In theory the Baltimore Orioles were on to something.
While most of Major League Baseball chose to turn its head when it came to steroids from 1996-2003, the Orioles decided to take action. That is, they gave big contracts to anyone willing to inject a little extra pop into their bats. Brady Anderson, Belle, Palmeiro, Lopez, Sosa, Tejada. God knows who else. Surhoff? Moose? At this point, you even have to wonder what got Ripken through all those games.
As we now know, none of the muscled up players brought any glory to Baltimore, making the O’s arguably the team most (or least if you think about it) affected by steroids in all of sports.
Opting to go in a different direction, they have decided to divert their attention to obtaining as many middle/setup relief men as possible. Yesterday, they agreed to terms with Chad Bradford and Scott Williamson. Last week, they elected to pay Jaime Walker and Danys Baez a combined $31 million for three years.
I completely understand the need for relief pitching, but those 7th and 8th inning guys are worthless when you have no one who can get the ball to them. Other than Eric Beddard, they’re going to depend on Daniel Cabrera and Adam Lowen, neither of whom throw strikes. Kris Benson and Rodrigo López get hit as hard as any two starters in the game and none of their top pitching prospects have completed a full season at Class AA yet. Odds are Jaret Wright won’t be the savior either.
2007 is going to be a rough year for the new relievers, as they essentially do mop-up work on a team that will lose 90 games.