While it may still be too early to know all the answers to the many pressing questions facing the Baltimore Orioles and their fan base, spring training is certainly close enough to answer most of them. There is still one big elephant in the room — Chris Davis. Will he re-sign? Who knows. The final moves of the offseason hinge on whether or not the Orioles are all-in on Davis.
Last season was a frustrating one to be an Orioles fan. An 81-81 finish leaves a disappointing taste in the mouths of the players, front office, fans, and hopefully ownership group. The Orioles starting rotation was simply not good enough. Injuries did hamper starters like Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez, but statistical prognosticators had been calling for their demise for years and finally got it. The offense was inconsistent at times, left and right fields were a black hole, and very few hitters in the lineup showed an ability to draw a walk. The free-swinging team, that finished third in the league in home runs, finished only ninth in runs scored. At critical times, while waiting around for the homers to fly off the bats of Davis or Manny Machado, the Orioles just could not push any runs across the plate.
To date, the Orioles have not addressed some of their more glaring holes. Everything hinges on Davis, one would reasonably assume. Who plays first base and right field depends on the big domino yet to fall. Is there enough money in the coffers for a bat like Davis or Justin Upton and a mid-tier starter like Yovani Gallardo? The Orioles made a run at Scott Kazmir, but were likely left out thanks to management’s unwillingness to offer opt-out clauses.
There are still plenty of questions facing the Orioles as February and Spring Training draw ever closer. Here are the eight (Orioles, Ripken, duh!) that seem to be the most important — excluding the whole Davis conundrum. Everyone knows that’s a question that needs to be answered. I’ll try to be better than that.