The Orioles are in the same spot today as they were in early November – with the exception, basically, of three, shiny new Rule 5 pitchers on the 40-man roster.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette hasn’t done anything significant to make this team better than it was in 2017, when the Orioles finished last in the American League East.
The argument can be made that this current team is worse than when the 2017 season ended since it can’t count on injured closer Zach Britton heading into the first half of next season. The Orioles’ bullpen, its primary strength, has been weakened and, therefore, so has the team’s limited trade chips since Britton has no value while on the shelf and de facto closer Brad Brach is an even more crucial part of the team if it indeed hopes to be competitive in 2018.
To be fair, most clubs haven’t done much this offseason in what has been a tremendously slow developing free agent market.
Maybe the Orioles won’t be doing much at all, maybe they are limited by payroll restraints even more than we realize. Or maybe they are just hanging low and will pounce when Duquette feels the time/price is right.
If I were in charge for a day – OK, maybe it would take a week – I think I could make a few reasonably priced moves that could make this team better now and for the future.
I came up with six transactions that I think are realistic and move the club in the right direction. I’m not adding Jake Arrieta, Yu Darvish and J.D. Martinez. Those acquisitions aren’t going to happen. And I’m not wasting time with concepts that stretch reality.
Also, I’m sticking with personnel moves, not philosophical changes. As I’ve written plenty of times, my biggest complaint with this organization is a lack of involvement in the international amateur market due to ownership philosophy. If that doesn’t change, the Orioles will always be fighting an uphill battle. But, for this piece, I’m sticking with changes that are strictly money-based.
One last thing: I’d probably blow up the team and restock the farm system if it were solely my decision. But that’s not happening either. So, here’s what I would do during my week in charge – in order of importance — given what I think I could get approved by the powers-that-be.