The free agent season is officially underway, and before everything starts to get insane with rumors and theories and mystery teams buying everybody up, I want to look at some of the interesting situations to look forward to.
And few teams can promise a situation as interesting as the Baltimore Orioles. After years of dormancy, the O’s burst back on to the scene this year, winning 93 games and taking the Yankees to a decisive Game 5 of the ALDS. A record like that is promising, but the Orioles would be ill-advised to rest on their laurels.
In general, a lot of things have to go right in any winning season. Expecting all of them to go right two years in a row can be problematic. The Orioles, especially, would have issues.
They scored only nine more runs than they allowed last season. With a run differential like that, the Orioles would normally be expected to carry an 82-80 record. A lot of the difference had to do with their historic 29-9 record in one-run games.
Maybe they can repeat some of that, but at the same time, a nine-game swing in expectations is a lot to make up. The Orioles will need to try to actively improve this offseason to stay somewhat competitive. But they also can’t set back rebuilding too much by trading away the farm, or splurge too much on budget.
So instead, I have several different proposals for what the Orioles could do to stay in the race for the AL East, and maybe even improve.