Early gloom is palpable in Birdland, but, hey, Andrew Cashner is doing his part so far - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Early gloom is palpable in Birdland, but, hey, Andrew Cashner is doing his part so far

Photo credit: Craig Landefeld

All I can say is thank goodness for right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Or this site might have to be renamed BaltimoreCrocheting.com or something equally less controversial, something that doesn’t get the emotions going, something that may not pay the bills.

Let’s face it. This has not been a good winter/spring for the Orioles or, in particular, their fans.

The team won 75 games last year and finished in last place.

And the roster does not look appreciably better in 2018, while the division rival New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox seem to be better than they were in 2017, when they both were playoff teams.

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Meanwhile, the worst rotation in the history of the Orioles’ franchise added Cashner and got rid of Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley and Jeremy Hellickson.

Maybe that’s addition by subtraction, but no obvious fifth starter has emerged and skeptics abound in regards to fourth starter Chris Tillman, who had a career worst campaign in 2017 and then walked six of 14 batters in his first Grapefruit League outing this week.

And while the Orioles have poked around the free-agent edges, the Philadelphia Phillis have signed old friend Jake Arrieta to a three-year (albeit expensive) contract and Lance Lynn inked a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins.

The Twins are not exactly the deep-pocket Red Sox and Yankees. Although, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The Orioles aren’t getting pitchers on one-year, make-good deals unless they overpay significantly or those pitchers have few other suitors. No one is coming to Camden Yards and pitching versus the American League East when solid alternatives are presented.

The Orioles’ bullpen should be fine again, but it has already lost closer Zach Britton through May due to an offseason Achilles injury.

And the offense should score some runs, but it is still rather one dimensional and fairly right-handed. Now designated hitter Mark Trumbo is out for a few weeks with a strained right quad and first baseman Chris Davis hasn’t played since March 2 due to a sore right elbow.

Some may believe it’s a good thing not having Trumbo and Davis, who had rough 2017 seasons. It’s not. For the Orioles to be more competitive this year, they need Trumbo and Davis to have rebound seasons, not prolonged absences.

Yes, there have been injuries, and key holes not filled, and some shaky performances at the back end of the rotation.

There also have been more wins than losses in the exhibition seasons and encouraging play from some Orioles youngsters.

Cashner, who is the club’s big free-agent addition, has done his part to shrink the pit of misery, allowing just one run in five innings Friday against the New York Mets. He’s now allowed one run in nine innings in his two Grapefruit League starts. Kevin Gausman’s also looked fairly good. Dylan Bundy has offered mix performances.

Ultimately, none of this matters – except the key injuries, of course.

Still, it’s only March. And soon I’ll be typing it’s only April, and then only May.

You can’t judge a 162-game season by the first two months of the regular season. And certainly not in March.

That said, I’ve heard more vitriol about this team from fans this spring than I have since the spring of 2012, which, incidentally, gave way to a pretty good regular season.

There are legitimate deficiencies here; I’m not minimizing it. There are some real reasons fans – and the organization — should have concerns.

But let it play out a little. BaltimoreCrocheting.com has a terrible ring to it.

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Eldersburg Enigma

    March 17, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Davis and Trumbo are hurt, the team needs left handed hitters, and there’s a first baseman still unsigned who has 3,000+ hits and 500+ home runs. Crazy market!

  2. Bancells Moustache

    March 17, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Pit of misery, dilly dilly!

    The good news is we will find out what this team is made of quickly. Anyone looked at the absolute buzzsaw that is the first month schedule? Yikes. If we do need to take up crocheting, we should be able to make the Memorial day yarn sale.

    I brought this up the other day, but who’s handicapping the Opening Day starter race? I suppose Gausman is the front-runner, although at post I liked Bundy. Tillman was my dark horse as a sort’ve “thanks for the memories” deal but now Cashner is making a push. Thoughts?

    • Dan Connolly

      March 17, 2018 at 10:25 am

      I would think Gausman with Bundy as 1A. I see a 2 horse race.

  3. Dblack2508

    March 17, 2018 at 9:22 am

    I think Gausman will be the opening day pitcher. The schedule is not kind to the Orioles for sure. The lack of obp guys in the lineup is a major concern, the depth in the minor leagues has improved a bit.
    As everyone discusses here, its all about how the pitching goes.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 17, 2018 at 10:26 am

      All 5 2017 AL playoff teams play the Orioles in April.

