While it's looking more and more like the Baltimore Orioles won't be making a big addition to their lineup like they wanted to this winter, the team remains good enough internally to make another run at the AL East crown in 2013.
However, that doesn't mean that GM Dan Duquette won't continue to look for ways to improve his club.
No matter how good a team is, no team is ever perfect. The O's have a couple of obvious holes, and improvement could push the team over the edge, being the difference between a division title along with a long playoff run or grabbing a wild-card slot for the second season in a row.
The Orioles have many solid options already for their starting rotation—something that hasn't been said in Baltimore for a long time—and with a couple of young top picks on the way in Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, it's likely Duquette would prefer to add the middle-of-the-order hitter the team so dearly lacks.
Over the first half of the season, the Orioles offense should remain similar to what it was over the last two months of the 2012 season: solid, but not overwhelming. The team will continue to prove its need of a scary-good run producer.
There likely won't be very many options on the market, since no team is ever just desperately trying to dump a fantastic hitter. But some options are always available, especially at the right price.
It is my belief that the Washington Nationals will fail to find the match they seek for first baseman/ outfielder Michael Morse, and will hang on to him going into the 2013 season. They'll find ways to rotate him into the lineup, and he'll continue to display good power and be productive.
As the season progresses, Washington will realize that it does need one more lefty in the bullpen, and will seek to fill that void in late July, again bringing up trade talks between the O's and Nats about Morse.
O's lefty Brian Matusz will struggle in the rotation to start the season, and be moved back into the bullpen, where he'll prove to be an effective weapon.
Being that Morse will be in the final year of his contract, it won't take much to get him, and the O's will trade for the right-handed hitter, giving up just Matusz and a lower-level prospect.
Slotting Morse into the middle of the Orioles lineup will help provide solid run production and balance for a lineup in need of another RBI man.
And that will help push the O's to the AL East crown in 2013.
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