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Swinging for the Fences: Orioles Season Preview Part II

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The Orioles bats are back, and the this year it looks like they are going to show the AL East who the bombers really are. Besides pitching, the major part of the Orioles potential for success this season will by far be the offense. The O’s are best known for their homeruns, especially last year when they led the MLB with 253 long balls. Mark Trumbo led the league last year with 47 homeruns, the most on the team by far. In the offseason, the Orioles made some moves in both free agency and via the trade market to make sure that the team wouldn’t be so dependent on the long ball to put up runs.
Orioles GM Dan Duquette’s major move this offseason was trading failed pitching experiment Yovani Gallardo to the Mariners for outfielder Seth Smith. Smith is a defensive-minded outfielder who should plug up some of the holes that plagued the outfield last year. Smith also only hit 14 homeruns last year and is also universally known around the league as a great contact hitter, allowing some extra men on base for when power hitters like Chris Davis or Trumbo come up to bat.
When the Orioles didn’t offer Matt Wieters a qualifying offer, it most likely meant that the Orioles wouldn’t offer him a new contract. Early on in the free agency period, the team offered catcher Welington Castillo a 2-year, $13-million contract, officially bringing an end to the Matt Wieters-era in Baltimore. They also re-signed reigning home run champ Mark Trumbo to a 3-year, $31 million dollar contract, which surprised many because a lot of fans thought that he would get big money elsewhere.
So, with these moves the lineup in the infield and outfield will look slightly different, but it has the same basic principles as last year. Make no mistake, this team will be dependent on the long ball, with bombers like Chris Davis, Manny Machado, and Mark Trumbo on the team, but hopefully this year the Orioles can battle inconsistencies that plagued them last year, like when the players just weren’t able to hit the long ball. With players like Seth Smith plugging the holes in the outfield, and guys like Joey Rickard and Ryan Flaherty providing depth in case of injuries, hopefully the defense will be just as explosive as the offense.
With these new additions like Castillo, and hopefully a comeback year on offense from Caleb Joseph as well as some additional playing time from guys like Trey Mancini and Joey Rickard, the Orioles offense shouldn’t be as predictably inconsistent as it usually is, with players hitting home run after home run but offering little else in the way of offense.

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Swinging for the Fences: Orioles Season Preview Part II