Baseball Tonight’s spring training bus tour rolled into Sarasota on Wednesday to check in with the Orioles. Seems like the best jumping off point for our weekly look at what the national media outlets are saying about the O’s.
You can watch Buck Showalter’s BBTN interview above. Their stop also generated the following content:
Jayson Stark wrote about the Orioles’ attempt to repeat their 2012.
ESPN Stats and Info shared some interesting numerical nuggets.
They also take a look at Manny Machado vs. Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez, from a fantasy perspective.
--- In other, unrelated ESPN coverage, Buster Olney had an interesting blog post breaking down the AL strengths of schedules (Insider account needed for full story). It opens with an anecdote about the late Mike Flanagan and how the O’s knew their quick start in 2005 probably didn’t have legs.
Olney says the Orioles have the ninth toughest AL schedule this year:
“In the past, some teams have had a lot of off-days in April, but not the Orioles. They'll play their first game on April 2, and from that point, they'll have just two days off before May 6 -- 32 games in 34 days.”
They also open with only 15 of their first 40 games at home, which I think makes a case that their schedule should be ranked a bit higher on the list in terms of degree of difficulty.
--- The Worldwide Leader also unveiled its Future Power Rankings this week, “a detailed breakdown of the future of every major league franchise.” (Also Insider)
The Orioles rank 18th of the 30 teams.
The dilemma, as Jim Bowden sees it: “They have a plethora of promising young pitchers, such as Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, Kevin Gausman and Bundy, but they all carry question marks. The O's will have to keep an open eye for an available top-of-the-rotation type starter until a few of those youngsters prove themselves.”
--- Tom Boswell of the Washington Post had a column this week comparing two schools of thought: Teams that loaded up with high-priced egos this offseason and ones that largely stayed pat and are leaning on consistency.
I don’t think you need me – or Boz for that matter – to tell you that the Orioles fall squarely in that second camp. The interesting point is that all the favorites this season seem to be the teams that spent big money (or made big trades) in the winter:
“Las Vegas odds show that gamblers think falling in love with team synergy is tantamount to cheap complacency. The O’s and A’s, who did almost nothing in the offseason, are 40 to 1 and 30 to 1 to win the Series. The Giants and Reds, who had slight net-negative winters, are just 12 to 1. The Tigers, 8 to 1, and Nats 17 to 2, with selective additions, get respect. The view of the smart money is clear: Follow the cash. Character optional.”
--- Finally, Tyler Kepner of the New York Times stopped in Orioles camp and wrote about Brian Roberts and his latest comeback. In it, Roberts touches on the support he felt from fans as he had to sit out the team’s playoff run.
“Roberts said he wanted no sympathy but appreciated the fans’ support. They had weathered the losing, too, and felt bad that Roberts, who has played 1,250 regular-season games — all for the Orioles — could not play in his first postseason.”
Those would be the fans who still support Roberts. There are quite a few, as MASN’s Steve Melewski wrote this week, who are far less enamored with the second baseman these days.
Two more quick plugs:
--- Now that the Ravens are moving into hibernation for the spring, Matt Vensel is doing more Orioles coverage over at his Baltimore Sports Blitz blog, so be sure to check that out regularly.
--- And a reminder that Monday night is the Buck Showalter “Marylander of the Year” presentation, which you will be able to watch on baltimoresun.com if you can't make it to the event here at The Sun.
Enjoy your weekend.