Posted on: May 24, 2008 2:33 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2008 12:28 am
 

Top 15 Deadline Potential Trade Candidates

1: player photoMatt Holliday/LF Colorado Rockies

Possible Suitors: Atlanta Braves; Cleveland Indians; New York Mets;

The Rockies are 10 games behind the NL West leader Arizona Diamondbacks, and could switch to rebuilding a bit. If they do, Holliday would be the biggest prize in the Trade Market. He would warrant between 5-7 good prospects from a team, so anybody looking at him better have a darn good Farm System. However, the main reason Holliday is on here is because the contract negotiations between he and the Rockies are clubling apart, and getting a load of Top Prospects for him is the best thing possible for the Rox.

2: player photoBrian Roberts/2B Baltimore Orioles

Possible Suitors: Cleveland Indians; Chicago White Sox; Milwaukee Brewers; Minnesota Twins; Chicago Cubs

One of the best leadoff men in the majors, and one of the best second baseman in the majors. Robert's numbers are not there quite yet, but he should heat up as the season goes on. The Orioles have surprised some with being just 5 games behind the Boston Red Sox at this point, but no matter what, General Manager Andy MacPhail will be rebuilding and Roberts is a key part to it, much like Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard were.

3: player photoRich Harden/SP Oakland Athletics

Possible Suitors: Milwaukee Brewers; Los Angeles Dodgers; New York Yankees

Harden is arguably the best pitcher at the deadline. However, that will depend on Billy Beane's decision of whether to sell or buy at the deadline. Like almost all A's players, Beane will ask for a fortune in return, and one team will be dumb enough to do it and sacrifice a few Top Prospects for Harden, who has arm issues he is currently working out.

4: player photoGeorge Sherrill/CL Baltimore Orioles

Possible Suitors: Detroit Tigers; Cleveland Indians; Milwaukee Brewers; St. Louis Cardinals

Need a closer? Or even a set-up man? Here is your answer. Sherrill is 17 for 19 in save opportunities this season, and could help every team mentioned above with their closer jobs as none have a secure closer.

5: player photoGarrett Atkins/3B Colorado Rockies

Possible Suitors: Cleveland Indians; Minnesota Twins;

Other than the Indians and Twins, not many competing teams have a need at thrid base. The Indians are dying with Casey Blake and Andy Marte at the hot corner and will pry be the team to get Atkins. Atkins will be the best third baseman on the trade market come July.

6: player photoJason Bay/LF Pittsburgh Pirates

Possible Suitors: Toronto Blue Jays; Atlanta Braves; Cleveland Indians; New York Mets

Bay would be the best left fielder on the market, had it not been for Holliday. Bay has had some rough seasons lately, so his stock has taken a plummit from two years ago. That makes him a whole lot more affordable for teams and that makes him a player that could turn around a division.

7: player photoA.J. Burnett/SP Toronto Blue Jays

Possible Suitors: Detroit Tigers; Milwaukee Brewers; Los Angeles Dodgers; Atlanta Braves

Burnett, like Harden, has health issues, and the Jays may be able to cash in his value so far this year and use him in place of a prospect in a trade and haul a big bat to the team. Burnett also should come at less cost, so teams like the Tigers who don't have very good prospects(behind Larish and Porcello) might be able to aford him.

8: player photoJeremy Guthrie/SP Baltimore Orioles

Possible Suitors: Detroit Tigers; Milwaukee Brewers; Los Angeles Dodgers; Houston Astros; Atlanta Braves;

Guthrie is an interesting choice. he has been involved in no trade news, and has had a very good year excluding his record. He will come a whole lot cheaper then Harden, and a bit cheaper than Burnett, but Guthrie could easily pick up a team like the Brewers or Tigers and bring them back into contention.

9: player photoBrian Fuentes/CL Colorado Rockies

Possible Suitors: Detroit Tigers; Cleveland Indians; Milwaukee Brewers; St. Louis Cardinals

Fuentes is 6 for 9 in save oppourtunities, which will take away from his value and he obviously hasn't been his normal self these last two years. However, he is a better option than these other teams currenty have.

