Tap-In Question: What should be the Orioles' No. 1 offseason priority? - BaltimoreBaseball.com
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Tap-In Question: What should be the Orioles’ No. 1 offseason priority?

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon


Not a festive day in the Tap Room. The O’s are done, and the Ravens lose to the Redskins.

We’ll offer a two-for-one drink special today so you can drown your sorrows.

I’m only asking one question today. But it’s a weighty one.

Last week, Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter discussed, at least generally, the path this team is on for 2017. You can read my take on that here.

Some of the topics that were covered included the free agency of Matt Wieters and Mark Trumbo, potential extensions for Manny Machado, Chris Tillman, Zach Britton and Jonathan Schoop, the club’s need to improve its on-base percentage and its starting rotation. And now they have a pitching coach vacancy, too.

As Duquette said, “We have our work cut out for us in the offseason.”

There really are a lot of issues facing this 89-win team.

I think the club needs to look at re-signing both Wieters and Trumbo, though I doubt either gets done.

I know a lot of people think the Orioles need to improve their rotation and obtain an ace. I’d agree, except aces aren’t available in this free agent class and the organization isn’t deep enough in top prospects to trade for one.

I also hear daily from fans that plead for the Orioles to extend Machado’s contract. And, yes, I believe that is a huge priority. But he isn’t a free agent until after the 2018 season. This offseason would be the perfect time to do it, but there will be time remaining if it doesn’t get done by Opening Day 2017. In fact, re-signing Tillman, the only one of the above-mentioned four that’s a free agent after next season, requires more urgency than bringing back Machado.

For me, the No. 1 priority this offseason needs to be the diversification of the lineup. They need to find one, maybe two more hitters that have well-rounded offensive skills. Someone who can get on-base at a near .400 clip and maybe leadoff. Draw a walk, see some pitches, move a runner over, not strikeout in key moments.

You get my point.

Anyway, let’s hear from you.

Tap-In Question: What do you think should be the Orioles’ No. 1 offseason priority?



  1. mta000

    October 10, 2016 at 7:39 am

    Lucrative extensions to that many top players would be done for the express goal of establishing a world series window, any window would have to open AFTER the 2017 season as long as Jimenez, Gallardo and Miley are all on the roster. Speaking solely in the interest of a win now 2017 season dumping those three has to be the number one priority.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 10, 2016 at 10:01 am

      You can’t dump three. You don’t have that many replacements. And that’d be a whole lot of money to eat. But I’m sure they’ll test the trade market to see if they can move 1.

      • mta000

        October 10, 2016 at 1:55 pm

        you can’t give those three 60-90 starts either so it really becomes a question of priorities. salvage sunk costs through hope alone or eat the monetary losses and try to stay competetive.

  2. Eldersburg Enigma

    October 10, 2016 at 8:00 am

    Enhance the bench. We’ve seen Buck run Jones, Davis, Machado, and Schoop into the ground by not resting them enough.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 10, 2016 at 10:01 am

      a solid thought. But the No. 1 thing?

  3. DutchDinger

    October 10, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Same one as last year. Pitching.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 10, 2016 at 10:03 am

      Unlike last year, the starting P market is super weak. Gallardo would probably be a Top 7 guy.

  4. amcollins67

    October 10, 2016 at 9:40 am

    A prime defender in center field. Jones is slowing down and should move to a corner. Better yet if the new center fielder can get on base, but even if not this will make the biggest improvement to the pitching staff.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 10, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Gonna have to disagree here. Is Jones the defender he was five years ago? With all the bumps and bruises, no. Is he still a good center fielder? Yep.

  5. c Soprano

    October 10, 2016 at 9:47 am

    #1A – trade Britton #1B QO Matt and Jumbo
    Didn’t ask but other ideas: Look for bailout on CD, Kim to DH, Jones to RF, Trade for Adam Eaton or similar skill set for both open spots in the OF. Also, unlikely but optimistic, unload 2 of 3 of overprice garbage starters.

