Orioles Rumors: The Orioles are shopping at the top of the bullpen market
One of the bigger bright spots from the 2023 season for Baltimore was the play of Felix Bautista which is why it was particularly devastating to see him get hurt and undergo Tommy John surgery which will keep him out for all of 2024. Baltimore seems to recognize how big of a loss Bautista was as well as the need to have a strong bullpen and it sure seems like they are willing to spend to rectify the situation.
Multiple reports have suggested that Baltimore is among the chief suitors for the top relief arm on the free agent market, Josh Hader. Hader is expected to get a deal that will pay him north of $20+ million a year which would normally peg him as a guy out of the Orioles' price range, but that hasn't seemed to dissuade Baltimore so far. It would also be pretty sweet to see Hader come home to the team that originally drafted him back in 2012.
More importantly, the Orioles don't seem to be hanging their hopes on Hader as they have also been looking at other top relievers on the market including Jordan Hicks, Craig Kimbrel, and Aroldis Chapman. None of those guys are going to make anywhere near what Hader is going to command, but they certainly aren't going to be cheap which is good news for those that worried that Baltimore wasn't going to do anything beyond putting a band-aid on a significant roster hole.
At this point, it would be surprising to see the Orioles NOT come away with a high end reliever this offseason. That should put them in a decent position in 2024 and once Bautista returns from the IL after that, assuming he has no setbacks, look out.