5.) Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles entered the offseason, with a number of significant questions to answer. For starters, would they retain the services of slugger Chris Davis? While that question currently remains unanswered, the O’s have seemingly moved on if reports are correct. Among their other uncertainties is the status of Wei-Yin Chen. The 30-year-old southpaw is on the open market, for the first time in his career. Fresh off of his two best seasons in an Orioles uniform, the lefty is primed to cash-in on a major payday this winter.
The potential departure of Chen would create a major hole in the O’s rotation, leaving them without a clear ace of the staff. While the team does have other arms such as Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Miguel Gonzalez, they not have been as consistent or impressive as Chen.
While it may be simple for Baltimore fans to say “Go out and spend the money,” it’s not exactly that easy. The O’s are dealing with some payroll issues, leaving the team with little financial flexibility unless the owner allows for a massive increase. The team entered the offseason with a little over $42 million committed to three players for the 2016 season. That was prior to the re-signing of reliever Darren O’Day, and catcher Matt Wieters accepting his $15.8 million qualifying offer.
The Orioles are said to have made a pair of lucrative offers to Davis, with the latest rumored to have been a seven-year, $150 million deal. ESPN later reported though, that the O’s have pulled that offer off the table, and are pursing other avenues.
In the event that Chris Davis signs elsewhere, Baltimore is expected to use the money they saved from Davis, to help upgrade their shallow outfield. Earlier in the offseason, Baltimore made an interesting move, acquiring 1B/OF Mark Trumbo from the Seattle Mariners, in exchange for backup catcher Steve Clevenger. This move gave the O’s some much-needed depth, as the Davis situation has been uncertain from the start of free agency. Multiple teams are said to be in pursuit of the 29 year-old slugger, one of which are the St. Louis Cardinals. While it doesn’t seem like Davis will return to Baltimore at this current moment, we all know that things can change very quickly in the business of baseball.
In an offseason full of major moves, the Orioles have been very quiet. Baltimore may have serviceable options internally that are capable of filling some holes that could be created. But, if Baltimore is to lose both Chen and Davis without bringing in some reinforcements, it could be a disaster in the making for the O’s.