An Orioles shopping list - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

An Orioles shopping list

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

By now, your holiday shopping should be done. Because of the lockout, the Orioles and the rest of Major League Baseball have suspended 40-man-roster player transactions until there’s a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Let’s take a look at what should be on the Orioles’ 2022 shopping list once there is a new CBA.

Additional rotation candidates

Signing Jordan Lyles for a reported $7 million is a good start. It shows the Orioles are more realistic about what it takes to compete, even in the low-end free-agent market.

Lyles will have to take and pass a physical before the deal becomes official.

It’s also useful that Lyles is a right-hander. Of the current in-house candidates to start, John Means, Keegan Akin, Zac Lowther, Alexander Wells and Bruce Zimmermann are left-handed. Only Mike Baumann and Dean Kremer are right-handed.

Of the Orioles’ top prospects, Grayson Rodriguez and Kyle Bradish are right-handed. DL Hall and Kevin Smith are left-handed.

Once the lockout ends, the scramble to sign players begins, and the Orioles might not be able to be patient. On the other hand, players might want to sign quickly to make sure they don’t get left out.

Get another catcher

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We know that top prospect Adley Rutschman will spend at least the bulk of 2022 with the Orioles. Rutschman is going to need a backup, and there needs to be a qualified catcher at Triple-A, too.

The Orioles have signed Anthony Benboom and Jacob Nottingham, who have combined for 107 major league games, to minor league contracts. It would be good to add another catcher, either through the Rule 5 draft or another minor league signing.

Eventually, room must be made on the 40-man roster for at least two catchers, and Mike Elias probably has made a list and checked at least twice.

Draft a reliever

One of the first pieces of business once the Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached will be the Rule 5 draft, which was scheduled for December 8th. The Orioles have the first pick, and they could make two selections, as they have in each of the three years of Elias’ time as executive vice president/general manager.

A catcher and a reliever could be the picks, or the Orioles could choose two pitchers. Last year, they selected right-handers Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells, who became a late-inning reliever.

Get another third baseman

Kelvin Gutiérrez had a creditable end of the season, and he’s the Orioles’ starting third baseman at this point. Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg shouldn’t be far away, but the other infielders the Orioles have on the 40-man roster –Rylan Bannon, Jorge Mateo, Tyler Nevin, Rougned Odor, Terrin Vavra and Ramon Urías — don’t have extensive experience as major league third basemen.

Sign a veteran outfielder

The Orioles have Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander as the starting outfield, and Ryan McKenna and DJ Stewart in reserve.

But Hays, Santander and Stewart spent time on the injured list last season. Yusniel Diaz and Kyle Stowers won’t be beginning the season with the Orioles, and it might help if the team signed a veteran outfielder as insurance.

Extend Trey Mancini

The Orioles haven’t made any progress on an extension for Trey Mancini, who’s entering his free-agent season.

His accomplishments and determination to return after his 2020 colon cancer surgery and chemotherapy can serve as a useful example to a young team. Mancini also can serve as a mentor.

Trading Mancini isn’t in the team’s best interests — at the box office, on the field or behind the scenes.

An extension could provide some badly needed positive reinforcement for the fans, who are tired of waiting for the team to get better.

Get the CBA done

The Orioles are one of 30 major league teams, and they need a new Collective Bargaining Agreement more than most. Provisions that eliminate service time manipulation and incentives to lose need to be eliminated in a new contract.

Had there not been a lockout, the Orioles could be promoting Rutschman this offseason. Instead, baseball talk is hushed while fans worry if the Ravens can make the playoffs.

If there’s a new CBA by the end of January or the beginning of February, the February 15th opening of spring training in Sarasota, Florida shouldn’t be in doubt.

It could be fun to watch the Orioles and other teams scramble to assemble their teams and bid on remaining free agents. If spring training or the season is delayed, the sport will again be harmed, and fans’ attention will go elsewhere.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 24, 2021 at 8:07 am

    A well rounded shopping list you’ve suggested Rich. I’d suggest they commit 90% of their focus to pitching. with the remaining 10% being focused on pitching.

  2. NormOs

    December 24, 2021 at 10:14 am

    Agree, Pitching, but as important, 2nd, Short, and 3rd. At this point, we have nobody.

    • WhyDoIBother

      December 24, 2021 at 1:01 pm

      No wonder nobody yells “Norm!” when you walk into a bar, man what a downer.
      Urias can play all three 2B/3B/SS, Odor will get a chance at 2B, Gutie isn’t horrible at 3B. Bah humbug Grinormch!

      • NormOs

        December 24, 2021 at 5:08 pm

        Hey Bother, they lost 110 games and I’m the downer? C,Mon Man! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and all loyal O’s fans

  3. willmiranda

    December 24, 2021 at 10:19 am

    Merry Christmas to you, Rich, and all fellow posters! Your info, insights, and attitudes are a year-long gift!

    • cedar

      December 24, 2021 at 10:26 am

      Well said willmiranda! Merry Christmas to all!

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 24, 2021 at 1:00 pm

      Thank you, Will and cedar!

  4. Icterus fan

    December 24, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    I hope some free agents are going to be on Santa’s sleigh. Get those elves crackin’ up there!

