Birds or Prey?

The recent Red Sox spending spree is perceived as a shot across the bow of the U.S.S. Pinstripe, a warning to the Yankees and upstart Rays that the Beantowners won’t take their beatings lying down. Competing in the stacked AL East just got even tougher. Again. Heat from wringing hands might melt all Toronto’s snow but the silence coming from Baltimore is deafening.

Sure, Jays fans feel their too-clever-by-a-half GM might figure a way around the immense payroll disparity and the Rays are reloading with enough young talent to sustain their next surge, the Baltimore Orioles hopelessly plug away. Pick up powerful outmaker Mark Reynolds and defensive whiz J.J. Hardy to solidify the left side of their infield, (potentially) spend some money on a new “name” closer, stock the outfield with decent two-way performers, hit a noted lunatic clean-up, whatever. At best, marginal improvements to an awful club. Lateral moves from a team trapped at the bottom of a deep, deep well.

A young pitching core yet to realize much of its potential, a staff not half as highly regarded as their partners in futility from Toronto. What are the Orioles hoping to accomplish with this year’s string of moves? More to the point, can they hope at all?

The excellent Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing posed this very question yesterday, counting his teal blessings that no matter how rough things look for his Mariners, they’re still not the OriLOLes.

MacPhail’s Orioles don’t stand a chance. Mathematically, they do stand a chance, in that there is some combination of events that could take place and wrap up with the Orioles having won the division, but realistically, it’s hopeless. It’s hopeless now, it’s been hopeless for years, and it will remain hopeless into the future.

Wow. Depressing. Just like being from Baltimore, if the greatest television show in history can be believed. I don’t know that I admire the O’s or the front office’s dedication to spitting into the ocean, but the deck is stacked against the lowly Orioles what else can they do? Spend a little money on players in an attempt to better their rotten lot in life.

Sure, an upgrade in the middling bullpen and a decent third base stop gap help, but with the lean and mean Rays, increasingly competent Jays, and the other two monoliths, the Orioles are screwed. Badly. Perhaps they should be commended for not just rolling over and collecting luxury tax payments. Which, in addition to make-good money from their D.C. neighbours, is likely their ultimate plan anyway. Competition!