10: player photoJoe Blanton/SP Oakland Athletics

Possible Suitors: Milwaukee Brewers; Los Angeles Dodgers; New York Yankees

Like Harden, Billy Beane may ask the world for Blanton, but other than his record, "Big Country" has been very good this season. A good number 2 or 3 pitcher on any of the teams above.

Posted on: April 12, 2008 1:20 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2008 1:20 pm
 

Orioles Top Prospect Report, April 11th.

Orioles Top Prospect Stats through April 11th........

Mike Costanzo/3B Norfolk Tide(AAA) - .226; 7-31; 1 2B; 1 HR; 5 RBI; .333 OBP;

Chris Tillman/P Bowie Baysox(AA) - 0-0; 9.00 ERA; 1 GS; 2.0 IP; 4 H; 2 R; 3/3 K/BB; .400 OBA

Tony Butler/P Delmarva Shorebirds(A) - 0-1; 6.00 ERA; 2 G, 1 GS; 6.0 IP; 5 H, 4 R; 5/0 K/BB; .227 OBA

Kameron Mickolio/P Bowie Baysox(AA) - 0-0; 1.69 ERA; 3 G; 5.1 IP; 3 H, 1 R; 3/2 K/BB; .167 OBA

Matt Wieters/C Fredrick Keys(A Adv.) - .529; 9-17; 1 2B; 2 HR; 6 RBI; .629 OBP

Radhames Liz/P Norfolk Tide(AAA) - 0-1; 7.49 ERA; 2 G; 2 GS; 9.2 IP; 13 H; 10 R; 9/3 K/BB; .333 OBA

Nolan Reimold/OF Bowie Baysox(AA) - .176; 6-34; 1 HR; 3 RBI; .250 OBP

Billy Rowell/3B Fredrick Keys(A Adv.) - .000; 0-1;

Brandon Snyder/1B Fredrick Keys(A Adv.) -  .290; 9-31 ; 1 2B; 4 RBI; 1 SB; .303 OBP

Jake Arrieta/P Fredrick Keys(A Adv.) - 0-0; 6.75 ERA; 2 G; 2 GS; 6.2 IP; 6 H; 5 R; 11/5 K/BB; .240 OBA

Chorye Spoone/P Bowie Baysox(AA) - 1-0; 3.60 ERA; 2 G; 2 GS; 10.0 IP; 13 H; 4 R; 9/5 K/BB; .310 OBA

Pedro Beato/P Fredrick Keys(A Adv.) - 0-1; 10.80 ERA; 1 G; 1 GS; 3.1 IP; 6 H; 4 R; 1/2 K/BB; .375 OBA

Brandon Erbe/P Fredrick Keys(A Adv.) - 1-0; 0.79 ERA; 2 G; 2 GS; 11.1 IP; 4 H; 1 R; 13/1 K/BB; .103 OBA

Garrett Olson/P Norfolk Tide(AAA) - 1-0; 0.90 ERA; 2 G; 2 GS; 10.0 IP; 7 H; 1 R; 11/6 K/BB; .206 OBA

 

Posted on: March 28, 2008 4:43 pm
Edited on: April 8, 2008 8:24 pm
 

Don't sleep on the O's

BALAll around the MLB fanbase, I have heard that the O's will finish lasy place in the AL East, that they will not win more than 50 games, and they will lose somewhere way over 100 games. I understand that some people believe the Bedard and Tejada trades were huge downgrades, but in reality, its not. Erik Bedard was a huge contributer to a 69 win Orioles team in 2007, but he was not fully there in April and missed all of September, ending the season of the Cy Young candidate. In the trade, the O's recieved two key pieces to this O's team in 2008, Adam Jones and George Sherrill. Jones stepped into the O's organization and was quickly granted a starting spot in center field over veteran Jay Payton. Jones has superstar potential, and will probably start slow, but should work out in a major way as the season progress'. Sherrill stepped in as the leading candidate for the closer role, vacant due to Tommy John surgery on Chris Ray. Not only will Sherrill be a key to the O's season, he will be a very good trade chip at the deadline, as well as the O's other two veteran relievers(Walker, Bradford). In that trade, the O's also reciever the M's Top Pitching Prospect, Chris Tillman(19) and one of the M's best pitching prospects, Tony Butler(20) and Ms relief prospect Kameron Mickolio(23). Mickolio could a be a helpful asset to this young O's team if any reliever get injured/traded.

