The Baltimore Orioles will be looking to build on a 2022 season that saw them finish two games above .500 but see that be good enough for just fourth place in the ultra-competitive AL East. They will begin 2023 on the road with a series against the Boston Red Sox, the only team they finished ahead of last season in the division. This is fooled by a pit stop in Dallas, where they play three games against the Texas Rangers.
The O’s home slate begins on Thursday, April 6, against the defending AL East champion New York Yankees. The Yanks had a 16-game cushion on the Orioles at the end of last season, so it will be interesting to see how much improvement there is early on in the year. The Oakland Athletics are next up for Baltimore before home series later in April against the Detroit Tigers and the Red Sox.
Here are three questions for the Orioles ahead of the 2023 season.
Three Key Questions
Are slight upgrades enough?
The Orioles didn’t make any monster signings this offseason, but the level of improvement across the board should be enough to see them win more games. Adam Frazier is a nice addition at second base – he will make that position his own in short order – while Kyle Gibson and Cole Irvin will be helpful to the pitching rotation. A couple of former New York Mets will also be important, with James McCann being a veteran catching presence for future star Adley Rutschman to learn from and Mychal Givens providing a solid arm in the bullpen.
Is the youth movement justified?
The O’s were so frugal – comparatively – in free agency because they believe they have enough in-house to compete in the division. The aforementioned Rutschman is a star on the rise, while third baseman Gunnar Henderson is an elite defensive third baseman with enough pop to close in on 30 homers as he develops his swing. If Henderson can hit for average – he is a little too strikeout-heavy right now – and if top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez can break into the starting rotation, then the lack of established major league contributors will not be as keenly felt.
Will the Camden Yards noise become a distraction?
The Orioles wouldn’t be the first (or last) team to be waylaid by drama out of the control of the players and coaching staff. The team is desperately looking for upgrades to their 31-year-old ballpark. Still, red tape is causing serious issues in getting the $600 million in funding that should be available per a new Maryland law to upgrade the stadium. This city once saw the Baltimore Colts slip out in the middle of the night to go and play their football in Indianapolis. Las Vegas is actively courting MLB teams to add to its growing sports portfolio, and this distraction needs to be dealt with by the top brass in Baltimore sooner rather than later.