The Orioles supposedly met their needs of an ace, closer, and cleanup hitting corner infielder by trading for Kevin Millwood and signing Mike Gonzalez and Garrett Atkins. That may be three check marks on paper but in reality shows that the O's have few aspirations of competing in 2010. Let's look at those moves quickly:
1. O's trade RP Chris Ray for SP Kevin Millwood and money
In the last year of his contract, the Rangers were willing to pay most of the money he was owed just to get rid of him and get an injury laden reliever. I like Chris Ray and he may end up regaining his form someday, but the Orioles couldn't afford to waste a spot in the bullpen with him before then. You can argue that Millwood had a good year and won't cost the O's much. But he's 35, past his prime, and really a #2 or 3 guy. It's better than throwing Guthrie out there Opening Day, but it's obvious that he's another one year stopgap. Expect him to be mediocre, like 13-15, 4.50 ERA.
2. O's sign RP Mike Gonzalez for 2 years, $11 million
This signing makes the most sense out of the three. You get a George Sherrill type with more heat - 90 Ks in 74 innings and a .204 opponent average in 2009. It lets the O's slide Jim Johnson back into a setup role and puts less pressure on Kam Mickolio, Koji Uehara, and the rest of the bullpen. It's also a multiyear deal. The only concerns are the move to the AL and a history of injuries.
3. O's sign 1B/3B Garrett Atkins for 1 year
Garrett Atkins has slowly gotten worse over the past three seasons. His average went from .301 to .286 to .226. Home runs from 25 to 21 to 9. RBI's from 111 to 99 to 48. Consider this too...he played in Colorado. And even if he did return to his 2007 form, if you look closely those numbers almost match Nick Markakis' numbers that year (.300, 23, 112). Nothing against Nick, but he isn't a cleanup hitter, and neither is Atkins.