add it all up and I have to repeat my post-Winter Meetings grade: solid “B”. Nothing so outstanding that it rises to the excellence of an “A”, but better than average.
Finally, a note on Alfredo Simon: I’ve been silent on this so far because I don’t have much to say. It’s obviously a tragic situation but until more reliable information comes out I don’t feel like I know enough to comment. All I can say is that I hope it’s a huge misunderstanding, but even if it is somebody still lost his life. It’s a shame.