 'I already forgot about it,' Erik Bedard says of allowing three runs and two walks in two innings. (AP)

~ O's new closer George Sherrill will be a big help for several reasons for the O's in 2008 while Erik Bedard trys to boost the Mariners to 1st in the AL West.

 


 

Now we go to the Tejada trade. The O's gave up a key component to there offense in 2007, but he was begining his slow down and was starting to be a cancer in the clubhouse. Orioles GM Andy MacPhail turned him around and found a good trade for him in the Astros, one day before his name was set to appear on the Mitchell Report. In the deal, he acquired 3 players that will help right off the bat. Those three are righty-starter Matt Albers, righty reliever Dennis Sarfate and outfielder Luke Scott. Albers has been compared to Curt Schilling and has talent to be a number 4 starter in this league. Sarfate, if Sherrill gets traded, would probably become the closer. He has a fastball that can reach 100 mph, and Luke Scott is a power bat the O's have needed for a while. Also in the deal, the O's recieved the 'Stros Top Pitching prospect in Troy Patton and power hitting third base prospect Mark Costanzo. Costanzo will get some time in at AAA before any moves up to the majors. He is currently blocked by Melvin Mora and third base prospect Scott Moore. Patton will miss the season with a torn labrum, and should come back by next year. The Astros will be getting a good shortstop who should return back to better power numbers in the small Minute Maid Park.

 


 

Both trades boosted the offense with a stud(Adam Jones, Luke Scott) and both gave the O's some young talent along with young pitchers. Out of the ten players acquired, 5 will be expected to be helpful to the O's in 2008. 2 of them are expected to see a call-up later in the season, one will miss the whole season. 7 of the 10 are 25 or young. 2 of the 10 are 20 or under. 2 of the 10 are Baseball America Top 100 prospects. Whatever happens in 2008, do not sleep on the O's to get 4th place. This team looks like a horrible team on paper, but are a unit of one, and together they stand, alone they fall. Let the game and the season, the sprited America's game, diside the outcome of the of the O's fatality.

Posted on: March 22, 2008 11:18 am
 

2008 Toronto Blue Jays Preview

TOR 

Toronto Blue Jays Season Preview

2007 Record: 83-79, 3rd in American League East

Key Additions: Scott Rolen(3B); David Eckstein(SS); Marco Scutaro(2B); Armando Benitez(RHP)

Key Departures: Josh Towers(RHP); Troy Glaus(3B)

Starting Pitchers:

Projected Rotation: Roy Halladay(RH); A.J. Burnett(RH); Dustin McGowan(RH); Shaun Marcum(RH); Jesse Litch(RH)

The Blue Jays have an incredible staff on paper. McGowan had a breakout year in 2007, same goes to Shaun Marcum, but injury problems continue to harness the talent of both Cy Young pitcher Roy Halladay and his sidekick, A.J. Burnett. If one or both can get over the injury hump, the Jays could be a serious contender. The number 5 slot is all open at this time, but it appears as if Jesse Litch will be the 5th starter. Injury bug Gustavo Chacin will most likely start in AAA Syracuse. With all 5 healthy, the Blue Jays have a Top 10 pitching staff.

Bullpen:

Projected Bullpen: B.J. Ryan(CL); Jeremy Accardo(RH); Scott Downs(LH); Jason Frasor(RH); Brian Tallet(LH); Brandon League(RH); Armando Benitez(RH)

Closer B.J. Ryan will not be healthy or ready to go on Opening Day, but when he comes back, he will assume the closer role from Jeremy Accardo. The first 3 in the Jays bullpen are very good pitchers, but from Frasor to Benitez, it becomes trashey. When healthy, B.J. Ryan is a dominate closer and one of the few lefty closers in the Major Leagues. Scott Downs is one of the best lefty relievers in the league. Frasor was once a reliable reliever for the Jays, but has fell apart since.

