The offseason that the Orioles now face is one that looks to have paramount importance for the near future of the franchise. Will they go bold and try to spend big in order to stay competitive, or will they rely on too many bargain bin players who don't pan out? With so many key free agent departures in addition to existing major problem areas from this year's team, there's a lot to address.
For the last couple of offseasons, our friends over at South Side Sox have run a successful White Sox offseason plan project. The idea is shamelessly appropriated here, only this time for the O's.
What you will find below is a suggested template that you must turn into a FanPost. If you've never written a FanPost before, all you have to do is go here and have at it. If you haven't registered an SB Nation account before, you will have to do that first.
A couple of general guidelines:
The Orioles 2016 payroll commitments, per Baseball Reference. For the purposes of this exercise, let's say that the Orioles have a $130 million budget for next season.
The list of pending free agents on MLBTR can be found here. Keep in mind that some players listed here have options that will be exercised. For instance, Edwin Encarnacion isn't about to be a free agent when the Blue Jays can have him for $10 million next year.
If you feel the urge to cast aside the below template and write on any one specific idea at length, do not let us stop you. That said, if you want to color inside the lines, here you go:
- - - - - - - [cut along the perforated line] - - - - - - - -
[Insert your name]'s Offseason Plan
Arbitration-eligible players - tender or non-tender
You can find the list of the ten O's arbitration-eligible players here, along with their projected salaries. Tell us who you're non-tendering, why, and how much money you've saved with those non-tender choices. Also, if you feel you made a tough choice in tendering someone, tell us about that, too.
Pending free agents - QO, try to re-sign, let go
The six pending free agents are:
- Chris Davis
- Wei-Yin Chen
- Darren O'Day
- Matt Wieters
- Steve Pearce
- Gerardo Parra
The qualifying offer for 2016 will be $15.8 million. The offer cannot be extended to Parra. We would like to know your thinking on whether or not to QO Wieters. Additionally, who do you think the Orioles should try to bring back out of the rest of them? Why do you want to keep the players you want the Orioles to bring back? Be reasonable about what you think they will be offered by other teams on the open market.
Sources say that teams are actually allowed to sign players who have previously been with other teams through a process known as "free agency." We assume that the Orioles will be made aware of this revolutionary new development at some point in the offseason.
We'd like to know at least one outside free agent you think the Orioles NEED to sign, how much that would cost them, and whether it would be a good deal or one they're just obligated to make. Given that this is the Orioles we're talking about, we'd also like to know at least one smaller cost free agent that you think the Orioles WILL sign, what kind of contract that player will get, and why, other than the price tag, they'd make a good O's target.
Tell us about at least one player on another team who you think could be a good trade target for the Orioles. What hole would they fill on the Orioles? Why would the team they're already on be willing to part with them? Also, think about Orioles players who might have some trade value and, if you're feeling bold, suggest a trade involving that player. Be as realistic as you can manage.
What do you think are the strengths of the Orioles team you have assembled? What holes have you left unfilled, praying that the bargain bin and prospects will be able to fill them? How do you see your hypothetical O's team performing next year? What else is on your mind about the O's?
There's no deadline to submit an offseason plan, but keep in mind that qualifying offers must be made by Friday 11/6 at 5pm Eastern, with free agency beginning officially on Saturday 11/7. The deadline for QO players to accept or decline is 11/13 at 5pm Eastern. If you're writing later than that, keep in mind changing circumstances. Not that the Orioles are going to rush out and sign anyone anyway, but someone else might.
FanPosts will be featured on the site throughout the offseason, but only if you actually write a FanPost. Feel free to drop a link into the comments of this post, or share that you have posted in one of our daily Bird Droppings threads, so people know it's there.