Are Baltimore Orioles Legit Contenders in AL East?

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There is quite an interesting infield makeover going on in Baltimore this offseason. With the signing of Derrek Lee the Orioles now have a completely new infield facing the batter (Brian Roberts is back at 2nd base, but he only played 59 games last year and a healthy Roberts is akin to a new player….)

The 2011 Orioles now have Derrek Lee at 1B, Brian Roberts at 2B, J.J. Hardy at SS, and Mark Reynolds at 3B. Add them to Matt Weiters behind the plate, Felix Pie in left, Adam Jones in center, Nick Markakis in right and Luke Scott at DH and you certainly have an AL East offensive line-up that compete.

The Orioles can score all the runs they want, but if they can’t compete from a pitching standpoint they are simply spinning their wheels. From where I sit the O’s will now lose game 6-4 instead of 6-3 or 6-2. Right now. you're choice of a starting pitching staff comes from Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen, Chris Tillman, Zach Britton and Rick VandenHurk. Are there upper echelon pitching prospects there? Sure there are, but depending on those kids and sprinkling in journeyman veterans isn’t going to get it done in the AL East.

Another problem is that Derrek Lee, Brian Roberts, J.J. Hardy, Nolan Reimold, Felix Pie, Brad Bergesen, Jason Berken, Mike Gonzalez, Jim Johnson and Koji Uehara are all coming off injury riddled 2010 seasons. Given the fact that quite a few of those guys aren’t exactly spring chickens, penciling them in for healthy years is less than a dubious proposition.

Camden Yards is a great place to watch a game. If you are traveling there from out of town to watch your team play a game or a series, you’ll have a blast watching your team play in that ball park and spending some time in the revitalized down town. If you are an Orioles fan however and want to go there to watch your team win, you aren’t going to be so happy (unless you also have the opposing batters on your fantasy baseball team). - Mike Cardano

Mike is the founder of Around the Horn Baseball & Xtra Point Football.

You may email Mike @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at MC3SportsMedia

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