Christmas is less than a week away, and by this point, the MLB offseason has nearly taken its course in terms of the free-agent market. Many big names are off the board (Hamilton, Greinke, Dempster), as is customary at this time of the year, when the holidays are in full swing and the year is coming to a close.
For Baltimore Orioles fans, this has been the second incredibly boring offseason in a row, with the only relatively big news being the re-signing of outfielder Nate McLouth. Like last offseason, fans are getting antsy and stressed at the lack of moves being made to improve the club's roster.
Therefore, the most controversial move of the Orioles' offseason so far has been their lack of doing much of anything outside of building minor league depth and bringing back McLouth.
Even though this was the same strategy the team employed last offseason—and it worked pretty well, as we all know—the O's are a team with a few obvious holes that need to be addressed. They need a middle-of-the-order bat, and they need an ace starting pitcher.
Being that the free-agent market wasn't very deep, the Orioles decided to stand back and not be involved in bidding wars for players who weren't really even worth the money they were being paid. It's a strategy no one can really blame them for taking, especially when seeing how much of their annual payroll would be tied to one player should they have signed Hamilton or Greinke, the two best players on this year's market.
Orioles' GM Dan Duquette has repeatedly expressed his interest in making a trade for the bat that the O's need as opposed to signing said player, and has stated he's had talks with numerous teams about different trade scenarios, but that many of those trade talks have fallen apart.
No matter how frustrated O's fans get with this offseason's lack of moves thus far, they can't say that Duquette isn't trying. The GM simply doesn't want to force a trade just for the sake of making a change, and the club still values their young pitching, which is what would likely be the cornerstone of any potential deal for a big bat.
There are two sides to this, and I'm sure fans understand both sides of it. The team needs improvement, but there are very few ways out on the market to go about doing so, and improving the team would likely require giving up pieces that could be future contributors for the team.
That doesn't take away from how frustrating it can get, though, and all we can do as fans is hold our breath and hope for the best. We did last season, and it paid off greatly.
In the end, Duquette and manager Buck Showalter will likely do what's best for the team, whatever that may be. Everyone may not agree with it, but hey, that's why they get paid to make those decisions and not us random Internet bloggers and blog readers alike.
Hold on tight, fellow Birds fans. The best is yet to come.