6 keys to the offseason for the O’s

By Ryan Decker

As most you saw Tuesday night, the Baltimore Orioles season did not end in a very positive way.

If you were unable to catch the game, or weren’t on Twitter in the moments following, all you need to know is that Buck Showalter not putting Zach Britton into the AL Wild Card game was the best example of misjudgment in a big moment by a head coach/manager since Pete Carol decided to not give the ball to Marshawn Lynch in the Super Bowl.

Regardless, what’s done is done. There’s nothing Orioles fans can do to go back and change what happened.

With the season over in Baltimore, it’s time to begin looking at the offseason that lies ahead for the team from the Charm City.

Below are my six keys to the offseason for the Orioles:

 

1. Re-sign Mark Trumbo  

With early offseason exit Baltimore can get first crack at Mark Trumbo.

The new contract shouldn’t be long term, noting more than four years.

Trumbo is 30 years-old, so still technically within the confines of the prime of his career, and he did just have the best season of his seven-year career.

He’s a great pairing with Chris Davis and Manny Machado near the middle of the lineup and he’s a versatile enough guy defensively that he’s not limited to just one position.

Obviously after the season he had, he’s a great fit for hitter-friendly Camden Yards, as well.

2. Find a starting pitcher

Baltimore needs to be an ace.

Chris Tillman has served as the defecto ace for the Orioles for too long.

This winter, Dan Duquette and the rest of the front office needs to get an ace, or above average No. 2 that can be paired with the good young arms of Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy but that would also work well to balance experience with Tillman.

A lefty would be great!

Disclaimer: Please don’t let whoever has been in charge of signing pitchers anywhere near a phone this offseason.

Jeremy Hellickson appears to be the top free agent starting pitcher. Although he’s not a lefty, he does have the ability to become an ace, and he showed that this year pitching well on a bad Phillies team.

Second disclaimer: This year’s free agency pool is pretty bleak as far as starting pitchers go. So, Baltimore could need to find that ace via a trade.

 

3. Work out a long-term deal with Manny Machado

Manny Machado is one of the best young players in baseball. Maybe other than Mike Trout in Los Angeles, Machado is the best young player in baseball.

He is arbitration-eligible this offseason and next before he hits free agency after the 2018 season.

Don’t let him get there.

Work out the deal now!

Don’t let this become a distraction down the road, and something that could rub the whole team the wrong way. Lock him up long term now and give Baltimore fans assurance that there is winning in the long-term future of this team.

4. Get rid of unneeded players

Teams deal with this situation every offseason. There are obvious moves that need to be made, and then there are less-obvious moves that probably hould be made.

Ubaldo Jimenez and Nolan Reimold are at top of the list of players to let go. For Jimenez, Tuesday night was the epitome of his career in Baltimore, and Reimold is a guy that the franchise has failed to let go for too long. He’s a prospect that never panned out, somewhat due to injuries, but he’s a guy that’s been in Baltimore too long.

In the less-obvious category is catcher Matt Wieters.

Let Wieters walk. If needed, take the risk with the qualifying offer because I don’t think he’s coming back regardless.

Caleb Joseph and Chance Sisco are more than capable replacements for him – Joseph has been at the major league level for a few years now; Sisco a prospet that has shown a lot of progress at the Minor League level.

 

5. Find a leadoff hitter

Baltimore thought they found a leadoff hitter last winter with Dexter Fowler. But in the 11th hour he decided to head back to the Windy City for one more year.

Ian Desmond could also be a fix.

Adam Jones isn’t a leadoff hitter. Neither is Machado or most other players on Baltimore’s roster.

It’s a problem that’s faced this team since Brian Roberts left after 2013, and even before his departure he was faltering in the leadoff role.

Good teams have good leadoff hitters.

 

6. Don’t make any stupid moves

Sounds pretty cut and dry but O’s fans know this isn’t as easy as it sounds. That’s why this is a key point on my list.

Don’t pay a pitcher that’s over the hump of his career big money.

Don’t trade away half the farm system for a guy who hasn’t played well in two years.

Be smart.

The way the team is constructed, Baltimore can continue to be contenders if the right moves are made. However, one or two bad moves can ruin the whole thing. This is a crucial offseason.