 ~ Jeremy Accardo will be the Jays closer on opening Day

Line-up:

Projected Line-up:

1) David Eckstein/SS

2) Lyle Overbay/1B

3) Vernon Wells/CF

4) Frank Thomas/DH

5) Scott Rolen/3B

6) Alex Rios/RF

7) Matt Stairs/LF

8) Gregg Zaun/C

9) Aaron Hill/2B

Bench: Rod Barajas/C; Marco Scutaro/INF; John McDonald/INF; Reed Johnson/OF

The Line-up looks like a strong line-up when healthy, but the key word there is healthy. Overbay, Wells, and Rolen were all injured last year, and Frank Thomas has a history of health problems. Eckstein is an upgrade offensively for the Jays, after batting over .05 more than McDonald last year. Overbay will, for the Blue Jays sake, be healthy this year, and can go back to producing his average seasons of .275-.315 and hitting 15-25 home runs. Vernon Wells had a tpsy-turvey year in 2007, but comes back strong and still one of the best outfielders in the American League. Frank Thomas could be entering his final season of a Hall of Fame career and you should expect a solid number of home runs between 15-30. Scott Rolen will give you great defense and a strong bat. Alex Rios is a potential break-out candidate in 2008, meaning he should have a career year. Matt Stairs had a good year for his home team in 2007, and xpect a weaker season, but still strong enough to help the Jays out. Gregg Zaun should not be the starting catcher, but there are little options left other than a trade for Michael Barrett or Ramon Hernandez. Finally, Aaron Hill produced a good season in 2007, nd I see another out of the second baseman.

 ~ Jays outfielder Alex Rios is a good candidate to be a breakout star in 2008.

Category: MLB
Posted on: March 20, 2008 9:10 pm
 

Tampa Bay Rays 2008 Preview

Tampa Bay <a href=/page/TB">Rays logo" src="http://images.sportsline.com/images/cbss/ui2/logos/mlb/160x100/TB.gif" width="160" border="0" />

Key Additions: Troy Percival(RP); Matt Garza(SP); Jason Bartlett(SS); Cliff Floyd(OF); Trever Miller(RP); Willy Aybar(3B)

Key Departures: Delmon Young(OF); Brandon Harris(SS); Elijah Dukes(OF)

Is this finally the year we have all been waiting for? Can the Rays compete with the Red Sox and Yankees of the East?

Starting Pitching:

Projected Rotation -

Scott Kazmir(LH); James Shields(RH); Matt Garza(RH); Edwin Jackson(RH); Jason Hammel(RH)

The last spot in the rotation will be filled by either Jason Hammel, Jeff Nieman or Andy Sonnastine. The Rays have finally built a stable 1-2-3 in the rotation by adding Matt Garza for the expence of troubled, but super talent Delmon Young. Kazmir has pitched his way into the hearts of Rays fans, while throwing a dagger at Mets fans while Shields has been a great sidekick to Kazmir. Edwin Jackson has been pretty good lately in Spring Taining and as well as in the end of 2007. Will he finally show that potential he once had with the Dodgers? Then there maybe a huge drop of at the number 5 slot unless a top prospect like Jeff Nieeman, Wade Davis or David Price come to the rescue. The Rays need to hope the pitching holds up until one of these three are finally ready to hit the majors and help the Rays to a possible play-off push.

 ~ Rays pitcher Edwin Jackson could be one of the many young keys to success for the team.


The Bullpen:

Projected Bullpen: Troy Percival(CL); Al Reyes(RH); Dan Wheeler(RH); Gary Glover(RH); Trever Miller(LH); J.P. Howell(LH); Scott Dohmann(RH)

The addition of Dan Wheeler for utility man Ty Wigginton has showed that it will pay dividends for the Rays. Not too mention they added on Comeback candidate Troy Percival to be the closer. The Rays will most likely use there top 3 most of the year, they have to also use the junky relievers. After Percival, Reyes and Wheeler, the Rays bullpen takes a big blow down to Glover and Miller. Regardless, the additions of Wheeler and Percival will be huge to improve a league ranked 30th bullpen. Who knows, maybe some of the Rays prospects will boost the relief corpse as the season progresses, but Wheeler and Reyes will each be called on for a good 60-70 games in 2008.

