The 2012 Major League Baseball winter meetings concluded yesterday in Nashville with the Rule 5 draft being the highlight of the day. Despite Baltimore Orioles fans eagerly needing and wanting the team to make some kind of noteworthy free agent signing or trade, the Orioles did the same ole song and dance and did nothing.
The Baltimore Orioles selected LHP T.J. McFarland in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 draft out of the Cleveland Indians organization. That was the only highlight, ok news, to come from the Orioles on the final day of the winter meetings. McFarland was a fourth round draft choice of the Indians in the 2007 draft and is 48-31 with a 3.83 ERA in five minor league seasons, which include 116 appearances, 107 of which were starts. Last year he split time between AA and AAA compiling a 8-2 record with a 2.69 ERA in AA and a 8-6 record with a 4.82 ERA in AAA. McFarland will have to remain on the Major League roster for the Orioles all season, just as Ryan Flaherty did last year. The only way out of that, would be to offer him back to the Indians for $25,000. The Orioles needed another left handed pitcher, and of course, they found the cheapest way possible to get one.
Only one Orioles organizational player was selected in the Rule 5 draft, and that was Robbie Widlansky, who played with the AA Bowie Baysox this season. Widlansky, 28, led the Baysox in hitting this season with a .316 average while hitting eight homers and knocking in 83 RBI.
The real story here is the lack of a story. The Orioles, coming off of their first winning season and playoff appearance since 1997 had all the reason in the world to go out and make something happen. Baltimore fans came back to this team down their stretch run, and were hoping things would be different now that the team is winning. Incorrect. The Orioles front office, although probably under strict orders from owner Peter Angelos to not spend any money, did not do anything other than resigning Nate McLouth to a one year deal. Do not get me wrong, I love McLouth and wanted to the O's to bring him back, but is he really going to be an everyday left fielder? Baltimore was mentioned in the same way they have been every offseason since the Angelos reign started, rumors, no action. The Orioles want to play it that they have no money to spend. Incorrect. The O's have plenty of money to spend, but Angelos will not let them spend, his sole goal is to make money, not spend it. 99% of owners in professional sports want to win first to make money later, Angelos falls in the 1% of make money now, and if we win its a bonus.
I know it is only December 7th and spring training is not for another two months which leaves plenty of time for the Orioles to make a move, but I am here to tell you do not get your hopes up Orioles fans because you will be disappointed. In my opinion the O's have gotten worse this offseason rather than getting better. They let Mark Reynolds walk, and have all but given Chris Davis the first base job, which is a severe downgrade defensively, and with Davis on first, the DH spot has severely declined as it appears Wilson Betemit and Danny Valencia will split the job. I hope Dan Duquette and the Orioles have an ace up their sleeve because it is ridiculous to ask manager Buck Showalter to be able to do what he did last year with less, not to mention the improvements made by teams in their division. Toronto made a blockbuster deal that immediately makes them contenders, Boston is signing guys left and right, and Tampa Bay has even filled a big hole they had at first base, open your eyes! Baltimore went 29-9 in one run games, the greatest record in one run games in the history of baseball for one season, do you really think that will happen again?! The Orioles were 16-2 in extra inning games, the best record in decades, do you really think that will happen again?! Bottom line is Angelos does not care either way as long as he makes more money.
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