Originally written on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 5/25/15
There’s not too much to say about the Baltimore Orioles – their offseason activity was non-existent until late in the winter, when they made two of the best signings of any team by inking both Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez to below market deals. But adding that pair of players to a young core that includes Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Chris Davis, and a currently injured Manny Machado might not make Baltimore a playoff team because of the strength of the AL East. It took an inordinate amount of luck in 2012 for Baltimore to crash the Postseason party, and when that luck faded in 2013, they were out of the chase and back to the middle of the pack. Needless to say, the O’s are in a tough position. They really did all they could do to compete in 2014, and only time will tell if they can surpass the defending World Champion Red Sox, the deep-pocketed Yankees, and the smart, young Rays. Baltimore’s two biggest weaknesses this year appear to be their lack of infield depth and a rotation that seems like it may not be up to par. Manny Machado’s terrifying-looking injury last September threw a monkey wrench into Baltimore’s plans for 2014. Machado isn’t expected to be ready for Opening Day (despite him trying like hell to get there), and as a result, the Orioles are stuck in between a rock and a hard place. Baltimore looks like they’ll be starting Ryan Flaherty at third until Machado is ready. You know, the same Ryan Flaherty that has a career .221/.279/.378 line in 162 games. Maybe you think the sample size is too small, and that’s fine, I do too – but let’s not confuse Flaherty for Machado here. The downgrade is steep. Furthermore, Machado’s injury is also pushing Jemile Weeks into the starting lineup at second base, where he was expected to battle Flaherty for playing time. Once a highly-touted A’s prospect, Weeks is now 27 and his stock has fallen so much that he spent nearly all of 2013 with AAA Sacramento instead of in the majors. He’s never been able to tap into his massive potential, and really has only provided value on the basepaths in his career, nabbing 38 bags at a 70% clip. Past those two, the Orioles are left with journeyman infielder Alex Gonzalez, 22-year old prospect Jonathan Schoop (who missed half of the 2013 season), Alexi Casilla (somehow a worse hitter than any other option the O’s have), and career minor leaguer Steve Pearce as their “depth” in the infield.  Is there really any reason for optimism here? The Orioles are already behind the eight-ball with Machado out of action, but what would happen if Hardy or Davis goes down? Baltimore’s offense would turn into a train wreck. Speaking of train wrecks… the Orioles rotation. OK, that’s not fair, but it’s a fact that only three clubs had a worse cumulative ERA from their starters last year than Baltimore – the Twins, Astros, and Blue Jays. The Orioles used a whopping 14 starters last year, and of those 14, they bring back four of the top five in fWAR while also adding Ubaldo Jimenez, who produced more value than every Orioles starter a year ago. That’s all fine and dandy, but will it be good enough? Wei-Yin Chen only made 23 starts in 2013, and was pretty awful after coming back from his DL stint. Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez paced the staff with sub-4.00 ERAs, but both pitchers were incredibly homer-prone, flyball-happy, and had a lot of luck with balls in play. Then there’s Jimenez, who bounced back in 2013 after a pair of awful seasons and is a huge wild card going forth despite the way he pitched for Cleveland last year. Can that foursome, along with Bud Norris, be enough to break through the AL East logjam? The Orioles do have some rotation depth, including Johan Santana, Suk-min Yoon, and Kevin Gausman, but how much production any of those three can provide this year is a question mark. After all, Santana’s arm has been destroyed for a year and a half, Yoon has never pitched in America, and Gausman is just 23 and had a shaky 2013 once he was promoted out of AA. We’ll see what happens with the Orioles, but I’m not exactly confident in their success in 2014.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Blatt has special message for LeBron

Shaq once threatened to murder Kobe Bryant

Bryce Harper: Mike Trout is the best player in baseball

Report: Wilson skipped OTAs to attend funeral with Graham

Antonio Brown on contract: 'I've got enough' money


Kaepernick posts insensitive joke about Houston floods

50 Cent’s boxing company files for bankruptcy

Rangers-Lightning Game 6: Prediction for elimination game

Phillies GM says team's fans 'don't understand the game’

Adrian Peterson reportedly has considered retirement

Report: Bulls could cheat Tom Thibodeau out of coaching jobs

FIFA officials arrested, to be extradited to US for corruption

WATCH: LeBron throws down huge dunk from inside FT line

Nick Saban says he caught 6-foot, 180-pound fish

WATCH: Vin Scully tells story about Gomes being attacked by wolf

WATCH: Kris Bryant launches home run off scoreboard

Transfer rumors: Drogba, Pirlo and Gomez linked to MLS

Robinson Cano's slump: The good news, the bad news

Joe Maddon unhappy over Cubs’ ‘awkward schedule’

Buck Showalter takes shot at Marlins over management

UGA wants SEC to ban transfers with 'serious misconduct' issues

Cavs' Kevin Love cleared to travel with team

Four crazy stats from the NBA Playoffs thus far

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Transfer rumors: Drogba, Pirlo and Gomez linked to MLS

Cano's slump: The good news, bad news

Disappointments of the MLB season

UGA wants SEC to ban transfers with misconduct issues

Long's great reaction to Bears releasing McDonald

Crazy stats from the NBA Playoffs

WATCH: Curry leaves game after nasty fall

Royals' Guthrie sets records in blowout

Bears cut McDonald after incident

Report: Pierce could opt out of contract

The Talented Mr. Blatt

Is Dellavedova a dirty player?

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.