 ~ Rays closer Troy Percival will be a big help for a MLB ranked 30th bullpen


Line-up:

Projected Line-up:

1: Akinori Iwamura/2B

2: Carl Crawford/LF

3: Carlos Pena/1B

4: B.J. Upton/CF

5: Cliff Floyd/DH or Rocco Baldelli

6: Jonny Gomes/RF

7: Evan Longoria/3B

8: Dioner Navarro/C

9: Jason Bartlett/SS

Bench:

Shawn Riggans/C

Rocco Baldelli or Cliff Floyd/OF

Eric Hinske/1B

Willy Aybar/3B

The Line-up has gotten better since the days when Carl Crawford was the only reliable player. Last years additions of Akinori Iwamura from Japan and Carlos Pena were big strides in getting the team better. This year they boosted the line-up again by adding Cliff Floyd to DH. They took a minor hit of trading off Brandon Harris to Minnesota and recieving Jason Bartlett but that was the price they had to pay to acquire Matt Garza. The offense will also get a boost from top 5 prospect Evan Longoria, who should be playing opening day for the Rays. Also over the off-season, the Rays acquired two utility players to take over for Ty Wigginton, Eric Hinske and Willy Aybar. There is no question the offense keeps getting better as the years go on, and with the stock piled farm system will continue as the years go by. The Rays are finally in a good position to fight for the division with the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays. They will finally get over the hump of 5th place as they will surpase the rebulding Orioles.

 ~ Rays outfielder Carl Crawford finally has help in a line-up set to contend.

 

 

Category: MLB
Posted on: March 16, 2008 7:45 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2008 7:00 pm
 

DR's Fantasy Domination Tour '08: Baseball Team 1

Team 1:

MVP = Markakis

C - Victor Martinez

1B - Lance Berkman; Kevin Youkilis; Carlos Guillen

2B - Kelly Johnson

3B - Adrian Beltre; Ty Wigginton

SS - Khalil Greene

OF - Curtis Granderson; Nick Markakis; Jeff Francouer; Delmon Young; Pat Burrell

U - David Ortiz

SP - Aaron Harang; Chad Billingsley; Fausto Carmona; Ted Lilly; Adam Wainwright; Rich Harden

RP - Jonathan Papelbon; Eric Gagne

Transactions:

Traded Alex Rodriguez(3B) for David Wright(3B), Nomar Garciaparra(1B), Ty Wigginton(3B) and Pat Burrell(OF)

Dropped Jeremy Hermida(OF)

Dropped Nomar Garciaparra(1B)

Dropped Luke Scott(OF)

Added Kurt Suzuki(C)

Dropped Bengie Molina(C)

Traded Tim Hudson(SP) and David Wright(3B) for Aaron Harang(SP) and David Ortiz(DH)

Added Kevin Youkilis(1B)

Dropped Adam LaRoche(1B)

Added Rich Harden(SP)

Dropped Kurt Suzuki(C)

Posted on: March 15, 2008 7:40 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2008 6:56 pm
 

O's Season Preview Mailbag: Q's from the fans

Every month, there will be another mailbag where Aaron Folsom answers the Questions of the Fans.


Q: What will the starting infield look like at the end of the 2008 season for the Orioles? Will they be able to trade guys like Ramon Hernandez, Melvin Mora or Brian Roberts?

A: The only guys that might have some trade value at the deadline in the infield are Ramon Hernandez, if he has a good first half, and Brian Roberts. Kevin Millar may be able to attract a team looking for bench help. I don't see Mora going anywhere unless he has a first half like his spring training. I believe Guillermo Quiroz would take over for Ramon Hernandez, if he gets shipped out, and if he gets more time at the position I could see Scott Moore taking over second base duties if the team does not acquire a 2B prospect from any trades.

