2013 Baltimore Orioles Season Preview:
Manager: Buck Showalter (Third Full Season)
2012 Record: 93-69 (2nd in AL East)
Key Additions: UTL Alexi Castilla, P Jair Jurrjens
Key Losses: UTL Mark Reynolds, P Joe Saunders, OF Endy Chavez
2013 Outlook: What Buck Showalter has been able to do in his first two full season as the skipper of the Baltimore Orioles is amazing. He has changed the culture of the clubhouse, and his team responded last year by earning a Wild Card birth. This years roster is practically the same as 2012, so the question is can they keep competing in the best division in baseball?
The starting rotation is questionable at best. I don’t see a true ace. Most of the starters would be 4 or 5 guys on every other team in the division. The only strength the Orioles boast in the bullpen is closer Jim Johnson, who is lights out.
The lineup lacks star power outside of CF Adam Jones and 1B Chris Davis. There are potential strengths in J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis, but health could be an issue for both.
The only reason to believe that the Baltimore Orioles can make another playoff push is Showalter. He has proven to be the leader that Baltimore has lacked for decades, and is one of the smartest baseball men around, and if anyone can navigate a sub par team through the AL East, he is the guy to do it.
I expect Baltimore to drop this season. With a happier and more productive clubhouse in Boston, and an army of stars in Toronto, it is hard to conceive the Orioles maintaining a second place finish in the division. Look for Baltimore to finish fourth, just ahead of Tampa Bay.