Now that the World Series is over – and you can file this one in the memory bank and use it the next time a friend says baseball is boring – the hot stove season is about to heat up.
Well, sorta, kinda, maybe.
There are a whole lot of knobs on that stove, and they get turned up gradually as the offseason progresses.
Today, the stove gets turned on, and left at 1. Not sure you can boil water for the next week or two.
The first big step – and one that is purely procedural – is that all pending free agents come off 40-man rosters at 9 a.m. today and begin doing laps in the always risky and crowded free-agent pool.
For the Orioles, that means 10 roster sports open, although some will soon be filled by minor leaguers that need to be protected from the Rule 5 draft.
The Orioles, technically speaking, can present any of their 10 free agents a $17.4 million qualifying offer within the next five days and then the player must accept or reject it within a 10-day period. There’s been some drama involving the Orioles and the qualifying offer in the past, but no sleep is going to be lost on it this winter.
No shot that any of the 10 get qualifying offers from the Orioles. A couple will get buyout checks, a few will get cursory calls to their agents and some will just get out of Camden Yards before the turnstiles hit them in the backs.
Here’s a look at the Orioles’ 10 pending free agents – players that were on the 40-man roster to end the season but can play elsewhere next year — and what the future holds for each.