It was a good season for the Baltimore Orioles in 2016. The team returned to the postseason after not making the tournament last season, even though it was a short appearance. But the question still remains, what can the O’s do this winter to help them get further in 2017?
A season that saw the Baltimore Orioles prove the critics wrong yet again ended on a sour note with the team losing to the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL wild card elimination game. The win or go home contest was defined by a lack of offense and an incredibly questionable decision from Buck Showalter to keep Zach Britton in the bullpen, even with the game going into the 12th inning.
Nevertheless, Orioles fans should be pleased because it was another successful season that saw Manny Machado continue to solidify his place among the best in the game and Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy make noticeable leaps into becoming top of the rotation starters that many people thought he could be when they were pitching gems in the minor leagues. Not to mention that Zach Britton was not human for the entirity of the 2016 season.
Still, when looking at the situation the Orioles will be facing this offseason, it brings question about how much better the team can get over the winter. Key players like Mark Trumbo and Matt Wieters are impending free agents, plus there are still multiple sizable contracts on the books for players that probably don’t deserve them. You also have to take into account that a couple more guys will be receiving decent raises through arbitration, most notably Britton, Machado, Chris Tillman and Jonathan Schoop.
While it is important to try and look ahead and attempt to sign the likes of Machado or Tillman to contract extensions, this list is going to focus on what Baltimore should do to maximize their chances of getting further in the postseason next year.