I was working on an Orioles all-decade team as I wanted to follow up what James started with his top ten Oriole moments of the decade; however, I was beat to the punch by Shotgun Spratling from the Blue Workhorse, who put together an immaculate list of talent on their blog.
- Catcher, Javy Lopez
- First Base, Jeff Conine
- Second Base, Brian Roberts
- Shortstop, Miguel Tejada
- Third Base: Melvin Mora
- Left Field: Luke Scott
- Center Field: Corey Patterson
- Right Field: Nick Markakis
- Designated Hitter: Aubrey Huff
- Left-Handed Starter: Erik Bedard
- Right-Handed Starter: Mike Mussina
- Reliever: B.J. Ryan
- Closer: Chris Ray
I like their list as written (and it’s very solid); however, I do have some changes and recommendations.
I’d go ahead and insert Adam Jones onto the team in place of Patterson by virtue of his Gold Glove and All-Star nod in ’09. Patterson, with all his athletic gifts, never lived up to his potential and trying to be a power hitter killed his career. I think if he had cut down his swing and bunted more, he would have been an everyday .280-.300 hitter easily with his speed.
I’d also go ahead and place Sherrill onto the team as the closer instead of Ray by virtue of his All-Star nod in ’08. In the end, Sherrill’snumbers weren’t that great due to shoulder issues after the All-Star Game that year, but I am also throwing in his remarkable numbers in ’09 to merit inclusion on the list.
The list might want to include Rodrigo Lopez as the right handed starter rather than Mussina. Mussina left the Orioles after 2000 (he had an 11-15 record that year), and Lopez had three solid winning seasons in a Baltimore uniform before losing 18 games in 2006 and being sent on his way out of the organization.
In addition, I would make a place for Jay Gibbons — perhaps he replaces fan favorite Luke Scott in left — despite the feelings of his steroid use in Birdland. Gibbons did have a few productive years, looked like a potential cornerstone of the franchise and was a nice guy off the field.
Finally, the biggest freaking bust for the Orioles this decade was Sir Sidney Ponson. No explanation needed.