14 August 2018

Welcome to Baltimore, Cedric Mullins

There has not been a lot to look forward to during this Orioles season. What was supposed to be a competitive team wilted back in April. Since then, the team has traded away a handful of familiar faces with the promise of a brighter future. It's not always easy to see that future without some tangible evidence of his eventual arrival. The promotion of Cedric Mullins last week was the first proof that maybe there is, in fact, a light at the end of what may be a very long tunnel.

Mullins burst onto the major league scene with a three-hit debut. He showed all of the things that were promised: speed, on-base ability, a quick bat and some actual defense. Will he be a star in the bigs for a decade to come like his predecessor Adam Jones? That may be a bridge too far.

However, Mullins does make the Orioles a better team right now. Improving the defense in center field immediately makes life easier for everyone around him. Pitchers don't have to be quite as fine. The corner outfielders don't need to cover quite as much ground. And the middle infielders don't need to worry about reaching every bloop into the grass.

There is still a long way to go before the O's are officially back on the road to contention. Mullins might be a piece of the puzzle, but bigger pieces are coming, or at least they need to. A plus defender that can set the offensive table is nice, but the club still must build a competent infield and a middle of the order that can do more swing and miss.

The young players to come will be what makes this a team to pay attention to, just as long as you don't look too closely at the win-loss record. The Orioles are at their bottom as a franchise. It can't get much worse than this on the field. It will all be worth it if the pay off is as sweet as the dark days are sour.

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