ORIOLES HOT STOVE

Hello everyone and allow me to introduce myself. My name Is Alan Z and I will be writing the new Camden Central Blog. I am a life-long O’s fan from Baltimore residing in Florida. I will deliver a fair and impartial blog. I will not bash the organization, I will criticize when necessary. There is a difference between the two. I welcome all of your comments and opinions on all of my blogs and look forward to hearing from all fans, Oriole, Yankee; Red Sox fans, it doesn’t matter let the comments fly.

 The Orioles had a very promising finish in 2010, under Buck Showalter the O’s finished with a 34-23 record. No losing season has ended with such hope for the future since the “Why Not” Orioles in 1989. The Orioles were expected to contend in the mid to late 90’s but after finishing 54-107 in 1988, no one expected the 1989 Orioles to take the Toronto Blue Jays to the last weekend of the 89 regular season. With the recent turnaround of perennial cellar dweller Tampa Rays, the Orioles and their fans are expecting a similar organizational build to continue and a much improved 2011 season.

Showalter has begun the off-season getting his coaching staff lined up. Showalter brought in long time friend Mark Connor as the Orioles pitching coach for the upcoming season. Connor has been on every staff that Showalter has ever managed. Connor becomes the 12th O’s pitching coach since 1994. Oriole’s interim mid-season manager Juan Samuel has yet to agree to terms to rejoin the club as its third base coach and recently The Baltimore Sun reported that former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu will become the bench coach in Toronto. Wakamatsu had done the same job for Showalter when he managed the Texas Rangers.

The Orioles may be coming into the season with the youngest staff in Major League Baseball once again. A staff that has to constantly battle 4 of the top 10 offenses in all of baseball. Jeremy Guthrie will lead the top of this young staff and Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergsen, Zach Britton, Chris Tillman, Rick Vanden Hurk and Troy Patton will all look to round out the rotation come spring. The Orioles will need to add a veteran innings eater once again as Kevin Millwood will sign elsewhere. Some potential targets for the O’s are Jon Garland, Carl Pavano and Jake Westbrook, all have been mentioned as possible inning eater replacements for Kevin Millwood. I will get a lot more in-depth on this coverage in the next few days.

Orioles President of Baseball Operations Andy Mcphail has made no beans about acquiring a bat for the middle of the lineup and the Orioles defiantly need a corner IF with power. A power hitting third or first baseman to squeeze in between Markakis, Jones and Wieters is needed for this organization to build on its successful finish in 2010. The O’s I-95 Beltway rival has a guy the O’s may be interested in. Adam Dunn (.260, 38HR, 103RBI). Eutaw St would be a nice easy short stroke for the 30-year-old Dunn. I’ve heard Cubs first baseman Derrick Lee could also be an Oriole next year but I don’t see McPhail going that route. My sources tell me that smart money is on a guy the Orioles have been coveting since 2005.  Paul Konerko, The Orioles actually offered more money than the White Sox did in 2005 but Konerko took less, stayed put and tried to win another World Series with Chicago.  At 34 Konerko won’t get the top-tier free agent money, opening the door for the O’s to get him at a decent price. Konerko had a great 2010 season putting up solid power hitting numbers (.312, 39HR,111RBI). Konerko would be a nice addition to a clubhouse filled with youth and inexperience. The Orioles won’t offer to 3B Adrian Beltre, after trying to land him last off season, he was clear about not wanting to be an Oriole during free agency last year. Another 2010 Red Sox that could play in Camden Yards in 2011 is Victor Martinez (.302, 20HR, 79RBI’S). Martinez could play first base and DH as well as do some catching at times. The only problem in dishing out the money Martinez may want are his injury concerns. Martinez  played in just 127 games in 2010. The Orioles certainly have a lot of opportunity to make a splash in the off-season. Please O’s fans don’t look for Cliff Lee or Carl Crawford to be wearing black and orange next year but it’s fair to say that a few good veteran names could be. Andy McPhail will sign the players best fit to be an Oriole in 2011, players that will help this team improve upon a promising finish in 2010. Buck Showalter will get the most of what McPhail hands him and O’s fans should start to see a return to the Oriole Way next season.

Look for Orioles Hot stove talk weekly on his blog. Any breaking news will be met with an updated blog.

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