The Orioles had several priorities heading into this offseason. They wanted a catcher. They wanted an outfielder who could get on base. And they wanted to re-sign slugger Mark Trumbo or find a suitable replacement.
They signed catcher Welington Castillo to replace Matt Wieters. They traded for outfielder Seth Smith, who is adequate defensively and has an impressive track record of getting on base versus right-handers. And now they’ve re-signed Trumbo to what seems like an affordable, three-year, $37.5 million deal.
So, those boxes are checked.
Several aren’t, however.
The Orioles could use at least one more hitter that can get on-base at a solid clip. They still haven’t found an experienced leadoff hitter or a true upgrade defensively in the outfield. Given that, the grade for the Orioles current offseason is “I” for incomplete.
They should be pleased, but not satisfied with what’s been done so far. And since Dan Duquette-run teams seemingly don’t ever stop shopping, I’d be shocked if Trumbo were the club’s final acquisition before Opening Day 2017. Especially given that this looks like an offseason of free-agent bargains; and Duquette loves himself a bargain.
Obviously, the Orioles could use a stronger rotation. But there’s just not much available, so don’t expect something major to occur on that end. There’s been some clamoring for a reunion with Jason Hammel – and that’d be great – but if the tall right-hander can’t get the deal he is looking for, I’d be surprised if he settles on a one-year pillow deal here. He’s familiar with the negatives of pitching in Camden Yards.
I could see the Orioles picking up one veteran starter on a minor-league contract or cheap big-league deal who is looking to rebound. But, remember, most pitchers hoping for a one-year turnaround stay far away from the AL East and Baltimore. So, think reclamation project not savior.
Personally, I think the Orioles should pursue another solid reliever – preferably a veteran left-hander – and a defensive-minded outfielder with speed — the oft-injured Angel Pagan or maybe Michael Bourn (pictured above), for instance — and then call it an offseason.
Again, the Orioles could certainly use rotation help, but there’s no one out there on the free-agent market, besides Hammel, that is an actual upgrade.
I stress this because some of you – especially when this is placed on Facebook and people read only the headline before commenting – will answer the simple question with a much more complicated answer: Better starting pitching.
Good luck with that.
Now, for those being realistic, what’s left on your Orioles’ shopping list that would turn this offseason from incomplete to satisfying? You can name a specific player or two or the improvement of a position or statistic.
Tap-In Question: With Trumbo signed, are you satisfied with the Orioles’ offseason? If not, what needs to happen?