Teams will always undergo a changing of the guard as players transition away from their organizations. The Baltimore Orioles will fall victim to this in 2019.
With the contracts of Adam Jones, Manny Machado and Zach Britton ending after next season, the Baltimore Orioles will have some serious decisions to make. Some of these decisions may cause some murmurs among the O’s faithful. This is a team that has been built around these three players along with Chris Davis for the past four years. Since Machado made his way to being a regular for the O’s, they have not finished below .500 in a season.
What to do about Manny Machado?
When Machado hits the free agent market, he will be commanding a very high price. A price so exorbitant that the O’s may not be able to retain him. So that bears the question, what should the O’s do? The O’s are in a win-now mode, but will that be the case for next year? The time for the O’s to take home a World Series may be coming to a close. If the Orioles are not performing by the All-Star break next season, I would look to see the possibility of the O’s shopping Machado to the highest bidder. The return could be quite a bit for such a high caliber player. The three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner would bring in quite the haul for the O’s.
The possibility of bringing in something that the O’s need, like a talented group of young pitching prospects, would be high as a return for Machado. Bringing in talented pitching is something that the O’s should be focusing on as is. Their current starters have been sub-par for the past few years.
Will Zach Britton stay?
Britton, like Machado, will have a contract expiring after next season. Though many Orioles fans will recall Game One of the ALCS against the Royals and the troubles Britton faced, that is nothing to begrudge Britton for. Britton has been one of the best closers in all of baseball since then. Currently, Britton is in the midst of a save streak that has only been accomplished by five pitchers in MLB history.
After seeing the contracts that both Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen commanded this offseason, it makes you think. What kind of money could Britton demand for an extension with the O’s? Likely to earn along the same terms of the two aforementioned, Britton may be outside of the price range for the O’s. But they could take the route the Yankees did with Chapman last season and flip Britton for more prospects.
Keeping one of the WBC heroes.
I believe that Adam Jones may be the only one from the group to remain an Oriole after next season. Jones, who will be 33 years old when his contract ends, will more than likely sign a deal to end his career with the Orioles. When I think of the Orioles, Jones is one of the first players that comes to mind. Being that Jones has made a name for himself with the O’s, I don’t see him leaving for another team.
The five-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner will likely command a high salary with respect to younger players on the team, but I believe the O’s will more than likely repay the loyalty that Jones has shown over the years.
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Needless to say, the landscape of the Orioles will be slightly different in the 2019 season. The big questions will be, who will stay and who will go?