Let’s start with the likely Orioles’ situation at the Tap Room today, even if it is not guaranteed yet.
Let’s figure that third baseman Manny Machado gets dealt away at some point in the next few days or weeks.
Let’s not even worry about where he is going, or what the Orioles will get for him.
We’ve already been doing that dance.
Let’s ask another question:
Machado is gone; the Orioles have a few additional young players to put on the 40-man roster, presumably including at least one pitcher that will immediately be inserted into the rotation. That’ll still leave two open spots for starting pitchers remaining.
The Orioles still will have some tradeable assets, specifically closer Zach Britton and set-up man/potential closer Brad Brach, who are both free agents at the end of 2018. The same goes for center fielder Adam Jones, who can veto any trade, but also wants to win badly and may decide he’d accept a ticket elsewhere if a World Series ring is attainable.
So, if you are running the Orioles, if you are executive vice president Dan Duquette and are charged with making this club better, what’s your next move?
Do you trade Britton, Brach, even Jones, for more young goodies?
Do you instead turn your attention to the free-agent market and sign a starting pitcher such as Andrew Cashner, Jason Vargas, Chris Tillman or Miguel Gonzalez – because you certainly aren’t getting three MLB-ready arms in any Machado deal? (No club has that kind of stockpile.)
Do you figure you aren’t gonna let the same scenario play out twice and make a hard play to sign second baseman Jonathan Schoop to a long-term deal now before he can be a free agent in 2019?
Do you think out of the box and now throw legitimate coin at a free agent third baseman – Mike Moustakas, Todd Frazier – to fill Machado’s role without spending $300 million?
Let’s assume you are the man – or the woman – and you’ve just shipped off Machado. What’s your next move, independent of what comes back in return for Machado?
Tap-In Question: If Machado’s gone, what’s your next move as O’s GM for a day?