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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Wondering about the Orioles’ offseason plan

The O’s have a great core but some holes to fill. Are they willing to spend money for significant upgrades?

MLB: OCT 08 ALDS - Rangers at Orioles Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The hot stove season continues to sputter along in drips and drabs in the week before the Winter Meetings, when the action will hopefully pick up pace. And while the free agent market has been mostly stagnant so far, one group that’s been more active than the rest is starting pitchers, where five veterans have signed big league contracts. The Cardinals alone have signed three of them, making their biggest splash yesterday by inking right-hander Sonny Gray to a three-year, $75 million deal. That comes on the heels of St. Louis also inking Lance Lynn and departing Oriole Kyle Gibson, plus the Phillies re-signing Aaron Nola for seven years and the Tigers landing Kenta Maeda for two.

The 34-year-old Gray was thought to be a potential target for the Orioles, but he wasn’t going to get $75 million from the O’s, who have shown no inclination to spend significant money in free agency. They have yet to sign any player to a multi-year deal during the Mike Elias era — not that the decision to keep payroll low is necessarily Elias’s to make.

It wouldn’t exactly be a death knell if the Orioles, coming off a 101-win season and filled to the brim with young talent, elected not to be huge spenders this offseason. More than likely, they’d still be playoff contenders with the roster they currently have on hand. Still, when the O’s tore the organization down to the studs upon Elias’s arrival and went through a years-long rebuilding process, fans were led to believe that the team would be willing to boost payroll and shell out money for significant additions once the team was competitive again. That time has certainly arrived. The O’s are coming off a historic season that ended all too quickly in the playoffs, and some wise expenditures for key free agents could give them the best chance of building on their success. Ideally, those free agents would be guys who move the needle a bit more than the Kyle Gibsons and Adam Fraziers of the world.

The offseason action has only just begun, and there are plenty of avenues that Elias and the Orioles can take to upgrade the team. We’ll see what they’ve got in store for the next few months.


2024 ZiPS Projections: Baltimore Orioles | FanGraphs Baseball
Friend of the blog Dan Szymborski unveils his O’s projections, and they’re quite optimistic, pegging the Birds with the best record in the division. Because FanGraphs has famously always believed in the Orioles.

As lease nears end, Orioles and Maryland may consider development rights separately - Baltimore Sun
The O’s and the state of Maryland have made such little progress in their Camden Yards lease talks that they might have to settle for a scaled-down agreement that doesn’t address development rights for now. The Orioles aren’t going to be moving out of town, but these negotiations seem like kind of a boondoggle.

Rotation depth could push some real talent to O's bullpen in 2024 - Steve Melewski
I sure wouldn’t hate having Tyler Wells and DL Hall try to fill the Félix Bautista-sized hole in the bullpen, even if it’s a bit early to give up on them as starters.

A few questions and curiosities about the 2024 Orioles - School of Roch
Cole Irvin is another guy who could be either a starter or reliever based on the Orioles’ needs. Somehow I’m not as excited about him as Wells or Hall.

Orioles free agent fits: Here are available players who make the most sense for Baltimore - Baltmore Sun
Nathan Ruiz examines some of the less heralded free agents who could be in the Orioles’ modest price range. Get amped up about Lucas Giolito and Harrison Bader, everybody.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Two former Orioles were born on this day: right-hander Yefry Ramírez (30) and Bethesda-born outfielder Jim Fuller (73).

On this date in 1973, Orioles outfielder Al Bumbry was named AL Rookie of the Year after a stellar season in which he batted .337/.398/.500 in 110 games, leading the league with 11 triples. Six different players received first-place votes for Rookie of the Year, including Bumbry’s Oriole teammate Rich Coggins, but “The Bee” pulled in 13 of the 23 votes to win handily. It was just the start of a standout 13-year career in Baltimore for Bumbry, Camden Chat’s 19th best Oriole of all time.