    • ubetonit

      October 10, 2016 at 10:59 am

      Agree with every move that you list – regretfully re Britton, but it’s realpolitik. Believe it’s imperative that we dump sleepwalker CD ‘for whatever’ as the Red Sox had the courage to do with Carl Crawford & Josh Beckett. Don’t wait for a positive return. Addition by subtraction. And i say that fully expecting another 40+HR next yr from CLUELESS CD. Can’t remember such a meaningless, empty 38HR/84 yr. He kills rallies.

      Love to have Adam Eaton & then play ‘Jumbo’ at 1st.

  6. Dan Connolly

    October 10, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Boy, that’s shaking this team up a whole lot. I see the thought on Britton. I just don’t trust the haul they’d get in return.

    • ubetonit

      October 10, 2016 at 11:12 am

      A player who has always intrigued me is http://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.cgi?id=lastel000tho

      .319BA/.402OBP 6 yrs MiL 147BB/115k’s Had a one yr shot with ATL & unfortunately now is 27 y.o. Move Schoop to 3rd Manny to SS

      • Dan Connolly

        October 10, 2016 at 12:53 pm

        At the expense of Hardy? No shot. With one move, you are theoretically worsening three defensive positions.

        • ubetonit

          October 11, 2016 at 9:27 am

          “theoretically worsening three defensive positions” Machado is that much less a defensive SS than Hardy? La Stella will be that much less a defensive 2b than Schoop? Are you sure about that, Dan?

          Hardy is 34 & missed 100 gms the past 2 yrs. DeFacto he wasn’t the SS 31% of the time.

  7. lmterps

    October 10, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Lead off hitter with speed and gets on base. (Dexter Fowler type).

    • Dan Connolly

      October 10, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      A huge need. Drink chip

  8. cobragt23

    October 10, 2016 at 11:02 am

    I am assuming in changes Diskette makes will be on the cheap so let’s hope Joey Richard can stay healthy to give us a good lead off hitter and put Kim in the other corner and I would hope that would cut down on the strike outs. l am sure Dan will find another project for the pitching staff off the scrap heap.

  9. Marshall

    October 10, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Thoughts as they come out –

    #1 – starter. There’s no way that’s ever a wrong option. There’s just nothing impactful amongst the FAs. Hellickson?

    Positions locked for us- 1B/DH, 2B, 3B, CF, RF/DH
    So if we want to go for an OBP upgrade, it would have to occur at LF, SS, or C.
    Unless someone overbids, Wieters probably still has a chance at staying.
    Hardy at 34, still has one more year, right?
    LF was an amalgamation of Bourn, Stubbs, Kim, Reimold.

    FA options at SS are awful, so there’s no real reason to cut, bench, or move JJ for an offensive boost.

    C is going to be expensive for quality unless Sisco is ready. Over-30 options abound but nothing would be an upgrade offensively except maybe Lucroy

    LF FA options include the oft injured & old. Are they better individually than what we could do now? Ian Desmond?

    I don’t see much to hope for with any FA upgrade based on what I see available. Any invigoration would have to come from a trade or a minor league surge.

    If we wanted to get crazy, we shift Manny over and look at 3B trade candidates. That’s actually exciting. Imagine Manny @ SS with Todd Frazier at 3B last year?

    I don’t know. Cold and calculating, SS & LF are the biggest holes of offense.

    • Marshall

      October 10, 2016 at 11:07 am

      Forgot about Rickard. His sample size didn’t indicate he was an OBP answer though.

      • ubetonit

        October 10, 2016 at 11:14 am

        Worst OF i’ve ever seen for a speedy guy

    • Dan Connolly

      October 10, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      I’m not really sure why so many people are down on JJ Hardy. He had a slow start, but once healthy he was solid. He actually had the third best average on the team (players w 300 or more Abs) behind Kim and Manny. He hit .273 with a .317 OBP and 6 homers in 73 second half games. Most teams take that from a shortstop w GG-type defense.

