Baltimore Orioles: Game-planning the winter meetings
The winter meetings have arrived and the Baltimore Orioles, led by new executive VP and general manager Mike Elias, are ready to make a splash…or maybe not
MLB’s winter meetings are here! Rumors, trades, signings…the hot stove league is in full swing! You can find the winter meetings agenda here, and the full schedule of events here. Anything catch your eye? Excited yet? Alright, as a fan of the Baltimore Orioles, maybe the hot stove isn’t as hot as we’d like it to be. We’re not expecting Mike Elias to make any major splashes this week in Las Vegas, but he might start to put some minor moves on the stove and let them simmer.
First and foremost, the Orioles need a new manager, followed by a new coaching staff; they’re the only team in the majors left without a field manager. At the moment, the Orioles are expected to interview at least six candidates, four of whom are confirmed.
The four confirmed candidates are Diamondbacks VP of player development Mike Bell, Royals catching & quality control coach Pedro Grifol, Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, and Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde. Elias and the Orioles almost certainly won’t hire their new manager before the end of the winter meetings, but as Elias stated in an interview last Thursday, the Orioles are well past phase one of the search.
Getting their new manager in place needs to be the Orioles number one priority, and it appears that Elias is treating it as such. The fact that Elias is taking his time is a good sign, similar to how John and Louis Angelos took their time hiring Elias; this is important and they want to make the right decision.
Anything is possible but it doesn’t feel likely that the Orioles make any trades while Elias is in Las Vegas. The Orioles moved all of their major pieces at the deadline last year. The players left on the roster hold marginal value in the trade market, and the Orioles do still need to fill out a roster for 162 games next year.
As much as we may want the Orioles to move Alex Cobb, his contract is near market value and he wasn’t exceptional last year. If he pitches well into the first half of the season, his value will increase a bit and the Orioles might be able to get a prospect back in a trade. Mark Trumbo is much the same; he has little to no value right now coming off the knee injury and it makes sense to see if he can build value into the season.
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The Orioles do need to fill out the roster as there are currently just 38 players on the 40-man. At least one of them is likely to be filled by a Rule 5 draft pick. The draft runs on Thursday, as the winter meetings come to a close.
Last week at Birds Watcher, we outlined five potential Rule 5 picks. The Orioles have immediate needs in the middle infield, catcher, and in the bullpen, and will potentially need help in the outfield. Eligible players who fit the mold in the Rule 5 draft include A’s shortstop Richie Martin, Rays second-baseman Kean Wong, and Cardinals RHP Junior Fernandez.
Once the Orioles get through the winter meetings and the Rule 5 draft, they’ll assess the roster and make any necessary additions at that point. Over the past couple weeks, we’ve outlined a couple potential free agent middle infielders, including ex-Tiger shortstop Jose Iglesias, as well as potential free agent starters and relievers.
We shouldn’t expect any big free agent signings; the Orioles aren’t bringing back Manny Machado, nor are they likely bringing back Adam Jones. And they don’t have much left in terms of tradeable assets. But that doesn’t mean the winter meetings aren’t exciting, and keep us in the mood for baseball. We’re excited to see what Elias has in store for the next week.