With all the hot Orioles talk lately from the readers of BSR, I figured I’d stir the pot some more. Trying to invoke some New Year’s spirit, I’ve decided to address the New Year’s resolutions of our beloved Orioles team. I’m not sure what the actual resolution of each guy truly is, but I can easily tell you what they should be.
2012 Baltimore Orioles New Year’s Resolutions:
Matt Wieters’ New Year’s Resolution is to surpass the offensive statistics of Brian McCann- Along with guys like Joe Mauer and Victor Martinez, McCann has been considered one of the league’s elite catchers over the past 6 years. When Matt Wieters was drafted scouts were saying that he would hit for the average of Joe Mauer and with the power of Brian McCann. Bypassing McCann would be a major feat and would immediately put Wieters into elite status. In 2011 McCann put up .270/24/71. Wieters put up .262/22/68. So they were already close. Wieters will be entering his 3rd full major league season and is still only 25 years old. If he were able to jump McCann in 2012, then the Orioles know they have a legit #3 batting switch hitting catcher. Have I mentioned that his defense has already surpassed McCann’s?
Mark Reynolds’ New Year’s Resolution is to at least reach his career batting average- It’s only a .238 career average. That seems pretty bad right? It’s actually pretty solid compared to the .198 he put up in 2010, and the .221 he put up in 2011. For Reynolds it’s all about making small strides towards becoming a better contact guy. We know he’s going to strike out a million times. And I’m fine with that. To me a strike out is actually a preferred out in most situations. Would you rather him lead the league in strike outs, or lead the league in grounding into double plays? I thought so. If Reynolds could raise his batting average he could become a perfect #5 hitter. He’s already been a great addition for the Birds. He made about $5 million last season compared to the $10 million that Carlos Pena was paid by the Cubs. Both are similar players, but Pena hit 9 less HR’s than Reynolds did last season. Team’s like Tampa Bay, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland, and Milwaukee would love to have a first baseman like Reynolds next season. Unfortunately only one of them can sign Carlos Pena while the rest of them will be under par at 1B.
Brian Roberts’ New Year’s Resolution is to not break a nail- Because breaking a nail would cost him at least 50 games. The guy has only played 98 games in the last two seasons. And to think what kind of return the Orioles could have gotten for him just a few seasons ago. Remember when we turned down an offer for Maryland native Gavin Floyd? Floyd would be our best starter right now. The Orioles are already planning on Roberts not being ready for opening day.
Robert Andino’s New Year’s Resolution is to ignore fan criticism- Orioles fans fell in love with Andino down the stretch last year. He really became a fan favorite with his hard play, good defense, and positive attitude. Now I worry that fans will expect too much out of him. At the end of the day he is only a guy who will barely hit for average, barely has any power, and will only steal a mediocre amount of bases. I can see fans expecting Andino to produce the way Brian Roberts did. And when he doesn’t they will call for his head. They may even call him a fluke. Andino has to ignore the negativity next year and keep that positive attitude.
Chris Davis’ New Year’s Resolution is to reach his high ceiling- This guy was a 40 HR prospect for Texas. Just 2 years ago people were predicting him to slug anywhere from 35 to 50 HR’s. I saw a few experts predict that Davis would be in the MVP running of the 2009 season. So what happened to him? Texas got good. With any team other than a World Series caliber team, Davis would have been given an entire season to just play and work out the issues. But because Texas needed to win right away, Davis has never been given a full season chance. Hopefully 2012 will be the first year that Davis gets an entire season to show what he can do. And if Davis can finally reach that ceiling and even top the 30 HR milestone, the Orioles have found lightning in a bottle. It was low risk high reward in acquiring Davis in the first place. This guy could turn out to be the best investment the Orioles have made in the past 10 years. Or he could be a complete bust. Thus the New Year’s resolution.
JJ Hardy’s New Year’s Resolution is to repeat- JJ has had a tough time staying consistent in his career. After hitting 26 and 24 HR’s in 2008 and 2009, he plummeted to 11 and 6 HR’s in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 he bounced back with his first 30 HR season. All he needs to do now is simply repeat. Repeat exactly what he did last season. Even if he falls back into the 20 HR range, which I think he will do, it’s still to be considered a success. The last thing the Orioles need is the guy who hit 6 HR’s in 2010.
Matt Antonelli’s New Year’s Resolution is to have a job in August- What more can I say?
