This was supposed to be the offseason that everything changed for the Baltimore Orioles.
The rebuilding process was over, at least according to general manager Mike Elias. After the Orioles showed that they were further along then expected in the wake of their 83-79 record in 2022, the expectation was that they would look to make a splash or two during the offseason.
Baltimore Orioles not exactly building on 2022 success
That has not happened to this point. While the Orioles have been at least tangentically linked to some of the bigger names in the offseason, the only moves of note to occur involved signing Kyle Gibson to a one year deal and bringing in Nomar Mazara on a minor league contract. Those are not signings that scream ‘playoff contender.’
There are still pieces out there that could make a difference. Dansby Swanson would help solidify the middle of the Orioles infield. Carlos Rodon would be the type of pitcher that would make a statement atop the rotation. The bullpen could use some attention as well. The trade market, and the likes of Pablo Lopez, could help improve the Orioles.
Instead, they are looking to plug more stopgap options into the rotation. Yes, the Orioles have plenty of exciting prospects coming up despite Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman made their major league debuts. But most of those options are on the offensive side. Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall can only do so much on their own.
Such is the case with the latest rumor. According to Jon Morosi from MLB.com, the Orioles are interested in Michael Wacha. While he would make a difference in the back of their rotation, he is also not a piece that would make anyone suspect that the Orioles are about to take the next step. He would be just another stopgap option, just like the Orioles have signed over the past couple of years.
Maybe the 2023 season can be framed as a chance to see what the Orioles currently have. It would be a chance to give those younger players more experience before the pressure is on to contend in 2024. However, considering the front office proclaimed that the rebuilding process is over, this offseason has been a major disappointment.
The Baltimore Orioles appeared to be set to take a major step forward in 2023 if they were to spend in free agency. That just is not happening.