This week, the annual MLB Winter Meetings will be taking place in Nashville, Tennessee. Once again, fans and the baseball world are looking forward to what happens. The Orioles, as we all know, flew high during the 2012 season, winning 93 games, regaining a fan base and delivering a world of possibilities that few could have dreamed of.
Now that we are in December, the Orioles have to do more with their roster if they plan to win again like they did in 2012. The organization has a good core of players at the major league level and the minor league system looks to be improved – somewhat; however, team needs a bat and perhaps another arm despite the success of a patchwork rotation and diamonds in the rough like Miguel Gonzalez, plus the emergence of Chris Tillman.
The Red Sox and Blue Jays are retooling, but what are the Orioles planning to do? Quite a few players will be getting raises either through their contracts, or arbitration, so the payroll will probably be going up. Then again, will the team rebuild through trades, or make a splash on the market.
We all know that Mark Reynolds was not tendered a contract by the Orioles and is a free agent. While he did come through big at the end of the summer at the plate, and also defensive at first base – frankly, he is not worth $9 million. While I like his grit, the Orioles could do much better on the market, or spread the money between multiple players. He could be re-signed at a lower rate, but I’d personally like to see the team get a much more productive hitter before even re-considering Reynolds for 2012.
The Orioles main priority should be finding a hitter much better value than Reynolds out there.
So far, based on what we’ve all gotten from the local media, it doesn’t look like the Orioles will be in play for some of the bigger bats and arms out there.
While I would love to see the Orioles show some boldness and go after a Josh Hamilton, or an Adam LaRoche, something tells me in my gut that they will use the trade market. I could see one of the young arms like Jake Arrieta or Zach Britton being dealt for Billy Butler of the Royals or the like.
Then again, signing a big name – as prudent as it may or may not be – would show the baseball world that the Orioles do mean ‘business’ and want to make waves in the sport. There’s a time to take risks – this off-season would be one of them.
The rebuilding portion of the plan finished far ahead of schedule. Now it’s time to maintain some stability.
I think this offseason, more than any in the past is critical for the Baltimore Orioles. They earned a playoff spot last year; however, a team can only win so many one-run games in a season. I don’t see that happening again.
The Orioles have to do something before Spring Training. I think they will, but what happens from here on out is anyone’s guess.