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One scout's early take on the 2013 Orioles and the AL East


ChaosLex

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If there's one silver lining, he thought the O's would be terrible last year too. At least he was proven wrong then.

I talked to a major league scout Friday whose territory is strictly the American League East and whose opinion I really respect.

He's always been pretty spot on with his assessments, so I was curious as to what he thought about what has happened with this division since the postseason ended. I'm going to warn you, Orioles fans, he?s not sold on your club.

In fact, if rosters were set today, the scout said he'd predict that the Orioles finish fourth in the AL East in 2013, just above the Tampa Bay Rays. It could have been worse. He initially had the Orioles in last, but changed his mind and flip-flopped them with the Rays.

Now, to be fair, this scout also predicted the Orioles would be the worst team in the division last March, and they ended up winning 93 games and taking the New York Yankees to the fifth game of the American League Division Series. So he isn't perfect. And, we all know, it?s just one man's opinion.

Baltimore hasn't done anything to better their club [this winter], and most people agree they played over their heads last year, the scout said.

Jim Johnson had an unbelievable year. Do you see him repeating that? That good? I don't," he continued. "Pedro Strop had an unbelievable year, but in the last two or three weeks Buck didn't use him, he lost confidence in him. Do I see Pedro Strop having a 1.50 ERA for four months? No. I don't see Miguel Gonzalez repeating. You look at Jason Hammel's starts last year and compare them to where he was before. I mean, they had a lot of guys play over their heads last year and they haven't done anything [this offseason]. I hope I'm wrong. They were a great story.

That assessment changes some if the Orioles pick up a legitimate slugger, but the scout doesn't see that player left of the free agent market.

They need, in my opinion, a middle-of-the-order hitter to help protect Adam Jones. That's what they really need. I haven't looked at a list lately, but I don't know who is out there they could get, the scout said. Nick Swisher? He'd be a nice piece, but I'm not sure that's the real big bat you are looking for. They need someone that can hit 40 [home runs] for them.

It's not all dismal, Orioles fans. The scout believes what Dan Duquette and the Orioles brass have been saying all offseason: There is a market for the so-called cavalry: Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman.

There would be some people interested in those four guys. It's just so hard to get good young pitching that's under [team financial] control for four or five years, the scout said. And people are not ready to give up on guys like them with those kinds of arms.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/blog/bal-one-scouts-early-take-on-the-2013-orioles-and-the-al-east-20121214,0,5386133.story

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Having the Red Sox 3rd or above makes me not elieve anything he says.
A healthy Jacoby Ellsbury and the recent free-agent acquisitions of Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Ryan Dempster will allow the Red Sox to at least return to contention. And he believes the loss of starter James Shields, and a lack of a consistent or proven offense, could sink the amazing payroll-starved Rays to the bottom of the division.

That's his reasoning at least.

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That's his reasoning at least.

The reasoning on the Rays is at least somewhat logical. Granted, he seems to forget they still have Price, Hellickson, and Moore in their rotation. But, those three moves for Boston are band-aid moves that won't come anywhere close to moving the Red Sox to contention.

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The reasoning on the Rays is at least somewhat logical. Granted, he seems to forget they still have Price, Hellickson, and Moore in their rotation. But, those three moves for Boston are band-aid moves that won't come anywhere close to moving the Red Sox to contention.

I disagree with him more on the Rays actually. They'll be just fine at SP, IMO. And with the horeshoe in their keister, I have little doubt Myers will appear later on this year and contribute like Harper/Trout when he does. :P

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I love how the whole point of ever criticism is they can't do it again because they can't.

Why can't Miguel Gonzalez maintain? Seriously why not? The game is filled with late-bloomers and people out of nowhere. One, for example, just won the Cy Young last year. Why can't Hammel do what he did last year? Why can't Machado and Davis take their next steps?

Why can't Jim Johnson do what he did again?

It seems to me the only reason that these guys can't do it again is the name on the front of their jerseys.

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Although I do agree with his overall opinion, that was a pretty vanilla opinion for someone who is a scout and should have a more expanded opinion on a team in his division.

Oh, and EVERY team needs someone who hits 40+ HR. The problem is, there aren't many players who do it. Just six last year...

Hammel may not be as good in 2013, but you'd think a scout would be able to realize the new pitches he's learned to help his success.

I don't see Gonzalez falling that much from what he was able to do last year.

Johnson and Strop probably take a step back. Both can still be solid.

I see this team as an 85 win team with the chance for a 5 game swing either way.

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I do think people are taking the Red Sox too lightly. I don't expect them to go back to being a dominant team, but they'll be competitive. Look at who was playing for them in the second half of the year -- guys like Ciriaco, Aviles and Lavarnway. They still scored 22 more runs than the Orioles for the year, desite a .683 OPS in the second half. Sure you can say they've overpaid for the guys they've gotten, but they will return the Red Sox to being a solid offensive club. They may have trouble preventing other teams from scoring, but they'll be much better in 2013 than in 2012.

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It's amazing how people within MLB see with absolute clarity what the Orioles' situation is like, but a lot of fans on the OH that follow the team religiously keep saying that we're going to be okay when we won't. Roy gets it, Tony gets it, other sports writers get it, but for a lot of the OH mainstays, few seem to realize that we succeeded through a combination of luck, players over-performing and the Red Sox falling apart.

The Red Sox players have something to prove and they will score and score often. Blue Jays are going to be monsters. Yankees and Rays will not go away.

These are the best points:

Baltimore hasn't done anything to better their club [this winter], and most people agree they played over their heads last year, the scout said.

Jim Johnson had an unbelievable year. Do you see him repeating that? That good? I don't," he continued. "Pedro Strop had an unbelievable year, but in the last two or three weeks Buck didn't use him, he lost confidence in him. Do I see Pedro Strop having a 1.50 ERA for four months? No. I don't see Miguel Gonzalez repeating. You look at Jason Hammel's starts last year and compare them to where he was before. I mean, they had a lot of guys play over their heads last year and they haven't done anything [this offseason]. I hope I'm wrong. They were a great story.

That assessment changes some if the Orioles pick up a legitimate slugger, but the scout doesn't see that player left of the free agent market.

They need, in my opinion, a middle-of-the-order hitter to help protect Adam Jones. That's what they really need. I haven't looked at a list lately, but I don't know who is out there they could get, the scout said. Nick Swisher? He'd be a nice piece, but I'm not sure that's the real big bat you are looking for. They need someone that can hit 40 [home runs] for them.

Even if Baseball America did a comprehensive analysis of the reality of our situation, you'd still get someone here saying that it isn't the case. We do need a MOO hitter. All the name calling and naysaying won't change that. That's what a lot of us have been saying.

The ostrich syndrome is getting out of hand these days.

MSK

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