Despite leading the division at the moment, the Orioles are not contenders this year. They continue to get better, however, and they are on the rise. Part of that is the talent that has been developed over the last few years, and the Orioles may want to start locking those guys up before they have a chance to leave.
The Orioles haven't handed out a ton of extensions to their younger players in the last few years, but there are some that stand out from Andy MacPhail's time as the President of Baseball Operations: Brian Roberts' four-year/$40 million deal, Nick Markakis' six-year/$66 million deal and J.J. Hardy's three-year/$22 million deal.
These three deals show the pros and cons associated with an extension. Extensions are very risky. Roberts was a big part of the Orioles and the community in Baltimore, but he has been injured for three years of the deal. Markakis and Hardy's deals look better because they have been contributing.
Here are the three players that the Orioles should lock up and a couple that are working their way to becoming keys to the future.