It’s New Year’s Eve, and like many others, the Orioles are making New Year’s resolutions. Here are five suggestions.
1) Stop talking about 2012
It was a great year, one of the greatest to be an Orioles fan. But, enough. In a few hours, it will be 2013, and no one cares about last year.
Actually, lots of people care about 2012, and while they’ll still compare 2013 with 2012, the Orioles shouldn’t.
Just because they won 93 games doesn’t mean they’ll automatically equal that or win more. They’ll start at zero along with every other team.
Forget about the Blue Jays’ off-season acquisitions, ignore the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays.
2) Do something to get the fans excited about 2013
The fans have watched impatiently for the Orioles to do something big. Yamaico Navarro, Danny Valencia, Alexi Casilla and Trayvon Robinson may be nice guys and solid players, but few fans know much about these guys.
They don’t want Dan Duquette to make any wild trades. They just know that Dylan Bundy will be special, and they don’t want to see him sent away.
But, try harder to make a trade. Most of the big name free agents are gone, so get them a hitter for a couple of those young pitchers.
3) Re-sign Joe Saunders
There are a few marquee names left in the free agent market: Signing Kyle Lohse, Michael Bourn or Adam LaRoche requires surrendering a draft choice, which the Orioles aren’t going to do.
Saunders is one of the better pitchers still on the market, and while it will partially break resolution No. 1 because it will remind people of 2012. It may also not truly excite the fan base, but it will help solidify the rotation.
Signing Saunders will also allow the Orioles to be more aggressive in trading some of the young pitching.
4) Get Buck that extension
The Buck Showalter extension talk started minutes after the season ended, and it’s still going on. Indications are that Showalter will get that extension soon, but it shouldn’t drag on into spring training or else the talk will continue there.
Signing Showalter for perhaps three more years could make him the second longest serving manager in team history, behind only Earl Weaver, a man Showalter holds in high regard.
Showalter will be able to dine out on 2012 for years, but he thirsts for his first visit to a League Championship Series or World Series.
5) Shore up that farm system
Dan Duquette vowed to strengthen the farm system when he joined the Orioles in Nov. 2011. So did his predecessor, Andy MacPhail. The farm system is stronger than it was when MacPhail arrived in 2007. It may also be stronger now.
Besides Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, there is a dearth of marquee names on the farm. Besides the two most recent No. 1 draft choices, there’s infielder Jonathan Schoop and outfielders Xavier Avery and L.J. Hoes.
In order to get the farm system stronger, the Orioles can’t sacrifice their No. 1 pick to sign LaRoche or Lohse. Position players are at a premium in their system.
After the Orioles do all that, they can think about an extension for Matt Wieters, but that’s probably a year away.