Looking at 10 free agent targets that could fit for the Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

Looking at 10 free agent targets that could fit for the Orioles

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.

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  1. OsFanStuckInNY

    December 3, 2016 at 7:55 am

    I’ve contended for some time that if Fowler’s 2016 season had been with the O’s, they’d have been playing in that 7th game of the WS instead of the Indians.

    How much extra revenue would that have made? And, what I rarely hear discussed, how much profit do the O’s owners make each year?

    I know the budget is already $150 million range, and I think MLB salaries are already out of hand and have been for a very long time; but if the league can afford to pony up over $19 in bonuses to the winning roster of the All-Star game ($640k per player, on top of everything else they’re getting for playing less than 1/2 a game?!?), and TV/radio/MLBTV and advertisers are forking over hundreds of millions per team, I can’t help wondering how much more the O’s *could* spend if the owners cared to.

    All irrelevant in the Fowler case, since he’s likely to go for a staggering amount — and I’d much rather see the younger O’s extended. (Manny becomes a part owner for a career contract?)

    • OsFanStuckInNY

      December 3, 2016 at 7:56 am

      (That should be $19 MILLION in bonuses — oops)

    • Dan Connolly

      December 3, 2016 at 9:48 am

      Never been allowed to see books of a private business. So we don’t know revenue. That’s why you don’t hear it. As for Fowler, yes, perfect fit in 2016 and 17

  2. Eldersburg Enigma

    December 3, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Dexter Fowler has been my top target so far this offseason. And the usual suspects on this board respond with comments indicating that ship has sailed, he’s burned his bridges, etc. It’ll be interesting to see if others call out Dan in this the way they’ve called me out. I think the two biggest barriers to this team signing him are the 4th year he’s likely to get, and the fact that he likely insists on playing CF (I think the position issue is likely what sent him back to Chicago last year).

    • Dan Connolly

      December 3, 2016 at 9:51 am

      Money and length will both be an issue. Can’t see Orioles paying for that kind of player this year. They have 9 arb raises to pay. 6-7 are core players.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 3, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      1st .. Watch who you are calling a “usual suspect”!

      2nd .. Only losers take back the girlfriend that jilted them once. It’s time to close … no, make that, SLAM the door in her face and never look back.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 3, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      But what if she can lead you to a title?

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        December 3, 2016 at 6:23 pm

        C’mon Dan, we both know she ain’t “the one”.

        But even if she were, we have our pride don’t we? If not, we’d all get up an go root for the Yankees or Sox.

  3. John in Cincy

    December 3, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    I’m reading through the Iannetta entry disinterestedly–Meh…meh…meh…meh–anxious to move on to the next free agent, but then I got to that last sentence and my attention was fully engaged.

    Ubaldo pitching to a 3.53 ERA in 64 games with Iannetta catching is a decent sample size. Could having him behind this plate for every one of his starts be the security blanket Jimenez needs finally have a golden season for the Orioles? Signing Chris is, to my thinking, worth consideration almost for that reason alone.

    Bringing back Alvarez is something I wouldn’t mind seeing, but only if the Orioles can do and still upgrade their outfield. As much a plus as his bat and clubhouse presence may be, the club’s priority has to be to fix what’s broken, and that’s the shoddy defense of the corner outfielders.

    Let me qualify the last part of that. Kim’s not a bad outfielder at all in terms of the fundamentals, which are actually solid, as he makes accurate throws, takes good routes to the ball and catches what he gets to–he’s just limited by lack of range and arm strength. But those limitations hurt the defense nonetheless. I’m not sold that Richard’s a good defender, but admit it’s a small sample size. In any case, the O’s plainly need help in that department, and a DH-only player like Pedro becomes a luxury they can’t afford, if it comes down to a one-or-the-other scenario.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 3, 2016 at 11:46 pm

      I thought the Iannetta thing was interesting too. And I agree. Re-signing Alvarez only really makes sense once you know RF is manned by an OBP guy

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