The 2008 Orioles are the 2007 White Sox: As further proof that Erik Bedard is on his way to the Mariners and Brian Roberts is no doubt heading to the Cubs, Orioles.com reports that the O’s have invited the following (ex-Sox are in bold) to spring training:
Pitchers: LHP Craig Anderson, RHP Ryan Bukvich, RHP Ryan Keefer, RHP Roberto Novoa.
Catchers: Ben Davis, Matt Wieters, Omir Santos.
Infielders: Mike Costanzo, Omar Salazar, Eider Torres.
Outfielder: Luis Terrero.
It’s hard to make a call here. On the one hand, you want people to succeed at their jobs. On the other hand, they’re competition with the Sox now, so there’s almost a built-in contempt for the newest members of the Angelos family. On still the other hand, the Orioles went 69-93 last year, and that was while they still had Bedard, Roberts and Miguel Tejada; one can only imagine how much further they can sink. Still, if Bukvich suddenly stops walking in runs I’m going to be very upset.
Reruns Batted In: The 2008 schedule has been posted, with the Good Guys opening the season against Cleveland for the fourth year in a row. The logical guess is that Major League Baseball thinks there’s some great rivalry there that they need to keep forcing, but odds are we’ll be looking at Mark Buerhle vs. C.C. Sabathia. For those who haven’t been keeping track, the Sox are 4-4 on Opening Day this decade (3-3 on the road), so there’s at least a 50% chance they’ll have 1/60th of this season’s wins nailed down before April. Sweet.
Walnuts to That: Chone Figgins and whatever pitching help they’d include would be a nice addition, but people seem to forget that if the Sox trade away Paul Konerko’s 100-something RBI per year to the Angels, they’re going to have to get those runs from somewhere else. Ervin Santana is a #4 at best, and the Sox’ rotation is already loaded with those. Scot Shields was an outstanding reliever until he started to unravel last season, and the Sox also already have one of those in the newly-acquired Scott Linebrink. At $12 million for another 3 years, Paulie Lunchpail’s a steal, especially as Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye come into the season a year older and further removed from their respective peak years. It would be nice if the Sox could fully clone a team like 2003 model Marlins that Ozzie Guillen coached to the ultimate prize, but people overlook two things:
1) That team’s lineup was anchored by a first baseman typically good for a .275/35/120-type season.
2) That team’s staff had three starters posting sub-4.00 ERA’s.
If that’s the gold standard, then the Sox are already halfway there.