  5. Orioles20

    December 24, 2021 at 12:19 pm

    The bullpen could be a strength. Lyles I don’t think is a terrible signing. I think maybe Elias and the analytics department think they can spice up his pitch usage. He has a good curveball but doesn’t throw it a ton. Mancini I think is an interesting case. Only because we have lots of infielders so if one has to shift around like Henderson to third and Mayo has to shift to first. Mountcastle would have to be made the dh. I know those guys are a little down the line but I think it’s something that needs to be though of. I’d give Mancini a two or three year deal. Also I would focus on defense if the infield. Urias seems like a better fit at second than he does at second. But we signed odor which I’m not sold on.

    • WhyDoIBother

      December 24, 2021 at 1:04 pm

      Bad signing at $7M IMO, me thinks his Houston connection got him the overpayment. If he goes something like the 7-1 with 2.45 ERA he had with MIL for half a season in 2019 then, yeah, I’ll eat some crow happily.

    • Icterus fan

      December 24, 2021 at 2:08 pm

      Overpayment will be a requirement to get even a marginally qualified FA to sign here in Bawlamer. Obtaining actual proven top tier talent requires significant overpayment, especially on a rebuilding club.
      This appears unfortunately to be the current norm.

    • Buzz1979

      December 25, 2021 at 9:38 pm

      As long as Fry isn’t in it!

  6. WhyDoIBother

    December 24, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    SP – Matt Harvey

    C – what? Botta BenBoom and the Sheriff of Nottingham not good enough? Adley and a couple of backups oughta do da trick Rich

    Rule 5 Draft – if you lose a Pop and pick up a Wells, did you really make a significant difference? Need some relief pitchers? Well then pick from Keegan Akin, Zac Lowther, Alexander Wells, Bruce Zimmermann, Mike Baumann, Dean Kremer, Kyle Bradish, and Kevin Smith if they aren’t starting for the O’s – let them get some MLB experience out of the bullpen.

    Another 3B – don’t do it!

    A veteran OF – don’t do it, O’s fans don’t need to see another Dwight Smith Jr or Mason Williams in 2022. Go young!

    Mancini – great personal story of perseverance, but basically a one dimensional player of limited value; pretty sure O’s fans will understand when he is traded

    CBA – dander up, both sides seem greedy to me unfortunately.

  7. mlbbirdfan

    December 24, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    The concept of this article is excellent rich. The execution however? It’s simple. We need to play to win instead of playing to lose! Otherwise, nothing matters!

  8. dlgruber1

    December 24, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    So, as it stands at this moment, the O’s have 2 catchers on the 40 man and AR. Say the CBA is finalized by Feb. 12th. Who’s gonna catch all those pitchers when pitchers and catchers arrive on the 15th?

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 24, 2021 at 6:43 pm

      Dave, the Orioles probably will have seven
      catchers in camp. Brett Cumberland, Cody Roberts both played in Triple-A. Perhaps they sign another catcher and there are also Chris Hudgins, who was at Bowie, Maverick Handley and Ramon Rodriguez who were at Aberdeen.

      Neither

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 24, 2021 at 6:44 pm

      Neither of the catchers they signed, Anthony Benboom and Jacob Nottingham are on the 40-man.

    • dlgruber1

      December 24, 2021 at 9:55 pm

      Rich, thanks for the info. It sounds to me as if they might wanna put an as in the Sarasota paper for catcher tryouts tho.

    • CalsPals

      December 25, 2021 at 8:19 am

      Maybe a full page ad for pitching help…go O’s…

  9. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 24, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    Maybe Elias’ heart will grow 3 sizes tonite?

    • CalsPals

      December 25, 2021 at 8:20 am

      Merry Christmas to all, if you’re traveling be safe…go O’s…

  10. Comeonman2022

    December 25, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    Signing Lyles is not a “good start”. It’s the same garbage signing we’ve seen over and over. Please.

  11. WVOsfan

    December 26, 2021 at 10:43 am

    Which comes first? The competitive team, or the fan support?
    How about the defense that makes nominal pitchers look like cy young, or the offense that keeps the bad pitching in games until the pen can save us… I have been an O’s fan since Cal was a senior at the same high school I attended. I am just not seeing the “Plan” here… Having a “Top Rated” minors and “Guys in the pipeline” is only a small portion of what it takes to compete in our division. I keep hearing about how bad this team was and about a complete rebuild. Spending money on FA’s is a “Must” in this division. But is any ownership, just short of “Elon Musk” kinda money, gonna spend on a team that can’t fill an old stadium? I want to “Believe” but Im struggling with the supposed plan…. Would one of the unpaid gm’s that have a handle on this please help me out???

    • CalsPals

      December 26, 2021 at 2:15 pm

      Unfortunately you’re saying everything many of us have been saying for a while…go O’s…

    • Icterus fan

      December 26, 2021 at 3:18 pm

      I can’t disagree, man. I have nothing technical to offer other than I truly believe we will be back. I agree- we have to make a splash with some REAL free agent talent, but unless they are willing to overpay, no FA will sign here.
      Winning (or at least being competitive) will bring fans back IMO.
      Once we sniff .500, maybe things will change.
      I dunno, but until then, I watch the games, post my comments and tread water with the rest of us.

  12. BirdsCaps

    December 26, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    At this point, resign Mancini. Before cancer, I was in the trade him camp, despite him being one of my favorite birds. Sign more 3B and middle infielders. Also, can they get a decent number 2 starter to protect the pen. It would take pressure off of means and Rodriguez and make the team more watchable. They should aim for an around .500, as Baltimore sports are in a very dark place. The ravens look just like the o’s, as I’m checking the roster sheet to see who is playing and what independent league the player came from.

  13. Buzz1979

    December 26, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    If value can be had, trade Mancini, it will free up ANOTHER 1B/DH logjam!

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