With Matt Wieters and Mark Trumbo venturing into free agency, there’s a chance the Baltimore Orioles might not get them back.
However, there are options on the free agent and trade market that could be cost-effective.
It’s likely Baltimore Orioles fans have seen the last of Matt Wieters and Mark Trumbo. It was almost a given the moment they refused to offer Wieters the qualifying offer and Trumbo declined the qualifying offer.
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It’s not that the Orioles don’t want Wieters and Trumbo back. It’s likely the team would jump at the chance for a reunion with both players. But only if both players didn’t cost so much money.
The Orioles aren’t planning to spend money this offseason, especially when there’s approximately $96 Million on the payroll going into next season. So they’re going to have to be creative when it comes to acquiring talent.
What are the Orioles looking for?
The Orioles are looking for help behind the plate and in the outfield. Going into the season, the Orioles would have Caleb Joseph as the starting catcher. The team would also be without a power-hitting outfielder with the ability to get on base.
So what players on the free agent and trade market would fit the Orioles needs and give them the talent in order to contend?
Sep 23, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros catcher Jason Castro (15) drives in a run with an infield single during the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
NAME: Jason Castro
FORMER TEAM: Houston Astros
WHY: Jason Castro spent the last six seasons with the Houston Astros where he made one All-Star team. Castro’s numbers with the Astros last season gives a strong indication the Astros will look elsewhere for catching help next season, but Castro has shown power at the plate.
Castro hit .210/.307/.377 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs in 113 games with the Astros and also had a 0.9 WAR.
So why would the Baltimore Orioles want Castro? Other than the one year he was an All-Star, he has been a disappointment for the Astros, and it is possible he won’t command much in the free agent market. Castro would also fill the veteran presence in the clubhouse and he could split catching time with Joseph.
However, catchers are hard to come by this year, and many teams are looking to fill the hole behind the plate.
Still, the Orioles need veteran catching depth and they’re not going to get it from Wieters.
Oct 7, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers center fielder Ian Desmond (20) hits an RBI sacrifice ground ball against the Toronto Blue Jays during the eighth inning of game two of the 2016 ALDS playoff baseball series at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
NAME: Ian Desmond
FORMER TEAM: Texas Rangers
WHY: First of all, it’s fair to say Ian Desmond is not Mark Trumbo. He didn’t hit over 40 home runs in a single season and he didn’t exactly take Major League Baseball by storm.
With that said, Desmond did have quite a year in left field, hitting .285/.335/.446 with 22 home runs and 86 RBIs. Desmond also had a 2.7 WAR, signifying his value with the Rangers.
So why would the Orioles want Ian Desmond? Because the Orioles want a left-handed power-hitting corner outfielder. The only thing that may deter the Orioles from actually acquiring Desmond is his price tag. A legit power-hitting outfielder is going to cost some money.
Oct 22, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Josh Reddick (11) advances to first base on an error against the Chicago Cubs during the second inning of game six of the 2016 NLCS playoff baseball series at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
NAME: Josh Reddick
FORMER TEAM: Oakland Athletics / Los Angeles Dodgers
WHY: Josh Reddick was one of the many free agents who found himself on two teams during the 2016 season. And surprisingly, Reddick performed better in the American League than the National League.
Reddick has some power, hitting 10 home runs while driving in 37 with time split between the Athletics and the Dodgers. While he wouldn’t be the power hitting outfielder the Orioles are looking for, he does *snap* get on base (Yes, that was a Moneyball reference. No, I’m not ashamed I used it).
Reddick’s OBP was a career high .345, which was 12 points higher to his .333 OBP the year prior.
The Orioles need players to get on base and score runs. That’s something Reddick can bring to the table should the Orioles sign him.
Jun 27, 2016; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) is congratulated in the dugout after scoring against the Texas Rangers during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
NAME: Brett Gardner
CURRENT TEAM: New York Yankees
WHY: The Orioles used Adam Jones as their prototypical lead-off hitter for most of the 2016 season. While it worked then, the Orioles have to find a real lead-off hitter for the future.
Not only is Brett Gardner one of the best lead-off hitters in baseball, he’s also an left-handed outfielder, which is an added bonus.
Gardner had a 3.4 WAR in 2016 and walked away with both a Rawlings Gold Glove Award and a Wilson’s Defensive Player Award for Left Field. Gardner and the Orioles almost seems like the perfect marriage, except there’s one thing in the way; the New York Yankees.
The Yankees don’t make trades with teams in their division, and if they did it, they’re extremely minor. It’s also important to mention the Yankees want top prospects in return for Gardner, and the Orioles don’t exactly have the prospects to complete the deal.
Also, the Yankees would be interested in keeping Gardner because none of their outfield prospects are ready to take over left field.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to check in, especially since Gardner has a very team-friendly contract; he’s slated to make $12.5 Million in 2017.
Aug 20, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds left fielder Adam Duvall hits a three-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
PLAYER: Adam Duvall
CURRENT TEAM: Cincinnati Reds
WHY: Adam Duvall wouldn’t exactly be a perfect fit for the Orioles, since he hits right-handed versus the Orioles wanting a lefty. However, Duvall has an identical OPS vs. right handed pitching and left handed pitching (.795).
On the Reds side, it would be a compelling discussion on whether to trade Duvall. Even though he’s 28, he’d be one of the oldest players on the roster and like the Yankees, the Reds are trying to get younger and are in rebuilding mode.