Originally written August 27, 2012 on isportsweb.com:
For the first time in this whole season I, as a Baltimore Orioles fan, have hope. Despite this being one of the most successful seasons in a long time for Baltimore there has always been this aura of doubt for me. I am always a pessimist when it comes to the ball club, so even with everything going great it was hard to see a bright future. Things hit their breaking point when the trade deadline came and went without any move by Orioles management. It looked, at that point, like the higher ups were throwing in the towel. But then this weekend the news broke. The Baltimore Orioles had traded Matt Lindstrom and a player to be named later to the Arizona Diamondbacks for starting pitcher Joe Saunders. Saunders is having an off year but is a fantastic career pitcher. Coming in as one of the most experienced players on a very young Orioles squad, including 4 playoff starts, his influence will be felt almost instantly. Giving up Matt Lindstrom for most teams wouldn’t be worth it. He is a pivotal part to one of the major’s best relief staffs. But that is exactly why the Orioles can get rid of him. They have a plethora of players the can step in a fill the void Lindstrom leaves, and their relievers shouldn’t miss a step. It still just makes me giddy talking about it. This is exactly what the Orioles needed, and even though it is a few weeks too late, the magnitude of this move cannot be understated. All year Baltimore’s starting rotation has been an incredible sore spot for a playoff team. With 10 different starters throughout the course of the season it has been an unstable position filled with question marks. But as the season is coming into its final chapter the Orioles staff is starting to come together. Jason Hammel is expected back sometime in September from injury and joins a talented young group. Wei-Yin Chen has been the face of the rotation all year and continues to dominate. But it is the youngsters behind him that make Baltimore a threat. Steve Johnson, Zach Britton, Chris Tillman, and Miguel Gonzalez have all stepped up their games and are winning with consistency. With the addition of Saunders, most likely in the 4th spot of the rotation, this becomes a staff that can pitch with the best of them. This move makes it seem like the Orioles front office has faith that this team can compete and make the playoffs. And who am I to question the professionals?
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