The American League East has been a central point of the discussion for the Major League Baseball offseason to this point. The New York Yankees have made some significant moves, and the Boston Red Sox have made some additions and retained key players from their World Series title. The Toronto Blue Jays are lurking and have blockbuster potential in the coming days.
And yet, here stand the Baltimore Orioles. A team on the cusp of being a very large pennant threat out of the American League, the O’s have yet to act on much of anything this offseason. They did sign free agent reliever Ryan Webb, who should be a solid addition, but they’ve garnered attention for the players that have departed, rather than the ones they’re bringing in.
That’s because the Orioles have traded Jim Johnson and allowed both Scott Feldman and Nate McClouth to walk in free agency. Now trading Johnson made plenty of sense from a financial perspective, while neither Feldman or McClouth are players that Dan Duquette is going to lose sleep over for letting go as free agents. Nonetheless, these are now players that need to be replaced.
Yet, the Orioles continue to stand pat on both the free agent and trade markets. They moved Johnson to free up cash so that they could pursue a notable pitcher on the free agent market, or maybe via trade. However, at this point, the Orioles appear set to move on from the free agent pitching options, meaning a guy like Ubaldo Jimenez is out. If not him, then who will they acquire to bolster their rotation?
That addition will likely have to come from the trade market. They’ve been rumored to be interested in Jeff Samardzija, but no one knows if they’d actually pony up the pieces it’ll take to acquire him.
As far as bats, the Orioles do apparently have interest in Nelson Cruz and Shin-Soo Choo, the top two bats remaining in free agency, as well as Andre Ethier in a trade. However, that’s all it is at this point: interest. There hasn’t been any sort of indication that they’ll actually act on said interest.
As far as the offense is concerned, the Baltimore Orioles are in a position where they can let the market do its thing and make a move. They were top five in scoring runs last year, throughout the entire league. The pieces are there, they just need a couple of smaller additions. In regard to pitching, however, the O’s cannot afford to wait. It’s the pitching that’s holding them back from being serious contenders, and it’s the pitching they need to make a move on sooner, rather than later.