What a great season O's fans! I hope we all had a great time and really appreciated our first winning season since '97. But this is no time to be complacent! We gotta make sure we are back here next year! So while I know it's still early and the sting of defeat is still fresh, here are five things I thought about that the Orioles need to improve for next season. (I left out any potential FA's with either team or player options)
1)1st base: Mark Reynolds has a player option for 11mil which he would be a huge idiot not to pick up so he's locked into next year but why not take a chance and try for Mike Napoli to come and play first base? it might get a little crowded over there since Chris Davis will stay on and play dh (as great a clubhouse influence as Jim Thome was, he's better suited now to be a coach, not a player) and Reynolds wont be playing third after Manny Machado's great two months. but if we had a good chance to get him, wouldn't it be worth it?
2) Second Base: there is no one halfway decent available at second or short to help us improve at second base (you can bet RObinson Cano will be geting 20mil a year to stay in NY) so i guess its Andino and whatever is left of Brina Roberts to take that spot even though we could really use someone.
3)Left Field: Michael Bourne is available which should make the o's left field situation even more interesting. My dream is for Xavier Avery to become the teams new leadoff, stolen base guy and make the O's outfield the best in the league, but i'll take bourne over him at this point. The question is
though that you almost HAVE to sign Mclouth after the past year and
what if Nolan Riemold is healthy enough to play? When he's played, he has shown great potential but we have already missed almost two years from him due to injury. B.J Upton anybody?
Here's a crazy thought which might not be so crazy. Over the past few years, even though both teams have changed front office staff, the O's and the Diamondbacks have had a great relationship, making at least two, but I think three, trades in recent years. Arizona has dangled Justin Upton for years and with the O's minor league pitching depth at it's high point for recent years, maybe we can try to stick our foot in that door....
4)Starting Pitching: the most needed area improvement, as well as they pitched the past week. right now, we are locked in to 4 starters: Hammel, Chen, Tillman, and Gonzalez. right below them are Wada (japanese pitcher signed and had tommy john in spring training), Britton, Matsusz, Hunter, Arrieta, and Johnson with Bundy as a dark horse (Saunders is a FA and was always gonna be a stopgap). who is the 5th guy? and if you have a chance at Grienke at the right price, do you go for him? (for me, the right price is no more than 13mil a year and that much because the market is very high. i view him like josh hamilton, ton of talent, will give you results, but something crazy will always happen and they wont perform in the clutch). If the pickings get slim, do we bring back Jeremy Guthrie?
5)lots of really good bullpen guys out there, with names like Mike Adams, Johnathen Broxton, and even Fernando Rodney floating around. i know we had an awesome pen but we can always improve! Especially with Kevin Gregg being a FA and Hunter and Matusz probably not resuming their playoff bullpen roles. Luis Ayala is a FA as well.
These are my early thoughts for this upcoming offseason. want to hear from the rest of Birdland!