There’s no question that after taking nine of the last 13 American League Titles, the American League East Division is not one you want to be a part of if your team is not firing on all cylinders. The Yankees, Red Sox and Rays are not a threesome any team wants to face 57 times, let alone for the perennial last place Baltimore Orioles.
The Orioles have been busy this offseason though. New to the lineup is 1st Baseman Derrek Lee. If he remains healthy, even at age 35, he brings respectable power to the lineup. Putting him in front of Nick Markakis should give Nick some better pitches to swing at.
Also new to the lineup is 3rd baseman Mark Reynolds. While Mark is a low .200 hitter who strikes out as many times, his 32 home runs are an improvement to the Orioles lineup. Mark will help really provide balance to the lineup. Power throughout. A pitchers nightmare even beyond the middle of the lineup.
Finally, the Orioles acquired slugger Vladimir Guerrero. The O’s hope Vladimir is the cleanup hitter they’ve been searching so long for. He is being counted on this season for 30 long balls and 100 RBIs.
Even if these free agents don’t live up to their previous statistics, the new and improved Baltimore lineup still figures to finish better than last place in the AL East in 2011. I know a +.500 season would at least bring back such great but jaded Orioles fans to a previously more-than-half-empty Camden Yards. I predict that late in the season, the Orioles will at least be playing meaningful baseball.