Sunday, January 23, 2005

Orioles Off-Season Woes

It's been tough for Baltimore Orioles fans the past seven years. Since winning the AL East in 1997, this once-proud franchise has had a losing season in each of the subsequent seven seasons. It has not been a pretty sight. I remember reading once in SI that the Orioles had less than seven losing seasons in their entire existence before 1998. The following records show has that Angelos initial improvement of the Orioles has become a disaster:

Year Wins Finish in AL East
97 98 1st
98 79 4th
99 78 4th
00 74 4th
01 63 4th
02 67 4th
03 71 4th

There was more hope this past season when they signed Miguel Tejeda, brought back Sidney Ponson, and signed Javy Lopez and Rafeal Palmeiro. They struggled mightly in the first half, being mired in last place in the AL East but were able to get hot at times in the second half of the season and almost reach 500.

04 78 3rd

This offseason, considering their lower starting payroll due to having the contracts of Segui, Daal and Cordova off the books, it was thought that they would be a big player in this off-season and bring in the players that would bring them over the hump. They struck out on trying to bring in Carl Pavano (signed with the Yankees), Richie Sexson (signed with the Mariners) and Tim Hudson (traded to the Braves). One of the final targeted players, Carlos Delgado appears to be making his decision in the coming week. Many have speculated that Angelos has been tight-fisted because of the new Washington franchise and the negotiations he has with MLB on compensation, and others have put blame on Mike Flanagan and Jim Beattie, the GM/VP duo running personnel for the Orioles. In any event, although the Orioles are nominally in the running, it doesn't appear that Delgado will land there. Without him coming the team, barring some amazing development of their young players, I am doubtful the Orioles will be doing much challenging of the Yankees and Red Sox again this season.

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