Brandon Snyder and Josh Bell’s New Year’s Resolutions are to win a championship with Norfolk- Because they just aren’t good enough to make it at the big league level. Does it make you throw up to think that the Orioles drafted Snyder in the first round of the 2005 draft over Jacoby Ellsbury, Matt Garza, Colby Rasmus, and Clay Buchholz?
Adam Jones’ New Year’s Resolution is to put it all together- He still isn’t the complete package yet. He’s already achieved everything that he should have achieved. But he hasn’t done everything all at the same time yet. The first thing he has to do is stay healthy. From there he has to at least reach the same offensive numbers that he did in 2011. To be elite he really needs to jump from 25 into 30 HR territory. Plus he needs to get back to Gold Glove form. He needs to stop blowing bubbles, stop making stupid outfield mistakes, and stop dropping balls. With health, consistency, and defense comes elite status. And once that status is met he should find himself as the centerfielder for a contending team out of the AL East.
Nick Markakis’ New Year’s Resolution is to get out of mediocrity- I’m not talking about defensively. He is far from mediocre defensively. Of course I’m talking offense. .284/15/73/12 Really??? Those are your offensive stats? That’s what we get from a #7 overall pick in the draft? Remember when Markakis hit .300 with 20 HR’s for 2 consecutive years and everyone assumed that was the beginning of great things? That should have only been the beginning. He was only 25 years old at that time. Now he’s become a consistent mediocre average, mediocre power, mediocre speed guy. You know who put up better numbers than Markakis last year? Matt Joyce, Melky Cabrera, Howie Kendrick, Jeff Francoeur, and even old man Torii Hunter. Seriously? That’s the company that Markakis is in nowadays. The Orioles have to get more out of him. I hate to say it but the Orioles could have drafted John Danks and Chad Billingsley over him in the 2003 draft. He was also drafted in front of Adam Jones that year.
Nolan Reimold’s New Year’s Resolution is to think of every month as September- Which means he finished strong and looked promising. He should get the chance to start this season and seriously has a chance to break out. By breaking out I mean becoming an everyday player with above average offensive numbers. Reimold can be a guy who hits .280 with 20-25 HR’s. Last September he was finally playing everyday and finished the month hitting .281 with 5 HR 17 RBI and 6 SB. Reimold was impressive in his rookie year in 2009, but hit a rough patch in 2010. A lot of people say that 2010 should be dismissed because of personal problems that Nolan was dealing with. After being injured early in 2011 it was good to see Reimold finish strong. Now that he is 100% and is set to get plenty of at bats he needs to rekindle the Orioles magic of late 2011, and reach potential in 2012. If he doesn’t he will be quickly replaced by….(read down…the next guy)
Endy Chavez’s New Years Resolution is to have people know who he is- No casual fan in Baltimore knows who Endy Chavez is right now. None of them could tell you that he was the guy who filled in for an injured Josh Hamilton last season and excelled big time. When Hamilton went down, Chavez came up. And here is what he did month by month. In May he hit .351, June .283, July .309 with 2 HR 10 RBI 3 SB, August .281, and September .292 and didn’t strike out a single time. That makes a grand total of a .301 season batting average. Guess how many Orioles hit .300 last year? Chavez played a big role for the AL Champion Texas Rangers, and looks to get a lot of playing time with the O’s this year. He could end up platooning with Reimold, would replace an injured outfielder, and could even DH at some points. I have a feeling he will reach his resolution and fans will be wearing giveaway Chavez jersey shirts by the end of the season.
Brian Matusz’s New Year’s Resolution is to be an ace- This one is pretty simple. The guy was the 4th pick overall in the 2008 draft and was the first pitcher selected overall. The upside is there. The high ceiling is there. The talent is there. The flashes of brilliance have already been there. The health has not been there. Matusz wasn’t right all year last year. He was never fully healthy. He needs to be fully healthy to produce. IF he can get to 100% and can stay healthy I guarantee you one big league ace coming right up.
Jeremy Guthrie’s New Year’s Resolution is to ride his bike to 10 stadiums next year- Okay so I saw his actual resolution on Twitter and it inspired me to write this whole thing. There isn’t much more to say about Jeremy. He’s consistent. He is what he is. If he had better pieces around him he would be a great fit for the middle to end of the Orioles rotation.
Tsuyoshi Wada’s New Year’s Resolution is to be Hiroki Kuroda- And that’s not a joke about them looking alike or anything. Most pitchers that come from Japan are complete busts. I can name far more Japanese busts than I can guys that met potential. The only Japanese starter I can think of in the last 10 years that hasn’t been a bust is Hiroki Kuroda. So Wada needs to be a Kuroda and not an Igawa.
