FanGraphs.com’s* Dave Cameron is rolling through his Organization Rankings for the upcoming 2012 baseball season and Monday he took an in depth look at the Orioles.  If you’re an O’s fan who can’t wait for Opening Day, you might want to click to “back” button.

Cameron ranks organizations on a 20-80 grading scale with 50 representing the league average.  Franchises are critiqued on 2012 Outlook, 2013+ Outlook, Financial Resources, Baseball Operations and Overall.

Unfortunately, the Orioles finished below averaged in each category.

  •  2012 Outlook: 31 (29th in MLB)
  • 2013+ Outlook: 37 (28th in MLB)
  • Financial Resources: 42 (24th in MLB)
  • Baseball Operations: 33 (30th)
  • Overall: 36 (30th)

I found Cameron’s breakdown of the O’s financial resources to be particularly depressing.

This is the area where the Orioles should really be strongest, as Baltimore is a large metropolitan area that has a long history of supporting baseball, and Camden Yards remains one of the premier venues in the sport to watch a game. From 1995-1997, the Orioles had the second largest payroll in baseball, trailing only the Yankees. In 1998, they passed the Yankees, and spent more on their Major League roster than any other franchise. When the team was winning, Peter Angelos was happy to invest in the roster, but years of losing have caused a cycle of declining attendance and dwindling payrolls. The Orioles now spend a fraction of what the Yankees spend, and it’s hard to imagine that they were once a franchise that went toe-to-toe with the big boys in spending.

He later writes that the only way the Orioles will see an improvement in revenue will be if they put together a winner on the field and says that “premium free agents aren’t overly interested in playing for the Orioles until they prove they can contend again.”

I’m sad.

* – That’s two Fan Graphs references in four days, Ross.