The Baltimore Orioles were one of the most offensively productive teams in Major League Baseball in 2013, but it wasn’t enough to get them to the postseason. Failing to even reach a wild card spot, pitching was the downfall of a team that excelled at the plate, as well as in the field. If all goes according to plan, not only will the Orioles be better on the mound in 2014, but they could be even better from an offensive perspective.
The Orioles haven’t spent big money this offseason, but they haven’t really had to. There are pieces in place, particularly as far as their offense is concerned. They sought out a bat or two to add to the mix for much of the offseason, and over the weekend they managed to land Nelson Cruz on a steal of a one-year deal, worth just over $8 million, adding a power bat to an already potent lineup.
Cruz will join a lineup that will look roughly like this heading into the 2014 season:
- C – Matt Wieters
- 1B – Chris Davis
- 2B – Ryan Flaherty
- SS – J.J. Hardy
- 3B – Manny Machado
- LF – Nolan Reimold
- CF – Adam Jones
- RF – Nick Markakis
- DH – Nelson Cruz
Without Cruz, this was a lineup that scored 745 runs in 2013, which was good for fifth in the league. Collectively, they hit .260, which was good for 10th in the league, while reaching base at a .313 clip, coming in at 19th in the bigs in that regard. There’s room for improvement as far as those percentages go, and we should see it. Markakis should bounce back and we know that Wieters is capable of reaching base at a much higher rate than .287. Nelson Cruz adds a career .327 OBP to the mix as well.
So the Baltimore Orioles are going to get on base more in 2014. They hit 212 home runs in 2013, with potential for even gaudier power figures in 2014 with Cruz added to the lineup. Make no mistake about it, though, this is not a team that is going to have to life and die by the long ball, like they did to a certain degree last season. They’re going to get on base and make things happen. While their pitching may still keep them from getting to exactly where they want to be this season, their offense is going to be a tough matchup for any staff.