      • SkiClanPop

        March 23, 2018 at 9:34 pm

        So if they can play around 500 ball till May that should keep us right in the thick of things gotta remember the Sox n Yanks play each other 19 times too

  4. Orial

    March 17, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Everyone talks about how the pitching has to improve immensley which is true BUT improvement by Manny,Davis,Trumbo is almost mandatory too. A hidden concern is–how to replace Castillo and his clutch hits(a little pressure Caleb).

    • DPG0124

      March 17, 2018 at 9:57 am

      Honestly I’m happy with Caleb as a starter, when he’s had consistent playing time (like when Weiters was hurt) he has shown some ability with the bat and was known as a bat-first guy coming up.Also, he’s MUCH better defensively than Castillo.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 17, 2018 at 10:26 am

      I’d agree with the main points from both of ya.

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    March 17, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    As far as the monster schedule in the 1st month, I look at it this way: Are we now supposed to be afraid of the Twins? And perhaps it’s good to get the ‘Stros & Yanks, Sox and the Tribe this early in the season while their bats may be sleeping and they haven’t figured out just how good they’re supposed to be.

    It’s baseball my friends, and all we need is a little of that ol’ Oriole Magic, and if UMBC’s win over UVa last night is any indicator, perhaps there’s a little bit of that in town already!

    So now Dan … is the fake beer green today?

    Go O’s

    • Dan Connolly

      March 18, 2018 at 12:41 am

      Fake. Green. And Free. To celebrate U Made a Brilliant Call.

  6. il BuonO

    March 17, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks, Dan. Still a little room to add on, but it’s perhaps not as dire as once thought.

    I like the addition of Rasmus on a MiL deal, too. And Valencia rakes LHP. A couple under-the-radar moves there. Alvarez is solid vs lefties, too, and Gentry is a good 4th OF. Cortes looks promising and Mesa has better stuff than he’s shown so far.

    On the questionable side, Mike Wright. I just don’t trust his results thus far, but we’ll see.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 18, 2018 at 12:42 am

      It’s seemingly Wright’s last chance. Fish or cut bait. Os would love to see him fish.

  7. terp80

    March 17, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    I think that Pedro/Valencia will easily out OPS Trumbo at DH…the O’s will hit better with Trumbo on the DL…

    • Dan Connolly

      March 18, 2018 at 12:46 am

      I think you are going off one bad year – .686 OPS. He has a career .763 OPS and had an .850 one in 2016. Just a normal year for him and he won’t be “easily out OPSd”

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        March 18, 2018 at 4:37 pm

        When I saw Trumbo play b4 he got hurt, he seems to be pressing. Swinging at a lot of pitches out of the zone. Wasn’t drinking the Showalter ‘water’ regarding why we don’t defend foul territory and why we shouldn’t swing at balls out of the zone!!! On a different note: I have been ordering the MLB package since 2012, so I’ve seen a lot of O’s games and saw a ton of O’s fans at away games. Any chance MASN gets more ‘global’ so I can just watch the O’s instead of paying for other teams games I’ll never watch??? They could have quite the market they’re not tapping into for me and others alike if I could just order MASN.

  8. Sizemo

    March 18, 2018 at 1:03 am

    Good time for the FO to read Money Ball or rent the movie.
    What a freaking mess.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 18, 2018 at 11:09 am

      Moneyball worked because the A’s had three outstanding young pitchers. That’s the real baseball movie. Grow your own stud pitchers.

  9. Dante

    March 18, 2018 at 10:22 am

    The early gloom may be Palpable but it is definitely not Palatable.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 18, 2018 at 11:10 am

      Oof. I need an editor on occasion.

  10. Rusty Trumbo

    March 18, 2018 at 10:55 am

    They’re not terrible – but they could be quite a bit better with another reliable ML starter

    My fear going into the offseason was they didn’t fully commit to going for 1 more run or fully commit to a true rebuild. It feels like that is exactly what is playing out.

    • Dan Connolly

      March 18, 2018 at 11:12 am

      I agree. Been saying that for months. I’d prefer either or. Not just a middle-of-the-pack thrust.

  11. Jbigle1

    March 18, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Trevor Cahill seemed like a very good fit to me in Baltimore yet we were never linked. I don’t understand why we refused to take a look at him. He has a high GB% and would give us SOME kind of proven ML experience as a backend starter. It’s justirritating that we didn’t even kick the tires on a guy like that. We’re just fine to go into the year with wright and Castro( not a starter). I don’t know.

  12. PA Bird Lover

    March 20, 2018 at 11:45 am

    What is PA hoping for, the re-birth of Jim Palmer? Wake up PA, Cobb could turn the rotation into at least an average staff. There is no one left that can do what Cobb would bring.

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