President Barack Obama campaigned with a simple one word slogan “Change”, and Orioles’ President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail could do exactly the same thing.
Okay, so the 2009 season for the Baltimore Orioles is full of challenges. I mean, basically the Yankees have already purchased a World Series title. But there is still a lot to look forward to as a fan of the Orange and Black.
- Markakis is the face of the franchise – The Orioles locked up their talented home grown right fielder, who is now the face of change in Baltimore. Everyone is excited about having Nick Markakis as the top man in town and if the organization is going to turn around its 11 straight losing seasons Markakis will be the focal point of that change.
- Jones’ second year – Baltimore made a fantastic trade last year that got rid of a clubhouse cancer in Erik Bedard and brought in an incredible young talent in Adam Jones. If you followed the Orioles last year then you had to enjoy watching Jones learn and grow right in front of you, it will be great to see him learn more this season.
- Ramon Hernandez out, Gregg Zaun in – It is frustrating when your team is losing, but even more frustrating when your overpaid catcher isn’t trying. Which is exactly what Ramon was doing. MacPhail brought in Gregg Zaun, an experienced veteran catcher who will give you his all the entire season.
- Hot Huff – Aubrey Huff‘s numbers were smoking last season. He hit .304, with 108 RBIs, and 32 homeruns last season. You’ve got to be looking forward to seeing what Huff-Daddy will do this season.
- Watching Wieters – Matt Wieters will continue to dominate the minors and work his way to Camden Yards. Wieters crushed the competition in Frederick last year then did the same at AA Bowie. It won’t be long until we see him cranking balls out of the Yard, but we don’t want to rush young talent.
- The Koji experience – The Birds signed their first Japanese player Koji Uehara, which is great for the growth of their international scouting. Watching Koji develop and interact with the other Orioles players will be a very interesting part of the 2009 season.
- Teixeira in Baltimore – It is going to take a long time to forgive Mark Teixeira for going to New York over his hometown Baltimore. So bring your “Tex $ux” sign to the park on opening day or the other 9 times New York comes to visit and sit by first base and let him know what you really think.
- We have a shortstop – Wow. I’m not quite sure how we survived last year doing the shortstop shuffle, but we did. Now we’ve got Cesar Izturis to fill gap. Just enjoy having someone between 2nd and 3rd that isn’t Brandon Fahey.
- A powerful offense – Obviously the Orioles are hurting when it comes to starting pitching, there is no denying that. But their offense is strong and will only get better. Markakis is a .300 hitter, Huff’s bat turned hot, Jones is improving, and the Birds brought back Luke Scott who I believe has the potential to be quite a power hitter.
- MacPhail is running the show – We were told that Andy would be running things and this off season has clearly showed it. Be patient Baltimore, I know you’ve waited 11 years but things are turning around. Have faith in Andy.