Many lamentations are being uttered by Oriole fans and wordy essays authored by various experts trying to pinpoint what went wrong. Its very simple. The Orioles got beat by a good and weirdly streaky team who got hot at exactly the right time.
Did the five day layoff hurt? Eh, maybe. (But why weren't the Astros affected? Maybe weaker opposition?)
Did the O's suffer because of a lack of post-season experience? Maybe. (But didn't the Dodgers have LOTS of post-season experience? And the Braves ditto?)
Should the Orioles have traded for a really great starter? YES!! Was Walter Johnson available? Greg Maddux? Pedro Martinez? Gerrit Cole?
Should the Orioles have traded one or two of their top prospects for a middling upgrade over Gibson and Kremer? Er...no.
Was Hyde out managed by Bochy? Maybe to some degree. Bochy has a history of out-managing the competition. He has won three World Series titles and he has 69 more post season games under his belt than does Hyde. Is it reasonable to expect anything different under the circumstances?
Do the Orioles need to trade for more bats? Heck no! The Orioles have plenty of hitters, good hitters, and they will pretty much all be better in 2024. Atlanta's hitters bludgeoned their way through the regular season and yet they were mowed down by the Phillies. Sometimes good pitching beats good hitting and in the post-season especially so.
Were the Orioles "just lucky" in 2023? No. They were an excellent team and Hyde did a masterful job.
Do the Orioles need some nasty players with attitude? No. Please no.
So how should the O's approach this off-season?
Frazier, Gibson, Flaherty, Hicks and Fuji are all likely gone.
Hicks and Frazier I assume will be replaced from with-in. The O's don't lack for fielders in or out.
GRod and Braddish are a strong 1-2 and John Means joins them in the top tier as long as he is healthy.
Kremer is borderline acceptable as a 5th starter but not as a 4th.
If Wells can go back to starting he is a better 5th starter than Kremer, but maybe they leave Wells in the pen to be the closer while we wait for the Mountain to return.
I expect Cano, Coulombe, Hall, and Perez will be back. Maybe Irvin? The rest of the bullpen, I dunno. A couple of the others may end up being the best available but I hope not.
As to the batters, these guys would seem to be locks: Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, Jorge Mateo, Ryan Mountcastle, Ryan O'Hearn, Ramón Urías, Jordan Westburg, Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander, and James McCann. The only question might be O'Hearn but I expect they will bring him back. That is just eleven, so will Kjerstad start the season with the O's? Cowser? Holliday? Mayo? Norby?
So I think Mike Elias' task is clear: Line up a solid starter to replace Gibson and another one to replace Kremer, and locate several upgrades for the bullpen.