Ramon Hernandez could be a valuable trade chip for the Orioles come July 31st.

 


Q: Will Daniel Cabrera ever learn to pitch, or will he continue to have high walk totals?

A: I believe no matter what you do, Daniel Cabrera will always have high walk totals. Rick Kranitz has worked with him over the off-season and both Kranitz and manager Dave Trembley feel it will be breakout year for Cabrera. However, that has been said about Cabrera since his rookie year. Maybe Kranitz can help him out, but so far in Spring Training he seems like the same old D-Cab.


Q: Will Hayden Penn and Adam Loewen stay healthy for an entire season?

A: Adam Loewen is making progress from his recovery and the same goes for Penn. Loewen might not be a 100% as of right now though. Penn added some weight and looked very well in spring training. I think they will stay healthy for atleast a good part of the season, but injuries are spontanious, so I can't give my full confirmation on there full season status.


Q: Will the Orioles show enough this season to persuade Mark Texeira to sign with Baltimore?

A: I think regardless of what the Orioles do this year, they will still persuade Texieria to come to Baltimore. He is a native of Maryland and grew up a Orioles fan. I also think Tex would want to come here tro be around this rebuilding program. I understand he wants to win, but if Tex came to Baltimore, the O's would be on the upside of rebuilding and would be on the rebound. He would probably like being around some vets and some young guys.


Q: Will Troy Patton recover?

A: Patton has a pretty serious injury, but I believe in a year or two he could become a good member of the Orioles team. It will take a while to heal, but regardless is a Top notch prospect. I think he will recover well but may take a while.


Q: Will Nick Markakis continue to develop into a star player?

A: I think by the end of this season, Markakis will go from a top 20 outfielder to a top 15 outfielder. He continues to get better and will probably get even better by seasons end. I believe N-Mark could be a All-Star back-up for the AL this year. Look for good numbers and a solid season from Markakis all season long.

Nick Markakis has the potential to be an All-Star in 2008.


Q: Will Matt Weiters be a september call-up?

A: If The O's elect to trade Ramon Hernandez(Or can find a suitor), I think there is a 70% chance of a Weiters sighting in Baltimore come September. However, if Ramon is still with us, I think there is only a 40%-50% chance of a Weiters sighting in Baltimore. I believe MacPhail and Trembley will want to gte him a few at-bats in the majors here and there to prep him.


Q: Will the Orioles really finish below the Rays this year?

A: Without any significant injuries, I would say yes. The Rays got better over the off-season by adding Cliff Floyd and Troy Percival and bringing up thrid base super prospect Evan Longoria improves the team atleast 10 wins. Now with Wheeler, Reyes and Percival, theyhave a decent bullpen and there offense looks well rounded with Longoria, Crawford, Upton and Pena. Plus, they have a pretty good Top 3 in the rotation in Kazmir, Shields and Garza. However, one or two major injuries could put the Rays right back where they have been for so many years, 5th place.


Q: Will the O's look like they are heading in the right direction by the end of the year?

A: Every year the O's look like a contender in April, then suck it up the rest of the way. This year, it will be the opposite way. The O's will do bad and get better as the season progresses and the younger players get legit playing time. Expect last place in the division, but it will be a fun losing season in my mind. The team will eventually get better and be in the right direction.

Randor Bierd appears as one of the young O's players who will progress as the season goes on.

 

 

 

Posted on: March 13, 2008 8:15 pm
Edited on: May 26, 2008 6:52 pm
 

2008 Baltimore Orioles Season Preview

2007 Record - 69-93, 4th in AL East, 27.0 GB

Key Departures: Miguel Tejada/SS(HOU), Erik Bedard/LHSP(SEA), Corey Patterson/OF(CIN)

Key Acquisitions: Matt Albers/RHP(HOU), Adam Jones/OF(SEA), Dennis Sarfate/RHRP(HOU), Luke Scott/OF(HOU), George Sherrill/LHRP(SEA)

