Any casual fan of baseball know the Orioles are terrible and stand no chance in the AL East with the powerhouses of New York and Boston, the recent dominance of Tampa, and the rising prominence of Toronto. But just how bad are they?
The Orioles are so bad that they had several potential candidates turn down the vacant GM job. They end up hiring Dan Duquette, who has been out of baseball for almost a decade. To his credit, he basically built the Red Sox team that won the 2004 World Series, and was fired more for being a prick than being bad at his job. So far, Duquette has been either a super-genius or the biggest idiot on the planet. He somehow set back South Korea-US relations 20 years over a 16 year old who throws 80-83 MPH, and he also signed a New Zealand softball player. These things sound incredibly stupid, but could turn out to be really smart (probably not though).
Matt Lindstrom, Jason Hammel, Chen We-Yin, Tsuyoshi Wada, Wilson Betemit, Endy Chavez
Jeremy Guthrie, Luke Scott
A Projected Lineup (Using ZIPS projection system for the statistics)
Brian Roberts 100 OPS +, 153rd best in the Majors
Nolan Reimold 99, 170th
Nick Markakis 107, 98th
Mark Reynolds 108, 87th
Chris Davis 97, 200th
Matt Wieters 105, 111th
JJ Hardy 104, 120th
Wilson Betemit 100, 162nd
Robert Andino 78, 598
Projected Starting Rotation (Using ZIPS projection system for the statistics)
Tsuyoshi Wada: 106 ERA +, 171st best in the MLB
Chen Wei-Yin: 96, 309th
Jason Hammel: 92, 399th
Tommy Hunter: 86, 536th
Brian Matusz: 80, 725th/Zack Britton: 88, 494
This seems to be up in the air, with several options such as Kevin Gregg (91 ERA + projected by ZIPS), Jim Johnson (109 ERA +), Darren O’Day (118), and Pedro Strop (96). Johnson seems to be the logical choice (O’Day is more of a platoon guy, and I would use the 4 according to match-ups if I were the Orioles, but I am not a big fan of the “traditional closer”), but none are elite guys by any means.
Again, it is really hard to find overrated players on terrible teams.
There a couple candidates here, and I really like O’Day and Strop out of the bullpen, but overall I think you have to go with Nick Markakis, who according to ZIPS is a top 100 hitter. He flies under the radar because he plays with such a terrible team, and he does nothing great, but he does everything good.
J.J. Hardy is an above average hitter (according to Runs Created) and an above average fielder (according to defensive runs saved) and plays shortstop. That is pretty valuable.