It was a dramatic offseason off the field for the Orioles as they had rumors surrounding GM Dan Duquette's interest in the Blue Jays. However, the Orioles return much of their A.L East-winning team from 2014. Here are five reasons they will defend the crown.
Pies to the face
The Orioles’ clubhouse atmosphere is the one of the best in the Majors and players love playing in Baltimore. There are plenty of discussions over whether chemistry impacts the product on the field, but make no doubt about it, the Orioles have plenty of it.
Getty ImagesRob Carr
Matt Wieters is back
Coming back from an injury and in his walk year, Matt Wieters will have plenty to prove in 2015. He looked every bit like an All-Star having a career year in 2014 before going out for the season with Tommy John. He will bounce back to form and be a force in the middle of the O’s lineup.
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Zach Britton is just finding his groove
The move from the starting rotation to the bullpen has revitalized Zach Britton’s career and vaulted him into the upper echelon of late-inning relievers. The first-year closer converted 37 of 41 save opportunities last season and there’s no reason why he won’t continue to improve while he gets comfortable in the ninth inning role.
Getty ImagesGregory Shamus
The best defense in baseball
The Orioles had an elite defense in 2014 and it should only get better in 2015. The return of Manny Machado, Matt Wieters, the emergence of Alejandro De Aza and the addition of Travis Snider should all positively impact the Orioles’ defense.
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The reigning A.L. MOY
The reigning American League Manager of the Year didn’t win that award by accident. He outperformed all of the experts’ predictions and the computers’ projections. The general public always seems to count out the Orioles (including this season) and Buck Showalter always seems to keep them in the running for the division title.