Into the off-season, GM Andy MacPhail made a statement by turning the franchise into a rebuilding state. Unfortunaltly, it will be a while before the O's climb back on the horse and become a contender. Peter Angelos did them in for the past ten years. Now, the O's lose one of the best southpaws in the game, Erik Bedard, but gain a new closer, a very talented center fielder in Adam Jones, and three young pitching prospects. Before that, macPhail dealt shortstop Miguel Tejada to the Houston Astros for outfielder Luke Scott, two young pitchers expected to step in immediatly in Matt Albers and Dennis Sarfate, a third base prospect expected to see some playing time and one of the best southpaw prospects in the game, Troy Patton. Even with the departures of Bedard and Tejada, I expect the O's to be better. Both Bedard and Tejada were bad clubhouse players. The O's tossed them out and started new. The 2008 Orioles have a good chemistry of young components along with some oldies to help the young guys out.

 

Offense: The Offense of the O's will be a torture to watch at the beginning, but expect it to get a fire lit underneath after a bad April. Expect to see Ramon Hernandez to bounce back to somewhat of his 2006 form, where he hit .275 with 23 home runs and 91 rbi's. Kevin Millar will start the season at first base. Millar is a good team player, but he is not at all a starter. Hopefully Mike Costanzo or Scott Moore can take over at some point. Brian Roberts comes back to the Orioles after dodging a spew of trade rumors this off-season. Roberts may very well be the best player on the trade block, and will be a hot commodity at the trade deadline. Unfortunatly, shortstop is a horrible position of the O's as well. Luis Hernandez is currently the starter, but is absolutley horrible in Spring Training. Brandon Fahey may very well be a better option and with Hernandez's play, could be the starter at shortstop on opening day. Melvin Mora is doing very well in spring training , but probably will not bring it over to the regular season. He could be a trade chip, but I don't think too many teams will be interested. Maybe either Costanzo or Moore will take over eventually. Here is where the O's are best, the outfield. Nick Markakis is just one of the few top 20, under 25 outfielders. He will get help from Luke Scott, who becomes the new starter at left field. Stuck in the middle of these two is youngster Adam Jones. Expect good seasons from all three of these players.

Pitching: Last year proved that just because you have one of the top 10 pitchers in the game dosn't mean you pitching is good. Adam Loewen and Jeremy Guthrie are in a tight battle for the ace of the staff, while Daniel Cabrera and Steve Trachsel basically sit calm in the 3-4 spots. The other battle is between Matt Albers and Lance Cormier for the 5th rotation spot. The bullpen was where the team was a blow up last season. The had two non-closer's under 4 ERA(Chad Bradford and Jaime Walker). Both Bradford and Walker along with closer george Sherrill will be on the trade block come deadline time. Other than that, the bullpen becomes a toss-up. There are two others who will probably make it, they are Dennis Sarfate and Randor Bierd, who was a Rule-5 pick this off-season. There is also Garrett Olson, Radhames Liz, Brian Burres, Greg Aquino and other battling for the last one or two spots.

Strengths: The O's have a few bright spots. There strong at catcher(Hernandez), second base(Roberts) and outfield(Markakis, Scott, Jones). It will not be a pretty year to be a Birds fan, but it will be fun watching the new guys and the young guys form the team and try there hardest. Probably there best strength is that they have around $30-$40M to spend in free agency next year on young but talented guys like Mark Teixeiria

Weakness: Man, was it easier to just name the strengths. The O's need a first baseman, shortstop, third baseman, and a lot of good youth pitching to become a contender. The good news, they have a potential prospect at just about every position. The offense is half and half, kind of like they have been in spring training. They will be great one day, then come out and fiddle around for 3 hours the next day. If they can become a team that wants to win, who says they can't.

Line-up

player photo1. Brian Roberts/2B

player photo2. Melvin Mora/3B

player photo3. Nick Markakis/RF

player photo4. Aubrey Huff/DH

player photo5. Ramon Hernandez/C

player photo6. Luke Scott/LF

player photo7. Adam Jones/CF

player photo8. Kevin Millar/1B

player photo9. Luis A. Hernandez/SS

*Editors Note: The Projected Line-up is what I believe the O's opening day line-up should look like.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com