The Orioles have a clear plan to execute this winter.
The 2022 Orioles season is now in the books. The team dramatically overachieved: a fun, winning season, high-profile prospects came to The Bigs, and a promise to escalate payroll for next year.
In fact, Baltimore will be on the baseball radar for their next steps. Here at Birds Watcher, we’ll talk about what’s next for the O’s and what Birdland can expect in the winter.
Firstly, we’ll start with Houston turning the corner. The current regime in Charm City came from there in November 2018 with Mike Elias and his crew. For four seasons at the beginning of the 2010’s, the Astros were the worst team in baseball with three consecutives 100+ loss seasons.
In 2014, they improved to 70-92. Next season, they were in the playoffs via the wild card (86-76) and lost in five games in the ALDS against Kansas City. Since then, the Astros have made six postseason trips in seven years with three World Series appearances and won in 2017.
Their changes from 2014 for 2015:
- Carlos Correa debuted and played 90 games. Houston’s core started with Correa, Jose Altuve, and George Springer leading them for years
- In the dugout, A.J. Hinch was named the new manager. His last manager job in MLB was in 2010 in Arizona
- Houston spent $63,000,000 in free agency (13th most).
When the contender window opened, Houston didn’t make any shocking deal in free agency. Over the years, they improved smartly. And it’s likely for Baltimore to follow this path. They don’t need to be desperate for contracts like Detroit, for example. The Tigers are a case not to follow.
In Birdland, if they make a splash and sign Jacob deGrom and/or Trea Turner, for example, we won’t complain. But, in reality, their biggest acquisitions should come from trades. Not all prospects will play for Baltimore, especially middle infielders. We’ll talk about them in an upcoming post. But for now, they’re assets for the MLB roster.
Houston made their moves to reinforce starting pitchers with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke. When the opportunity comes, pull the trigger. Players like Zac Gallen, Pablo Lopez or even Corbin Burnes in the near future may be worth the trade. Proven players are better in these situations, prospects fans.
In regard to the manager, it will be a surprise if Baltimore changes their skipper. Houston made that move because they needed a change. I remembered the Toronto Raptors, when they traded DeMar DeRozan and fired Dwyane Casey to win it all in 2018-19. But, in that case, the Raptors were in playoff contention every year. The Orioles will start their competitive window next year. Unlikely move to get rid of Brandon Hyde, who might win Manager of the Year.
Regarding payroll, the Orioles finished 2022 just ahead of the Oakland Athletics. Cleveland, the AL Central Champions for example, is 28th with an $80 million roster. If Baltimore spends the same amount that Houston did in 2015, they’ll jump to 22nd. Three teams went to the postseason with below average payrolls: Cleveland (28th), Tampa Bay (25th) and Seattle (21st).
To sum up, all signs point to moves like spending more and making trades. The last few years have been hopeless, with veterans signing one-year deals and playing just well enough to be traded at the deadline. Like Adley’s debut, a new horizon for Baltimore will come next offseason.
Next post: who is the better 2B fit (from Orioles Pipeline)