Crawdaddy takes a look at the Orioles and realistic expectations for 2011. The average ZIPS projection puts us at 75 wins. The paragraphs that stand out to me (and I agree):
So, that is where we are. The team is not a Vlad away from a playoff birth. The team is not a Adam Dunn away from a playoff birth. The team is not a Cliff Lee away from a playoff birth. It is not a Vlad, Dunn, Lee away. More so, many of the guys who provide talent for this team are probably not got to be around much longer. Brian Roberts is on his last legs, which was completely and utterly foreseeable as second basemen do not age well. This is almost a hard and steady rule without exception. Guthrie is about to become expensive. Hardy and Lee will be free agents. Scott probably is on the way down from last year and not long to be around. The chance of all of these young players hitting their stride in development would be incredibly unique and there is not a wave of talent ready to crash onto the MLB scene for the Orioles.
Andy MacPhail has certainly strengthened the franchise, but the minors look hollow outside of two elite talents in Britton and Manny Machado. The elite talent at the MLB level is not looking so elite and is entering into the more expensive arbitration phases. The Orioles are also not a cheap team at 75MM. What will an extra 25MM get you in free agency? Not as much as this team needs. Can the team sustain a payroll of 125MM? I don't know. They need to if they wish to properly complement the needs of this team over the next few years. I just do not see them as a 125MM team. Peter Angelos certainly has money to make that happen, but I do not see the Orioles revenue supporting that. Angelos would have to take a loss every year until fans get invested into the team and Baltimore could jack up ticket prices and drink prices to three times what it is now.
Are you still optimistic?
Unfortunately I couldn't agree more with this. Really, so much has to go right for the Orioles to compete with the Sox, Yankees and Rays. John Sickels' prospect list proves just how thin the O's system is (viewtopic.php?t=152). One can only hope the O's farm system has a Royals like 2011. If the O's fail to meet expectations in 2011, I'm afraid the chances of a competitive team anytime soon are going to be just about gone.