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Will the Orioles be 'buyers' this offseason?

Nov 22, 2009, 10:25 AM EDT

According to Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles are poised to be “buyers” this offseason, as they are in a better financial position than they have been in more than a decade.
“It’s the fun part of the job. This is the time for us to go up and hit,” Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. “Last year, we made a couple of trades, we signed five free agents. We were pretty active. Numerically, I think we’ll be more active dollar-wise than we were last year. We’re organized, we have our targets that we’re going to go after, and we’ll see how it goes and how the market unfolds.”
The team’s most pressing needs are to find a veteran starting pitcher and a middle-of-the-order bat to play first or third base. While they would likely have to overpay to sign any marquee free agents, they have expressed interest in John Lackey and Chone Figgins.
More realistic options are corner bats like Pedro Feliz, Adrian Beltre, Nick Johnson, Carlos Delgado, Troy Glaus or Hank Blalock. Whoever they sign, they will likely be a short-term stopgap until Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder are ready for the majors. As for a starting pitcher, expect the Orioles to be in the mix for Braden Looper, Randy Wolf or Jon Garland. MacPhail also hasn’t dismissed the possibility of signing a pitcher coming off injury like former ace Erik Bedard.
Zrebiec and Connolly point out that the Orioles have just three players (Nick Markakis, Brian Roberts and Brian Matusz) under contract beyond next season, so while it would be nice to see Peter Angelos finally open his wallet, now simply isn’t the time to spend just for spending’s sake. The Orioles aren’t a few pieces away from threatening the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays. Let’s hope McPhail keeps making sound baseball decisions while the talent of Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold, Chris Tillman and Matusz incubates.

  1. Grant - Nov 22, 2009 at 10:52 AM

    I don’t really like anyone available this offseason beyond Lackey for the Orioles. Just let Scott/Reimold play first and left (or DH with Pie in left for his defense), sign a stopgap 3bman if Bell isn’t quite ready (Feliz?) and wait. If they can actually sign Lackey, fine, but I’m guessing he wants to go (or stay) somewhere where he might be able to win now. Winning teams are basically all the guy knows, after all.

  2. Dan - Nov 22, 2009 at 3:11 PM

    Chris Tillman… Brian Matusz. Sure you guys know, just pointing out the typo.
    I don’t see Chone Figgins as a good addition for the Orioles. They already have a speedy, top of the lineup guy in Brian Roberts. Not sure that his addition to this team would be as big a plus as to another team. John Lackey commands too much money for being too big of a question mark with his injury history, and less than dominant stuff, to be honest. Erik Bedard, Rich Harden, and Ben Sheets on shorter contracts seem to make much more sense to me. Even if they are injured, they can still mentor the likes of Tillman and Matusz. Less money would be wasted, as well, over a shorter period of time. Pedro Feliz makes more sense than Adrian, as well. If they can’t win next year, they shouldn’t sign a guy like Beltre that might only be a plus hitter for another two years, when his contract will be for three or four years. Feliz could probably be had at an acceptable rate for one or two years, and provide excellent defense until a longer term solution is had.

  3. ORIOLES8 - Nov 23, 2009 at 1:46 PM

    If the Orioles spend any money this offseason it should be for a new owner ! Peter Angelos can be proud of the fact that he has completely ruined the O’s.

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