 

 

 

 

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8 comments

  1. Jeremy Hellickson wasn’t even the best pitcher on the Phillies this year. No, he is not an ace, future ace, or someone that resembles an ace.

    He’s a good middle of the rotation guy. A front end guy will have to come via trade.

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  2. Couple things. For one the cost of all that would be astronomical. 2, Trumbo is only 30 and just lead the majors in home runs. Nelson Cruz was several years older, didn’t hit as many homers, and still got 4 years and over $50 million. “Not long term” isn’t in Trumbo’s vocabulary this offseason. Even if they do sign him, do you want the same offense that will go cold for months at a time and have an awful OBP? Same lineup, same problems. 3, we don’t have the trade pieces to acquire an ace, we’ve been living that reality since we became competitive in 2012. We’ll get outbid every time. 4, everyone forgot in one inning that we wouldn’t have sniffed the playoffs if Ubaldo hadn’t done what he did over the second half. He’s owed a lot of money next year, blowing $13 million to get rid of the guy who carried the rotation down the stretch doesn’t seem wise. Inconsistent as he is, you have to take what you can get for that money, and the benefits can be great at times. Signing Trumbo, releasing Ubaldo, resigning Machado, plucking an ace out of the sky and signing a lead off hitter (who would play where if Trumbo stays?) isnt a realistic expectation for any team in my opinion

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    • Trumbo hit a lot of HRs. And that is it. Not an OB% guy like Cruz was and I can see the Orioles offering 4 years $50 mil. He was not even a 2 WAR player last year. Also the position he will play is DH while a new hitter would be the reg RF I assume. Personally, I think Kim would be a fine Lead Off guy. But if they go looking in Free Agency I do not see anyone that stands out. Ace pitcher wise the only FA I see that has been solid the last few years is former Oriole Rich Hill (lefty too) and he is an injury risk and thin market on pitching could put his price tag out of range.

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  3. I appreciate the attempt but this is a horrible piece. I’ll go point by point.

    1) Trumbo is unlikely to resign as the O’s do need to commit resources to Manny and a SP in the near future thereby limiting funds available to Trumbo. Anything more than the contract Cruz got out in Seattle would be a mistake in judgment, the likes of which you suggested avoiding. Additionally, you’re simply wrong about his defensive versatility. He lost games out in RF. It’s 1b or DH and that’s it.

    2) Tillman needs to be the “ace” until Gaussman or Bundy step forward. The FA SP market is historically bad and no ace is available. Trade is likely impossible given lack of minor league system paired with likely sky high demands, again given the horrible FA market. Spending money on Ubaldo 2.0 would be a terrible mistake.

    3) Yeah, Manny needs to be resigned. Nothing to disagree on here.

    4) Get rid of unneeded players…well as we’re not a dynasty, we’re where everybody is, we’ve got some bad pieces. How do you suggest we move Ubaldo? I guess you could cut him but nobody is trading anything for him, regardless of how much contract you eat. As for Wieters, I think it is time to cut bait. But Caleb Joseph?! Do you watch baseball? Like, at all? Joseph of the .400 OPS? Joseph of the 0 – that’s right ZERO – RBIs in 141 PA. That’s worst in baseball by magnitudes of what in the actual fuck. This is where you lost any credibility. This was a bad piece before then with you showing a lack of understanding but WOW. This is where you pulled the Trump put you foot in your mouth maneuver.

    5) Fair

    6) But you essentially advocated for this in #2 as their is no ace to be had and pushing and compromising is likely to be as stupid a move as possible. Beyond that, is this a point that needs to be made? Every team, every season needs to attempt to make no stupid moves. This is on par with saying to walk by putting one foot in front of the other. So obvious and appreciated by even the most naive that to even mention such is foolish.

    Ryan, I wish you luck in your major and profession but in the future I would suggest trying to have a better understanding of your subject matter. Your writing could use a lot of work but that’s fine, you’re very young and this is obviously not your expertise. Good luck. Just bring a little more to the plate next time. You didn’t strike out here but you definitely grounded out weakly.

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  4. Well… I’m glad I’ll never get those 3 minutes of reading this drivel back. Do us a favor and stop spreading your idiocy.

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