The Orioles just pulled off one of their best seasons of my lifetime, qualifying for the wild card game despite a horrendous starting rotation, the worst outfield defense in all of MLB, and an offense prone to frustrating team-wide slumps. The way it ended wasn’t much fun, but the six months before that were, on the whole, a lot of fun.
In this offseason, with seemingly very little money available, the Orioles need to find a way to preserve their strengths while fixing their weaknesses. Are they going to be able to do it?
Or would you rather not see them try to fix things in the short-term at all? Someone with their eye on the future might instead prefer that the Orioles trade some of their assets in order to re-stock a farm system that has been depleted by forfeited draft picks, trades that didn’t work out, and the occasional graduation of a real, live prospect.
We want to know what you would do to keep the party going - or what you would do if you were going to tear things down and start over. What you will find below is a suggested template for you to turn into a FanPost. If you’ve never written a FanPost before, all you have to do is go here and have at it - though if you don’t have an SB Nation account, you’ll need to create one of those, too.
A few general guidelines to consider:
The Orioles current 2017 payroll commitments and arbitration estimates, courtesy of Roster Resource. Given O’s spending trends in the Dan Duquette era, assume a budget of $160 million. If and only if you choose to extend Matt Wieters a qualifying offer and believe he will accept it, you may work with a budget of $170 million.
Do not post your full response in the comments section of this article or you will be ignored or mocked.
The list of pending free agents, courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors, can be found here. Keep in mind that some of these names have club options which will be exercised and will not become free agents at all.
Below is a template to give you some structure, if you want structure. If you’re the kind of person who’s not going to color inside the lines, don’t let me stop you from being you.
- - - - - - - [cut along the perforated line] - - - - - - - -
[Insert your name]'s Offseason Plan: (Subtitle Optional)
Arbitration-eligible players - tender or non-tender
The Orioles have ten players who will be eligible for arbitration this offseason. That list of players and their projected 2017 salaries can be found here. No fewer than six are no-brainers, so you don’t have to list them all, but do address these potential borderline cases:
- Ryan Flaherty ($1.7 million)
- Vance Worley ($3.3 million)
- T.J. McFarland ($700,000)
- Caleb Joseph ($1 million)
Congratulations, you just cleared a trivial amount of space in the budget. Dream big. How much did you save?
Pending free agents: To QO or not to QO
- Mark Trumbo
- Matt Wieters
Are you making qualifying offers to these guys? Do you expect, or want, either one to accept the QO? Tell us about your reasoning. How much trouble do you think the real life Orioles are in if one or even both end up accepting the $17.2 million qualifying offer for 2017?
Of course, this system may not even end up existing in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement being negotiated between MLB and the players union, but let’s just roll with it as-is for now.
Additionally, if you are interested in the Orioles trying to retain any of their other pending free agents, such as Pedro Alvarez or Michael Bourn, let us know what you would do to try to keep them in the fold for 2017.
Other free agents
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, although whether they have the money to do anything about it is another story.
If the Orioles choose to jump on this hot new baseball trend, we’d like to know at least one outside free agent who you think the Orioles NEED to sign to fill one of the holes on their team. Can they actually afford this player? If you think they’re going to sign Yoenis Cespedes or Dexter Fowler, you’d better have a good reason.
Given that this is the Orioles, we’d also like to know one lower-cost ($5 million or less) free agent you think the Orioles should or will sign.
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? What might it take the Orioles to pry them loose?
Alternatively, if you’re thinking about burning this house down to build a new one, hit us with the list of players you think the Orioles must trade over this offseason in order to rebuild.
Still a third choice is to talk about a trade or trades that the Orioles could try to make in order to clear some salary. Be creative, but be reasonable. The Orioles aren’t going to get anything useful for Yovani Gallardo, even if they eat some salary.
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?
Also make sure to consider who will be in the Orioles Opening Day lineup at the following positions: Catcher, right field, designated hitter.
There is no deadline to submit an offseason plan, but keep in mind that the longer you wait, the more the landscape will be changing.
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.