More time with a healthy Markakis would help and if McLouth comes back and produces like he did this year that will help too. Machado should improve in his first full big league season (assuming he is the starting 3B next year), so the only thing missing is a second baseman. Can Ryan Flaherty
be the guy? I certainly wouldn't bet on Brian Roberts
making any impact next year.
What position will that #3/#4 hitter play? Who's likely to be available this offseason? I'm satisfied with the group that's in place outside of 2B.
This team's strength down the stretch was the defense and that looks like it could remain the same next year. The ALDS highlighted the all or nothing nature of the lineup but remember the effect of losing the team's most consistent hitter in Markakis. If Markakis is healthy, I have to think the series would have turned out differently.