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The Orioles are spending money this offseason, so far without addressing any of their biggest needs

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If the Orioles started out with $50 million to spend this offseason - which is no guarantee - they've already spent more than half of it without addressing any of their biggest needs.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The burning question of any offseason for the Orioles is always how much money do they have to spend? With the non-tender deadline having come and gone, we still don't have any idea of the answer to that question. There is a lot more clarity on a very related question: How much money are the Orioles already committed to spending?

If you were out there hoping that the non-tender deadline would provide an opportunity to shed a few million dollars on players who have underperformed, you were probably disappointed by the choices the Orioles made. Orioles beat writers had written proclamations that the Orioles would not just be rubber stamping their arbitration-eligible players as they'd done a year ago. Yet, when push came to shove, the O's only got rid of David Lough, who had been projected for a salary of $800,000.

That doesn't add much money to the potential free agent budget. Then again, it doesn't create any more holes that would need to be filled by free agents or out of the bargain bin, either. Suppose the Orioles had decided to give up on Miguel Gonzalez and his expected $5 million salary. Could they replace his potential upside for less than $5 million? Probably not.

The offseason began with dreams that the Orioles might well have up to $50 million available to them to spend on free agents who might improve on the team that was here in the 2015 season. That was enough money that you could envision them making a big commitment to retain slugger Chris Davis (if you want them to keep Davis) and still have money left over to get a real outfielder or a real starting pitcher, or even both. It hasn't worked out that way.

Eating up the budget before holes are ever addressed

Publicly, the Orioles seem pleased that catcher Matt Wieters accepted the qualifying offer of about $16 million for the 2016 season. That may well be a genuine feeling. Wieters could live up to that kind of salary expenditure if he comes out with the kind of healthy, productive walk year I anticipated from him in 2015. Yet even if he does so, the fact is that is less money available to fill one of the big holes with the team.

The acquisition of Mark Trumbo from the Mariners is another move that sucks up a significant amount of resources without really striking any of the big areas of need. Trumbo has played a lot of outfield, but he's not really an outfielder. He's certainly not a pitcher, and with a price tag of about $9 million expected in his final year of arbitration, even if he ends up serving as first baseman if Davis signs elsewhere, Trumbo doesn't represent a bargain acquisition.

You can even toss in the Orioles waiver pickup of pitcher Vance Worley, who's now ticketed for a $2.6 million salary next season after he and the team agreed on a contract yesterday. That's a small number compared to Wieters and Trumbo, but when you add them all up, you get $27.6 million, which is more than half of the money that felt like it "should" be available. If Worley turns out to be their idea of adding a starter, well. No one's going to be too excited about that.

So far, the team has indicated that the addition of Trumbo would not preclude them from also signing Davis. Trumbo does offer some positional flexibility, so from that standpoint the two can co-exist. But if you think Davis is ticketed for a $25 million/year salary, or even a smaller $20 million/year, that's basically all of the available money, potentially even more than the available money. And all of that is spent still without addressing any of the holes of the 2015 team.

Even when considering hypothetical signings, the team doesn't seem like they think that every available dollar must be spent plugging those holes. The Orioles are reported to have made "a competitive offer" to Darren O'Day. That doesn't seem like the action of a team that's decided it's saving every bit of money for a starting pitcher or outfielder.

What if the budget estimate was optimistic?

This is all making the assumption that there was even $50 million available to spend to begin with. Maybe it's less than that. While the team's payroll has risen by about $10 million annually since Dan Duquette took over as GM, there's no knowing whether that can be a constant expectation. A significant variable here is the ongoing MASN revenue situation, which is about as murky as it ever was.

In addition, the O's drew about 180,000 fans fewer in 2015 than they did the year prior. That's not surprising considering the difference in the team's success between the two years, but it's less revenue coming in all the same.

So where does all of that leave the Orioles? Only the Warehouse knows that one for sure. Perhaps owner Peter Angelos will decide that Davis is worth stretching the previously planned budget and the Orioles could get him and still get some starting pitcher. That would be a surprising outcome given how the team has conducted itself up to now.

Anything is possible, but the Orioles offseason so far sure seems to preclude adding a big free agent from elsewhere. Until and unless they make a big addition, or multiple big additions, it'll be hard to be excited about the offseason, but a team doesn't win any games with an exciting offseason.