Free agency has begun, and this year’s class is one of the best in recent years. Bryce Harper and Manny Machado are the biggest names, but there are a number of others who are quite attractive.
Former Orioles Zach Britton, Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis and Andrew Miller have been prominently mentioned. Adam Jones is also high on many lists.
Houston’s Dallas Keuchel, Cleveland’s Josh Donaldson, Boston’s Craig Kimbrel are also featured on wish lists.
Other intriguing names are the Red Sox’s Nathan Eovaldi, fresh off his postseason heroics, and a personal favorite, Houston utilityman Marwin Gonzalez.
I read two lists of free agents, a top 50 in SI.com and a top 25 in MLB.com. In neither list were the Orioles listed as a likely fit or even a player for any of the top free agents.
By the time the free-agent market really gets into swing, the Orioles are likely to have a new baseball operations team in place, and it’s expected that the Orioles won’t engage in major bidding for free agents. They’ll probably look for “bridge” players, ones who can be signed to reasonable one-year contracts.
Former Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette said after the Machado trade that the team would redirect its resources to domestic and international scouting, player development, analytics and technology. I’m assuming that’s still the directive, but it could be possible that the team bids on a free agent or two if they think there’s good value.
This Week’s Diner Question: Would you like the Orioles to be competitive in the free-agent market or do you think they should totally avoid it?