      • ubetonit

        October 11, 2016 at 9:19 am

        I’m not down on JJ. His arrival began the revival of the Orioles. My fondest wish is that they win a WS while he’s still the SS. But it ain’t gonna happen. You asked our opinion about changes. Are they restricted to the 9th, 10th, 11th man? To make him off limits is like saying “Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

        He’s 34 & missed ONE HUNDRED gms the past 2 seasons. DE FACTO he wasn’t the SS 100 gms 31% of the time.

  10. OrioleObie

    October 10, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Finding a pitching coach to continue the bullpen dominance and obp have to be the focus of the off season. F/A market is thin and getting creative hurts defensive nucleus. Look to trade some of the bullpen depth (ouch) for a corner outfielder that can get on base. Fowler looks great this year, but is 30 and I worry about durability. Wieters and Trumbo get Q/O. I would hope Trumbo stays as he will produce fastball friendly at-bats in front of him. Wieters steadies the staff, but his obp hurts.

    I think the pitching coach decision will be as big as any acquisition. Bullpen has kept them in it every season.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 10, 2016 at 11:01 pm

      I don’t see the QO for Wieters this time around. But then again I didn’t think he’d accept it last time. His agent had publicly railed against that system. So there’s my expertise.

  11. grahamkingdc

    October 10, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    We need guys who can get on base.
    Let’s assume we keep Jones, Trumbo, Machado, Hardy, Schoop, and Davis. That leaves LF, DH, and C as possible positions to fill. Who are the best available candidates that hit for average/get on base? 250+ home runs, but we were only 7th in runs scored.

    Finally, we need a batting coach who preaches patience, especially late in the game. We bailed out so many pitchers by swinging at the first offering.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 10, 2016 at 11:02 pm

      You can preach all you want. Most of these guys are veterans. They are the ones that have to perform.

  12. speedbump210

    October 10, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    1. On a certain level, you have to shop Britton. He is approaching Jim Johnson territory and selling high on him this year is a good way to rebuild on the fly and remain competitive longterm (without completing gutting the team) instead of pulling off a salary dump for Jamile Weeks.

    2. Get creative on pitching. If there is one thing that was a nice surprise is the tantalizing thought of Bundy and Gausman at the top of the 2017 rotation. Slot Tillman at #3 and Miley at #4. Miley got incredibly unlucky with us and has the peripherals to make us think he can do better. Gallardo was hot garbage with numbers that didn’t make it seem like he was fooling anyone. Ubaldo is a great guy and he is getting far too much flak for last week. But he is still quite inconsistent and if a better replacement can be had, then do it. So the pitching market may be pretty weak, but it’s definitely full of bottom of the rotation types. Or take a look at the trade market.

    3. Try to extend Manny. If this was the only thing done, I’d be happy. Then sit his button down and tell him the next time he runs the bases like an idiot, he is benched the next day. Far too much this year.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 10, 2016 at 11:04 pm

      Not sure I agree with these thoughts fully, but like the work that went into them. Drink chip

  13. Bancells Moustache

    October 10, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    Veteran leadership. Get someone in the building who has won. Doesn’t have to be a star. Just a veteran, David Ross type who knows what it takes to win because, frankly, this team is full of glittering names who haven’t won squat. Noone on the team, from Jones, the so-called fiery leader who vanishes in late September, on up to Buck, Duquette and Angelos has a ring on their finger, and it shows. The last three playoff appearances they curled up and died with a whimper. They need someone who can take charge of that clubhouse and get them on track.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 10, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      I’m gonna disagree here. I don’t think intensity or leadership is lacking on this team. I think they are flawed in several ways. But I don’t think pulling up the tent is one of them.

      • Bancells Moustache

        October 11, 2016 at 12:19 am

        The proof is in the pudding Dan. While we were happily talking about the “plucky little Orioles” yada yada yada, they are kinda turning into the Buffalo Bills. 2 years after going to the ALCS on the strength of a 96 win season, a team with 7 out of 9 position players that are current or former All stars blew it in a one game playoff because they couldn’t figure out how to hit a baseball with a wooden bat. That SCREAMS “we need leadership” to me.

