By my count, the Orioles eliminated more than $31 million from last year's Opening Day payroll just by cutting ties with Brian Roberts, Jim Johnson, Wilson Betemit, Jason Hammel and Nate McLouth.
Yes, some players such as Adam Jones, Darren O'Day and Wei-Yin Chen earned a healthy raise, but the Orioles still have plenty of cheddar to spend and, as we've all noticed, have yet to flex any financial muscle this offseason.
Maybe they've just been waiting for the price to come down on Stephen Drew.
I know what you're thinking: Why would the Orioles have any desire to shell out $13 million-$15 million per year to add a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop to a team that already has two such shortstops in J.J. Hardy and Manny Machado?
The answer is simple: The O's have no second baseman worthy of playing every day.
Former Rule V draftee Ryan Flaherty has been a great story and all, but does anyone seriously think the O's can field a competitive squad in the American League East with him playing every day at second?
Flaherty posted a .224/.293/.390 line last year and a .216/.258/.359 slash the year before. He'll also turn 28 this season, well beyond when a player usually shows his potential.
Drew, on the other hand, enjoyed one of the finest offensive seasons of his career in 2013, posting a .253/.333/.433 line and tying a career high with 67 RBI.
As impressive as he was, how could those numbers not improve the hitting in a lineup with Adam Jones (.285/33/108), J.J. Hardy (.264/25/76), Matt Wieters (.235/22/79), Manny Machado (.283/14/71) and Chris Davis (.286/53/138)?
This is where the rabid O's fan interjects "what about top prospect Jonathan Schoop?"
Yes, Schoop is the future for Baltimore at second base, but don't be fooled by him ending last season in Triple-A and then making a brief cameo in the big leagues. Schoop is 22 years old and has less than 300 at-bats above Double-A.
He's also coming off a season in which he broke his back.
After spurning the Red Sox's qualifying offer of one year and $14.1 million, Drew is reportedly seeking three-year deal, per Kevin Kernan of the New York Post, worth at least that much each year.
Theoretically, that would be three years and $42 million-$45 million out the door.
The deal would give the Orioles, who already have the best defensive infield in baseball, arguably one of the top defensive infield units in baseball history. It would also give them a proven bat and an offensive upgrade over Ryan Flaherty or the newly acquired Jemile Weeks. Meanwhile, it would give Schoop some time to get his feet wet at the upper level of the minors.
It might also bring the O's some luck. After all, Drew played for a team that has finished the season in first place in its division in each of the past three years (Arizona, Oakland and Boston).
Most importantly, however, it would finally prove to all those soon-to-be free agents out there that the team is indeed willing to pay in order to compete.