2010 Baltimore Orioles Season Preview
For the first time in many years, the Baltimore Orioles enter a season with some actual hope and excitement about the upcoming year.
No, the Orioles aren't likely to compete for an American League East title, but they should be competitive for the first time in 13 years.
Reaching the .500 mark is a stretch, but not a huge one, and the team might even be able to hang around in the wild card hunt long enough to make things interesting.
Baltimore is finally heading in the right direction after years of futility, and you can thank general manager Andy MacPhail for slowly beginning to fix all of the problems with the franchise.
MacPhail continues to invest in the MLB Draft and the minor league system, and the team is set to rehab their spring training facility to make it one of the best in all of baseball.
He went out and added some veteran pieces in free agency that will fill the holes on the roster that aren't occupied by young, talented players.
However, he was smart enough to give out one-year contracts to these players, which will keep them from blocking the path of talented minor leaguers like Brandon Snyder and Josh Bell.
He traded Chris Ray for veteran starting pitcher Kevin Millwood, who will anchor the rotation and be a solid presence for the young flamethrowers around him.
The acquisition of Millwood will also take some of the pressure off of Jeremy Guthrie, who really struggled last year but certainly has the stuff it takes to be a solid starting pitcher.
As for the starting lineup, the Orioles should field one of the top offensive teams in the league. Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Nolan Reimold and Matt Wieters should provide plenty of offensive firepower.
Defense could be a question mark at a couple of positions, most notably first and third base. Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins will both be making a position switch, which could make things a little interesting on the corners.
No, the Birds might not soar in 2010, but they will fly a lot higher than they have in a long time, and that's all fans can ask for right now.