It’s 2017 and the Baltimore Orioles are at the same place they’ve been for the last month. The team’s needs haven’t changed.
The champaign glasses are in the dish washer. Many of you are finally lifting your head from the pillow after a groggy morning and afternoon. The year has flipped from 2016 to 2017. We can officially turn the page on an exciting baseball year. Yet, for the Baltimore Orioles, nothing has really changed. The Birds still have many of the same needs they had when Edwin Encarnacion’s home run left the park in Toronto and the Orioles exited the playoffs.
The only need the Orioles have filled is at catcher where they signed Welington Castillo to a 1-year deal with a player option for 2018. I don’t mean to downplay the move – it was an important move for a team that had Matt Wieters at catcher the last 8 seasons.
Still, the Orioles have glaring holes in right field, designated hitter, and to a lesser extent, left field. They also would like to add another bullpen arm. At least 2 of the position players have to have some muscle as Mark Trumbo, the league’s 2016 home run leader, is still on the free agent market. While Trumbo could still re-sign with the Orioles which would make a lot of sense, there is no guarantee he will return.
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We’ve already talked (ad nauseam) about the Orioles outfield and designated hitter situation. Right now, the only real outfield experience the team carries on its 25-man roster is Adam Jones, Hyun Soo Kim and Joey Rickard. In fact, if you add up all the career major league at bats of the Orioles outfielders not named Adam Jones, you get 614! That’s right, 614 career at bats for the entire Orioles outfield roster excluding Adam Jones.
We have also talked about the names that could fill the holes in the outfield and at designated hitter. The list includes names like Mark Trumbo, Pedro Alvarez, Michael Bourn, Michael Saunders, Rajai Davis, Angel Pagan and Colby Rasmus. There may be a few others as well including internal options such as Trey Mancini, Christian Walker and Daniel Alvarez.
As for the bullpen, the Orioles would love to add another arm to a bullpen that currently includes Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Darren O’Day, Mychal Givens, Donnie Hart, and probably one of Wade Miley or Ubaldo Jimenez.
Dan Duquette is well known to make late signings that greatly improve his teams (consider Nelson Cruz, Ubaldo Jimenez, Delmon Young, Yovani Gallardo and Pedro Alvarez. All were signed after the first of the year.
I expect activity to pickup this week – especially with Encarnacion off the board and Mike Napoli possibly close to a deal with the Rangers. I still feel as though the Orioles will re-sign Trumbo; however, they still need additional outfield help.
This is Dan Duquette’s prime time area to shine. He has done it before and it’s time to finish the job once again. A few deals could make the Baltimore Orioles a very competitive team in 2017 and perhaps one that is even more well-rounded than the 2016 version.