It sure has been a while since I last posted. From finishing up my doctorate, moving, starting a new job, and trying to plan a wedding . . . things have been exhausting. As evidenced in the past, baseball writing is the first thing to go. Anyway, I digress.
This past season wound up as a bit of a surprise. The logical critic in me thinks that Orioles performance over the past 50 games was just a matter of development and luck. The fan in me thinks that performance was due to development, Buck, and shear awesomeness. The truth is mist likely somewhere in between and shading more toward the logical perspective. It may indeed be part of Buck's way. Partway through the season, Nick Markakis complained to the media that batters would go up to bat without a plan. It could be that the pitchers were similarly hands off as well. Buck is known to be a manager who does his research and imparts that research on others. He seems to show a different type of teaching and it probably is by example.
That said, the question now is: what are the Orioles capable of next year?
For me, this is important to some extent because next year's draft may be the last one we are assured of a protected 1st round pick. It is an optimistic view, but I could see some free agent acquisitions to make this team mediocre. With a healthy dose of development . . . mediocre might become good. This means to me that it might be a good time to try to target a type A free agent or two. However, I will present two different approaches to the off season. One, will be aggressive with consideration of type A talent. The second will exclude type As from consideration.
All that and a little more after the jump.