Free agency is supposed to be one of those times when fans can dream big about what their teams may do.
So, if you like, go ahead and contemplate Dexter Fowler at the top of the Orioles’ order, or Edwin Encarnacion launching bombs in orange-and-black at Camden Yards or Kenley Jansen serving as half of the most dangerous closer combination on the planet.
Once you’re done with that come back to me. And we’ll talk a realistic approach to the Orioles and free agency.
The club needs to improve at right field, catcher and designated hitter – assuming Mark Trumbo, Matt Wieters and Pedro Alvarez sign elsewhere – and they could use another solid bullpen arm and a top-of-the-rotation starter.
Well, there is no ace available on the free-agent market, and the Orioles don’t have the kind of prospect package required to land an ace via a trade without damaging the current roster (think Jonathan Schoop, Dylan Bundy and more).
Plus, unless I’m way off here, the Orioles aren’t going to spend a lot of money this winter. With existing contracts and raises to arbitration-eligible players, the 2017 payroll is expected to surpass $150 million and set a franchise record. It’s hard to imagine that gets pumped up significantly with big-ticket free agent purchases.
So, here’s a more realistic look at some free agent targets for the Orioles, and why they make sense. I numbered them from one to 10, and even threw you dreamers a bone at the top of the list.