Jake Arrieta’s New Year’s Resolution is to drop a run from his ERA- Arrieta seems more polished than most of the young pitchers. If not all of the young pitchers. Arrieta has arrived as a good/mediocre big league pitcher. So he can not have another year where his ERA gets any higher than a low 4. He’s a big boy now so he needs to just do what he’s supposed to do and win 12-14 games with a low 4 ERA.
Zach Britton’s New Year’s Resolution is to checkmate his chess game- Last year was one big game of chess with the league. He came into the league and dominated. Then the league figured him out and dominated him. Then he came back from the minors, figured out the league, and pitched effectively again. Then the league figured him out again and gave him a rough finish. Now it’s time for Britton to come back in 2012, figure out the league again, and checkmate. He has to win this game and become an effective #2 starter for the Orioles.
Tommy Hunter’s New Year’s Resolution is to build a time machine and travel to 2010- Because that’s the only year he was ever really relevant. I like Tommy Hunter. I just don’t understand how he could go from 13-4 with a 3.73 ERA in 2010 to losing his job as a starter in Texas, being shipped out, and finishing 4-4 with a 4.68 ERA. Was it just a down year that he can bounce back from? I don’t think so. I think he overachieved in 2010. I hope for his sake that I’m wrong. I want Hunter to at least find a happy medium and be a low to mid 4 ERA guy. I’m not sure there is room for him in the rotation though.
Alfredo Simon’s New Year’s Resolution is to find his role- Is he a starter? No. Is he a closer? No. Is he a specialist? No. Long relief? Maybe. 7th inning or setup man? Maybe.
Chris Tillman’s New Year’s Resolution is to somehow age 5 years- Because that’s what people expect out of him. I’m tired of hearing everyone talk about Chris Tillman like he’s an afterthought. Here’s the shocking truth. Chris Tillman is younger than Zach Britton. Yes, the young 2011 Orioles’ rookie Zach Britton. That means that Tillman will only be 23 years old on opening day. That’s younger than everyone who is reading this. So lay off of him. Did you really think you would dominate at age 22? The kid is still 7 years away from his prime.
Jim Johnson’s New Year’s Resolution is to be more than a setup man- Kevin Gregg can’t be the closer. He’s not good enough. It has to be Johnson. But Johnson has never really nailed down the closing role when he had previous chances. He’s going to have to succeed this year, because nobody wants to see Kevin Gregg in the 9th inning. Nobody. If the Orioles sign someone like Ryan Madson (long shot, bad decision) then Johnson only has to be a good setup man.
Kevin Gregg’s New Year’s Resolution is to fight once a month- Because that’s the only time that Orioles fans actually like him.
Dan Duquette’s New Year’s Resolution is to become a US citizen again- With all the time he puts in foreign countries looking at international players he probably doesn’t qualify as a US resident. Don’t get me wrong, I really really want the Orioles to be stronger in the international market. We get zero good players from places like the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. There was even a story out about how the Orioles had Jaime Garcia and something went wrong with the paperwork because of translation issues so they let him go to St. Louis. The problem is that I’m not completely sure that Duquette completely knows about these international guys. I feel that he wants to have the reputation of being the international guy, because that’s what his strength used to be. But after being out of baseball for 10 years do you really think he knows exactly what he’s getting from all these guys? I feel like it will be easier to promise the fans numbers from guys they have never seen before. People can be more hopeful about foreign players because they truly aren’t sure what they are getting. He can’t go out and make mediocre American transactions because the fans will complain about the mediocre returns that they received. Case in point is Dana Eveland. Fans were outraged that Eveland was the guy that Duquette was teasing for two days. So to make it look as if the Orioles are targeting higher upside guys all our time is being spent in a place where fans don’t know any better. That way if the players don’t pan out it can be blamed on the transition into the majors. That way the GM doesn’t look as bad. If the Orioles were serious about targeting upper-tier foreign players they would sign Cespedes. That way they could deal Adam Jones, Markakis, or Reimold for pitching. Markakis in right, Cespedes in center, and Jones in left would be the best defensive outfield in baseball. Or Jones could be shipped out for young starters in the Atlanta organization. And then our pitching depth would be through the roof. Could you imagine pitching depth that included Bundy, Jurrjens, Matusz, Beachy, Wada, Britton, Arrieta, Delgado, Guthrie, Hunter, Tillman. That’s assuming that Jones would bring in Jurrjens, Beachy, and Randall Delgado from Atlanta. That situation sounds great to me.
Leave your comments. Let’s discuss.
Follow me on Twitter