- Re-sign Nelson Cruz or find a way to replace his production
The Baltimore Orioles struck gold with the one-year, $8 million deal they signed Nelson Cruz to this past offseason, and it's safe to assume he won't come nearly as cheap this winter.
While the team would no doubt love to have him back, there's a good chance he finds greener pastures elsewhere, and that could leave the Orioles with a hole in the middle of their lineup.
Whether it is bringing back Cruz, signing someone else, pulling off a trade or finding a way to get Chris Davis back to his 2013 form, figuring out a way to keep from losing that production in the middle of the order will be key.
- Renegotiate with Nick Markakis
Outfielder Nick Markakis has been a staple in right field for the Orioles since he debuted back in 2006, and while he is no longer a 100-RBI threat in the middle of the lineup, he's turned himself into a nice on-base threat atop the lineup.
The team holds a $17.5 million option with a $2 million buyout for the 2015 season, a steep price to pay for someone who is essentially a 2.0 WAR player at this point in his career.
Declining that option to negotiate a new two- or three-year deal seems like the best move for the Orioles, and there's a good chance they'll be willing to pay more than he'd get on the open market, so it's a win for Markakis as well.
- Decide whether Manny Machado moves to shortstop
When Manny Machado was first called up and stuck on third base, it was out of necessity. Roughly two years later, he has turned into a Gold Glove third baseman, but incumbent shortstop J.J. Hardy is headed for free agency in the offseason.
Hardy has seen his offensive production drop this year, with a .663 OPS and just four home runs, so unless the O's can get him to re-sign for cheap, they will likely let him walk.
That leaves the team with a big decision to make about whether Machado moves back to his natural shortstop position for the remainder of his career or stays on the hot corner, where he's perhaps the best in the game defensively.