4.) A mid-tier starting pitcher
Wei-Yin Chen is as good as gone, and the Orioles got a decent return on their initial $16 million investment. Coming off his best season and entering free agency for the first time, Chen will likely make at least $16 million per season in 2016. Chen is a good pitcher, and the Orioles pitching staff certainly had plenty of terrible outings in 2015, but signing Davis has to be the top priority. The Orioles are built around their offensive ability, and the lineup must be kept at full strength if the team is to continue winning. That could mean Chen falls lower on the list of priorities. There’s also some reason to be concerned about committing long term to Chen. He is extremely home run prone and typically sees his performance flag in the second half of the year. In a division with Toronto, Boston, and New York, that’s not a good thing.
If the Orioles let Chen walk, there will be plenty of options available in the $10-$15 million range. Mike Leake, Brett Anderson, Jaime Garcia are a few examples that come to mind. Anderson and Garcia should be particularly interesting to the Orioles front office thanks to their ability to induce groundballs. With Chen, Chris Tillman, and Miguel Gonzalez, the Orioles built themselves a rotation that was very fly ball heavy. That came back to bite both Tillman and Gonzalez this year, as the sabermetricians had been predicting a rise in their HR/FB for years. A pitcher that can induce groundballs would be a very impactful addition to an Orioles rotation that is probably not as bad as this year’s performance would indicate.