The team has been trending down for awhile now and it looks like the team will not compete for the rest of the season. Not many thought they would compete this season and the first half surprised most. Personally, I didn't think they would win more than they won last season. Overall, the offense has been horrible, the starters have been horrible, the bullpen has been excellent, and the defense has been embarrassing. However, I feel the future is as bright as it ever has been in Baltimore.
Starting at the top it seems as if Duquette really wants to establish an international presence which is great to hear. He also loves himself some depth which is never a bad thing. Rumors are that he is fully backed by Peter Angelos. Buck is an incredible manager and one of the best in all of baseball. He is great at managing a bullpen and all of his players respect him and play hard for him.
The future of the starting pitching looks pretty good. Bundy is regarded as the top pitching prospect in baseball, Gausman from what I've read has #2 potential and will likely be a #2 or #3 starter, Chen should be a great guy to have at the back of a rotation, Britton has the potential to be a #2 type starter, Tillman is a total wildcard but his stuff looked as good as I have ever seen it in his debut this season, Arrieta and Matusz both have great stuff that if they can fix themselves working with Peterson can still be good middle of the rotation starters. Jason Hammel can sign an extension and be the veteran presence in the rotation who should be a good #2 or #3 going forward or he can be traded for prospects next season.
Offensively, they have some work to do but they do have some pieces. Adam Jones
should be the #3 hitter for the duration of his contract, Markakis is a good hitter who should bat 2nd ahead of AJ, Wieters is good and is a good fit at 5th or 6th in a lineup, Davis has been better than expected and has great power, Betemit has hit right handed pitching well and as a DH vs righties is great at the bottom of the order. In the minors Machado was just named the #3 prospect in all of baseball by Keith Law, Delmonico has been great in his first professional season, Schoop was a Double A All Star who is viewed as a top 100 prospect, Hoes and Avery are both having breakout seasons at AAA. They should have every position covered for the upcoming years except for 3B which could be filled by a trade or by moving Hardy or Machado. Personally, I would trade for Headley now and once Machado is ready trade Hardy but I don't know how realistic that is.
The bullpen has been phenomenal this season and should continue to be great going forward. Jim Johnson is the best closer in baseball right now, Strop is incredible, O'Day and Patton have both been great, Ayala is alright, Eveland is fine as a longer reliever, Lindstrom has looked good but may not be back next season, and Gregg has been bad. Guys like Pomeranz, Gonzalez, Socolovich, and others going forward should make this a great bullpen for a long time. There are plenty of bullpen arms in the minors that look like they will be good big league relievers and guys like Tillman, Arrieta, etc. should all be good relievers if they don't make it as starters.
So, going forward they have the potential for a very good rotation, a good offense, and a great bullpen. They will need to find a lead off hitter and a clean up hitter for the offense but they have pieces in place for the rest of the lineup that may be able to make up for those spots.
The first half of this season was fun and maybe they can shock the world and hang on but I just don't see it. 2013 may not be the year they really compete for a playoff spot but they should be around a .500 team. 2014 is the year I see this team as serious contenders as long as they make the right moves.