The Orioles’ pitchers and catchers are set to report on February 18th, which means this offseason is coming to a close. Here’s a closer look at what the O’s have done this offseason, and where work still needs to be done.
Key Additions/Retained Players-
1B Chris Davis- Resigning Davis was huge. It not only showed fans that the organization is willing to dish out some cash to win games, but Davis is a great clubhouse guy who can average 40 homers a season. The contract has potential to backfire towards the end, but losing Davis and not signing anyone in his place could have potentially secured the Orioles spot out of the playoffs.
RP Darren O’Day- Resigning O’Day to ensure the Orioles’ bullpen is still dominant in 2016 was huge. He is clearly the leader of the bullpen, which is one of the strengths of the team. Givens/Brach, O’Day, Britton is a nice 7-8-9 inning punch to close out games.
C Matt Wieters- Wieters taking the qualifying offer from the Orioles was a good move for both sides. If Matt can hit .270 with 22-25 homers and play great defense, he’ll be well worth the $15.8 million the O’s will pay him. And this one-year deal gives Matt a chance to show the league he can be worth a lengthy contract. Win/win for Matt and the Orioles.
OF/DH Mark Trumbo- The Orioles traded backup catcher Steve Clevenger for Trumbo early in the offseason. Trumbo has the potential to hit 30-35 bombs in Camden Yards, and although he is another high strikeout guy, the O’s offense has the potential to set the major league record for most homers in a season, and that’s not even an exaggeration. Trumbo will light up Camden, likely out of the 5 or 6 spot in the lineup.
OF Hyun Soo Kim- The Orioles signed the 6’2″, 220 pound outfielder out of Korea, in hopes to fill one of the corner outfield spots. Although the 28-year-old is unproven in the major leagues, this signing was an absolute gem from Dan Duquette. At only $7 million over two years, Kim could be the steal of the offseason in the entire major leagues.
SP Wei-Yin Chen- This one’s gonna sting. Chen was the only reliable starter the O’s had on their roster in 2015, and despite the fact that Chen is not an ace, the Orioles have yet to replace him.
OF Gerardo Parra- The O’s gave up a strong pitching prospect before 2015’s trade deadline to attain Parra in hopes of making a playoff run, but Parra underperformed, and the team lost Zach Davies for nothing. It was clear heading into the offseason Parra was no longer going to be part of the organization.
OF/1B- Steve Pearce- Love you Steve, wish you all the best, but this one’s no real loss for the O’s. After a strong 2014, Pearce failed to live up to the hype last year.
Holes Still Needed To Be Filled-
Starting Pitcher- The O’s can’t just hope that everyone on the team takes a step up from last year. The team’s starters over-performed during the O’s division winning year in ’14, and the team was hoping that the same would happen last year. The starters failed to live up to that expectation, and as a result, the Orioles missed the playoffs, and barely reached .500. With no dominant pitchers left on the free agent market, this looks like it will be again the weak point for the Orioles, and if they miss the playoffs again this year, the starting pitching will be the reason why.
Corner Outfielder- The Orioles entered the offseason needing two corner outfielders, and it’s unclear exactly who will be where at this point, but Kim will likely secure one of those spots, and Mark Trumbo has the potential to play in the outfield as well. Dariel Alvarez could end up being the Orioles’ starting right fielder by season’s end. As of now, it seems that Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, Hyun Soo Kim, and Dariel Alvarez will somehow fill the spots of first base, left and right field, and designated hitter, with flexibility of moving players around. But adding another proven major leaguer could still be possible for the Orioles.
Offseason Grade- B
In my mind the Orioles have done a very nice job this offseason, which is far from what they did last year. They’ve spent money, they’ve found potential bargains, and they’ve made a really nice trade. They retained the players that they realistically could retain. The only problem with the O’s offseason so far is lack of an addition of a quality starting pitcher.
The offseason isn’t over, however, and there is still time to fill the needed holes. I don’t think the Orioles are done making moves, and it wouldn’t shock me if they brought in one of the Rockies’ outfielders, as they are all on the trade market. We’ll see what they have up their sleeves in the way of starting pitching, however.