If the Orioles escape this offseason without signing mediocre players to long-term deals - their calling card in the past decade - then this winter isn't a failure.
But without Mark Teixeira running down the orange carpet in April at Camden Yards, it can't be considered a success, either.
Getting Teixeira to come home to a moribund franchise was always thought to be a long shot. But the Orioles have a chance, and they need to make good on it.
Because they won't have a similar opportunity with Teixeira 2.0 in 2010 or Teixeira 3.0 in 2011, if one exists. This business is about two things: money and winning. The Orioles can't immediately offer the latter to Teixeira, but they can dole out the most of the former. If the winning component isn't there, there has to be something else a team can add to mountains of cash. The Orioles have that with Teixeira in the allure of coming home to play for his childhood favorite.
They won't have that next year when Matt Holliday leads an unexciting group of offensive players. Holliday won't even slow dance with the Orioles, not when he can get similar money from a winner and has no emotional ties to Baltimore.
And the rest of the 2010 free-agent sluggers available? Well, there's Jason Bay, Adrian Beltre, a declining Vladimir Guerrero and a trio of familiar names: Miguel Tejada, Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora.
Exactly. Teixeira represents the Orioles' best chance to sign a legitimate superstar for the long term and energize a beleaguered fan base in the short term.
Fair or not, their offseason success is tied to Teixeira, because this type of opportunity won't come around again soon for the Orioles.