Baltimore Orioles: Orioles roster in 2017 could look like 2016

The Baltimore Orioles aren’t a rich baseball team. That’s why they won’t be the ones to land a superstar free agent this Hot Stove season.

The Baltimore Orioles aren’t the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Boston Red Sox or the New York Yankees. I know it’s extremely obvious the Orioles aren’t any of those teams, but I meant in terms of payroll.

The Dodgers, Red Sox and Yankees could buy whoever they want off the free agent market. However, the Orioles are going to have to be a tad creative when it comes to acquiring the talent they need from the free agent market.

The Orioles have about $98 Million dollars committed to eight players next season: Wade Miley, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Darren O’Day, J.J. Hardy, Ubaldo Jimenez, Yovani Gallardo and Hyun Soo Kim. It would be ideal to try to trade Gallardo, but since there won’t be any takers, it’s more than likely he’ll stick with the ball club in 2017.

To make matter worse, the Orioles can barely afford the three impending free agents they have now; Mark Trumbo, Matt Wieters and Pedro Alvarez. It seems likely Trumbo, Wieters and Alvarez will find new homes this winter, which could weaken the Orioles lineup. However, there’s no way the Orioles can afford to fork over money for Trumbo, who is a 47 home run hitter, and Wieters, who is considered one of the best defensive catchers in baseball.

That means, the Orioles are going to have to be inventive when it comes to adding pieces to the roster this offseason, even if it means trades. The Orioles have a few trade candidates on the roster, such as Zach Britton, Manny Machado, even Jimenez. However, Britton and Machado would probably stay with the Orioles since the team is in “win-now” mode. And Jimenez won’t bring back much in the trade market.

Then there’s the whole’ trying to trade with the prospects’ thing. The Orioles virtually have no farm system. Meaning if they got on the phone with the Chicago White Sox and asked for, let’s say, Chris Sale, the White Sox front office would immediately hang up the phone.

The Orioles don’t have enough money to fill all of their needs; notably a backup shortstop. Should the Orioles lose Hardy to injury for a long time, Machado will have to fill in as the Orioles shortstop, and that means bringing in someone who isn’t even fully developed at the minor league level.

I’m going to be blunt: The 2017 Orioles don’t look like a playoff team on paper. Neither did the 2016 Orioles although they surprised everyone by making it to the Wild Card game. However, there’s not much the Orioles can do. They don’t have money like their two AL East rivals do. And they don’t have the luxury simply buy whoever they want on the free agent market.

They’re going to have to buy whoever they can afford and hope the deal works out. Until the eight major contracts they have come off the books, the Orioles are strapped for cash.

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So with a questionable farm system and too many big contracts on the roster, it could be awhile before the Orioles can put together a team that could take them all the way to the World Series.

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