Major League Baseball’s Non-Tender deadline is on Friday. Which means the Baltimore Orioles have some difficult decisions to make before then.
Now that the Thanksgiving break is over, it’s time for the Baltimore Orioles to get down to business. And the first thing they have to do is decide which of their 10 arbitration eligible players they’ll tender before Friday’s deadline.
Unlike their American League East rivals the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, the Orioles don’t have money to spend in the free agent market this offseason. The Orioles have 10 players slated to make money in arbitration, and according to the MLB Trade Rumors’ projections, it could cost the Orioles at least $50 Million. Adding insult to injury, the Orioles have $95 Million already committed to the payroll for next year.
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That means the Orioles have approximately $150 Million already dedicated to the payroll, and that’s without signing anyone from the free agent market.
Now, official numbers aren’t exchanged until January and most arbitration cases aren’t until February. So this would be a good time for the Orioles to start assembling their payroll. The Orioles can non-tender a player before Friday’s deadline and they can also trade a tendered player.
Three Orioles are slated to make over $10 Million in arbitration this offseason; Chris Tillman ($10.6 Million), Manny Machado ($11.2 Million) and Zach Britton ($11.4 Million). And given the Orioles history, they’ve been known to trade players who are slated to make an eight figure salary prior to the tender deadline.
The Orioles traded away Jim Johnson to the Oakland Athletics a few seasons ago because he was slated to make over $10 Million in arbitration.
However, the Orioles aren’t likely to trade away Tillman, Machado and Britton–yet. All three players are still important to the Orioles as they attempt to make the postseason next year. However, Tillman is in his final year before he’s eligible for free agency while Machado and Britton are two years away.
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Given their limited choices, the Orioles have to decide whether they’re going to tender Vance Worley, Ryan Flaherty or T.J. McFarland. Of course, keeping all 10 players wouldn’t be the worst thing for their payroll. But if they want to have enough money for free agent signings, they have some tough decisions to make in the coming days.