  14. bigdaddydk

    October 10, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    So, as I see it, here they are, in order:

    1. Corner OF – re-sign Bourn or make a hard push for Ian Desmond or Michael Saunders, none of which solve the K rate, but they have decent OBP numbers and Desmond and Saunders both hit for some power, a good thing in OPACY. Any of these three would strengthen the defense by getting Trumbo out of the field. None of them are RFs normally, but they could all play RF or LF, and Bourn and Desmond would be good depth for CF too if Jones has any additional injury issues.

    2. Re-sign Trumbo – Trumbo is versatility in the field (RF or 1B) and he likes to hit in OPACY.

    3. Try to work a deal with Wieters for 3 years – Wieters manages a pitching staff fairly well and there’s nothing else out there to go after. I’d be iffy on Wilson Ramos after his injury and the rest of the FA market for C is incredibly thin. Sisco isn’t ready for prime time defensively and Joseph was abysmal with the bat, practically a Mark Belanger behind the plate, which is unacceptable at a position that demands offensive production too. 3 years gives time for Sisco to get to the big leagues without rushing him, and the deal expires before Wieters is too far into a downhill slide that won’t end up with him DH-ing or playing 1B at the end.

    4. Try to sign Hellickson – his ERA came back down below 4 after two rough years, and if you can win more than you lose in Philly you’re not doing too badly. He’s no Steve Carlton, not by a long shot, but he’s worlds better than the three-headed monster of Miley, Jimenez, and Gallardo. I’d hang onto Jimenez simply because he has a greater upside potential, and he’s shown flashes this year that might make him an acceptable #5 guy in the rotation.

    5. Develop Mancini – he could be a DH solution if Trumbo jumps ship for big money elsewhere, which I expect to happen. Granted his sample size is small, but he mashed when he came up at the end (which begs the question, why PH Reimold for Kim instead of Mancini in the WC game?)

    I thought for a time about trying to sign Encarnacion because he’d thrive at OPACY and it would keep him from killing the O’s year in and year out, particularly if he goes to a divisional team like Boston (DH replacement for Ortiz) or NY (1B replacement for Teixeira.) Not sure that they’ll be able to compete for him, but he’d be a suitable DH to replace Trumbo, and he’d probably hit 45-50 bombs per year. Plus his OBP is well over .300, he doesn’t strike out nearly as often, and he’s an RBI machine. I could envision a line of .280/.370/.580 at OPACY. Not sure they can afford him though.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 10, 2016 at 11:09 pm

      Like the ideas Big Daddy, but Encarnacion is gonna get a huge deal. He’s one of the most consistent players on the open market. And Hellickson’s bottom line is gonna blow our minds. There will be a bidding war for him since the P market is so thin.

      • bigdaddydk

        October 11, 2016 at 5:31 am

        I agree on both Encarnacion and Hellickson. If they could go after one or the other, I’d say Hellickson, but I agree on his bottom line, considering the state of the pitching market. Makes me wish all the more that they’d taken a chunk of the Davis money and thrown it at Chen. With him they had a solid lefty and a legit #3 guy in the rotation. And based on what it will cost to sign a new pitcher of his quality, the contract he’d have gotten for 5 years would look like a real bargain. But there’s that old adage about hindsight, right?

        All in all, if they settle the corner OF issue that results in a higher OBP guy at the top of the order, and they make progress in locking down Tillman and Machado for the forseeable future, I’ll consider the offseason to be a bit of a success.

  15. Moses54

    October 10, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Priority should be on base percentage given our limitations. We know a good bit of who’s back so outfield, DH, are the spots and maybe catcher but thats tougher. Hopefully one of them a lead off man. We would have taken the division without so many voids in our scoring. Our hands are tied somewhat on pitching. There is more reason to hope though now that Bundy and Gausman can build on last year. Tilman obviously there. I’m sure Ubaldo will be in the mix and that’s hard to predict. Gallardo and Miley in the mix unless we can improve on them with a weak free agent class.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 10, 2016 at 11:09 pm

      Well said Moses. Drink chip.

