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MLB Baltimore Orioles

5 Questions the Baltimore Orioles Must Answer During Spring Training

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5 Questions the Baltimore Orioles Must Answer During Spring Training

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For anyone that doesn’t think a Major League Baseball team can make the postseason one year, get better production the following year from key players and then still miss the playoffs, the Baltimore Orioles did everyone a favor and proved it. Their offense in 2013 was substantial enough that there should have been no one in the AL East that could touch them. Yet they were touched off enough that they missed it.

All would be forgiven if they just righted the ship or at least kept it the same and this year made the playoffs instead of skipping them altogether. That is probably something that many experts will think could happen. Chris Davis is still a member of the team after all as is Adam Jones and Manny Machado and the list just goes on and on. They will produce on offense, we can just about call that a guarantee.

But then they did that in 2013 and it wasn’t enough. What do they need to do in 2014 to make sure they have a better chance to go all the way? That is actually a pretty good question but the simple and short answer is that they need to improve their pitching. After all, when one of the best offenses in baseball misses the postseason by a few hairs, we can assume the pitching was the issue.

That isn’t where the questions stop for this Orioles team however. They have a plethora of questions that will need to be answered before they consider themselves set for the postseason in 2014. Some questions however need to be answered now, before Spring Training ends, if they hope to have a chance at all. Here are five such questions to consider.

David Miller is a Senior Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @davidmillerrant, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5 – Can Jonathan Schoop Make a Run at Starting Second Baseman?

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Schoop is listed by most as second on the second base depth chart but could he possibly perform well enough in Spring Training to get a look as the everyday starter? Considering how touted he has been for a while now, one would think it at least was possible.

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4 – How Soon Will Manny Machado Really be Ready?

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A lot of focus for the Orioles will be on Machado and when he will return. The main questions they face here are whether or not they will hold Machado back for a week or so extra to ensure he is healthy. Considering his age it is likely he could be fully ready that soon but considering his ability, they had better be certain he is completely ready to go before they stick him out there.

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3 – What Will They Do for a Closer?

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Because they saw fit to let go of the closer they seemed to have signed, the Orioles need to figure out during Spring Training what they want to do at closer. If they can sign someone that’s fine but the general feeling has been that they will go ahead and let it be taken care of internally. If so they need to figure it out during the Spring because waiting into the season would not be the ideal situation.

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2 – Can Kevin Gausman Fight for a Starting Rotation Spot?

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About this time last season it might have been expected that Gausman would be a staple at starter by now. His somewhat rough season last year has that in jeopardy though. The general thought now is that he will start the year in the minors. Could the former leading prospect fight back and possibly win a rotation spot?

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1 – How Long Will They Wait to Add a Starter?

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Here is hoping that the Orioles are just narrowing down their search because it is getting fairly late and they still officially have four starting pitchers. Most teams like to have a few too many at this point. They really need to decide who the guy they are going to sign is going to be so they might be able to set up some bit of competition for that spot. Who will it be and when?