After winning the AL East in 2014, the Baltimore Orioles fell to the middle of the pack last season, placing third with a record of 81-81. Heading into this coming season, the Orioles might be an interesting team to watch.
The first thing that jumps out about Baltimore is its offense. Of course, first baseman Chris Davis, who leads MLB with 159 homers over the past four seasons, returned on a reported seven-year, $161 million deal, and third baseman Manny Machado is coming off of a 35-homer campaign in his own right.
The lineup also features other big bats such as Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. Although he is coming off of a couple of down years, Mark Trumbo provides yet another power bat, and Camden Yards could be the perfect place for him to return to being a 30-homer threat. The Orioles also signed Hyun-soo Kim, who put up impressive numbers in Korea.
In the bullpen, the O’s obviously made a great move in bringing Darren O’Day back. O’Day and closer Zach Britton combine to give Baltimore a lights-out back of the bullpen.
The biggest area of concern for the Orioles may in fact be the starting rotation. Yes, adding a consistent arm in Yovani Gallardo, who is good for 30 starts and 180 innings each year, should clearly help, but there are still quite a few question marks.
It is possible that everything could work out, but the O’s are going to need Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez to bounce back, and Ubaldo Jimenez will at least need to continue pitching like a middle-of-the-rotation starter. A breakout season from Kevin Gausman could certainly go a long way as well.
Still, in a tough AL East division, the O’s might have their work cut out for them, even though they do indeed have quite a few quality players on their roster. Right now, an 82-80 record seems about right.