  16. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 11, 2016 at 7:36 am

    I’m thinking Kershaw and Scherzer …..

  17. Osfansip

    October 11, 2016 at 9:32 am

    I think a healthy Richard and keeping Bourne would be a leadoff platoon and even a number 9,1 combo in lineup at times. It would improve defense and add speed. Signing Machado and Tillman now, not waiting to the last month. Deciding if you are going with Mancini as DH or Trumbo. Don’t see room for both, Trumbo’s D is a problem. SP should be much improved with what’s in place, I don’t see Os getting a pitcher that’s any better than what they already have. IMHO the problem in the second half was not enough men on base for the power to knock in.

  18. Tiss

    October 11, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Rotation next year should be better with continued development of Gausman and Bundy. Tillman having a Tillman year will be just fine. That leaves some combination of Gallardo, Jimenez, Miley, Worley, Wilson, and Wright to fill two spots. I’ll get myself in all sorts of trouble and say we do nothing there. We aren’t getting an ace. Sure, if we can get the White Sox to trade us Chris Sale for three of those 6 SP’S and a bucket of balls, above that’d be great, but let’s be realistic. And we don’t need a fringe guy like Hellickson to muddy the waters there and more than they already are. That’s the BS that got us the Gallardo and Jimenez contracts. In the pen everyone stays, thought I’d like to see a solid lefty arm out there other than Britton.

  19. Tiss

    October 11, 2016 at 10:57 am

    As far as hitters and fielders go, I have immense disagreement with most of what I’m hearing. At catcher, Wieters goes. Sorry folks, but he’s just not worth what someone is going to pay him. No QO for him. I’ll get myself in more trouble and say that I think we could muddle through with Joseph (so good defensively, folks) and spare parts at catcher next year along with the aggressive promotion of Chance Sisco. Guy is 21 and is hitting above .300 with patience and pop in the high minors. His bat is MLB ready and that might have been true a year ago. Absent that, maybe a guy like Stephen Vogt? Inexpensive, high OBP guy with LH pop to the short OPACY right field porch.

  20. Tiss

    October 11, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    1B-Davis. Leave him be. He does NOT need to be traded. He has this habit of leading the majors in HRs every odd year. One of our best OBP guys.
    2B-Schoop-Continue his development, especially (drink chip to the guy that said increase patience and OBP).
    SS-Hardy-Also could walk more, but isn’t this the last year of his contract? Let him finish it out. Then you get a 3B or SS the next year and Manny plays the other position.
    3B-Manny…yep, back up the Brinks truck. I’d have made Manny an extension offer he couldn’t ignore 4 years ago, but I think the brass is waiting until the Hardy, Jimenez, Gallardo, Miley contracts come off the books to act. Gausman and Bundy getting early extensions would be a masterful idea as well. I’m not as high on Tillman long term unless the price is as a #3 SP, which is what he is.

  21. alameda

    October 11, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    There definitely needs to be a culture change when it comes to hitting. Maybe the #1 priority should be finding the right hitting coach to change the culture to include taking pitches, working the counts, and wrack up base hits and walks rather than going for the long ball and striking out.

  22. Tiss

    October 11, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    In the OF, I’d like to see us get better with OBP and defense. As such, I LOVE the idea above of moving Jones to a corner spot, where he could be borderline elite defensively, which he simply isn’t in CF. I doubt the O’s will do this. I like Kim (OBP) but he’s not great defensively. I don’t like the idea of keeping Bourn or Stubbs (neither of whom is good defensively or an OBP guy). Rickard was borderline awful in his limited role this year, and gets a ticket to Norfolk. Some names I’ve heard that I like are Pearce (OBP, not great D, but injury history scares me), Fowler, Saunders (awful defensively). Trumbo certainly gets a QO, but he’s limited to DH with Crush at 1b, which severely curtails his value. Someone might overpay. Alvarez walks more, but is also DH only. He will be cheaper.

  23. Rhayne

    October 12, 2016 at 1:04 am

    Sign Tillman to an extension, and find a true lead off hitter.

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