The World Series ends this week – either Tuesday or Wednesday.
The next morning, at 9 a.m. EST, pending free agents are no longer attached to their 2017 teams, and not long after that, once qualifying offers are tendered/accepted/rejected, the feeding frenzy can begin.
The Orioles have no “qualifying offer” questions this offseason. Their pending free agents will be allowed to fly with no strings attached. They’d like to bring back Chris Tillman on an incentive deal and maybe they’ll kick the tires on Ryan Flaherty. J.J. Hardy and Wade Miley, but those aren’t priority issues.
Hot-stove action won’t truly heat up until December, around the time of the winter meetings, but November is when much of the groundwork begins for the offseason moves that later become official.
So, here at the Tap Room, we understand things are a little dry in late October. And we’re here to please. So, we’ll serve up some fake brew and a question about the Orioles – or, even better, allow you to steer the course of action for the club this offseason.
I’m giving you one transaction that you can make happen. Your No. 1 priority that you can accomplish this winter if you were executive vice president Dan Duquette and company.
Money is a relative restriction, but reality is paramount here.
I’ll let you sign Manny Machado to a long-term deal – I don’t expect the Orioles to do it, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
But I won’t let you trade Mike Wright and Cody Sedlock for Giancarlo Stanton (or Max Scherzer et cetera).
Go ahead and sign Jake Arrieta (won’t happen), Yu Darvish (won’t happen) or Alex Cobb (really doubt it will happen), but you only get one.
Trade Machado or Zach Britton, but at least make the return logical/realistic.
You can fire Duquette or manager Buck Showalter – but not both. Then that’s it. No firing AND adding pieces.
I know I’m limiting you here. And one move does not get the Orioles into the 2018 postseason; they are farther away than that.
But I want to understand what you believe the priority is. My guess is the leaders in the clubhouse will be re-sign Machado, trade Machado and sign an ace starter.
Truthfully, I don’t see the Orioles doing any of those three this winter. I’m not the guy in charge, though.
Today, in the quiet of late October, you are.
Tap-In Question: If you could make one move this offseason for the Orioles – and one only – what would it be?