OK, here's what we know about the Orioles' offseason so far.
It hasn’t been pretty. I mean, really not pretty. The most significant addition so far has probably been pitching coach Dave Wallace, but the front office has not added a pitcher to a rotation that Wallace needs to improve for this club to have a fighter's chance in 2014.
Many of the top free agents are off the board. Spring training is looming and this club has taken a step backward in talent from the 85-win version of 2013.
We know the Orioles have money to spend – executive vice president Dan Duquette said he expected the payroll to be around $100 million in 2014 and that means there is still $15 million to $18 million to spend now and stay within Duquette’s projection.
That should be plenty for one of the better players available for 2014 -- in terms of annual salary -- potentially two.
And we know the Orioles have holes: Starting rotation, designated hitter and back end of the bullpen.
Here are the eight players who are widely considered the best still on the market: Starters Bronson Arroyo, A.J. Burnett, Ubaldo Jimenez* and Ervin Santana*, closer Fernando Rodney, outfielder Nelson Cruz*, designated hitter Kendrys Morales* and infielder Stephen Drew*. The five who are marked by an asterisk would cost the Orioles’ their first-round pick (17th overall) in 2014.
We’ve played this game before. But now it is crunch time. Masahiro Tanaka is off the board, and the market is open again.
Pick one guy of the eight who would make you feel better about this offseason. Pick two if that would make you forget the whole Grant Balfour saga.
You aren’t allowed to take three. That just isn’t going to happen in the real world, and I need to keep things as realistic as possible in my fake bar.
For me, I grab Arroyo and Morales. Rodney would be real nice to have, but I think Tommy Hunter could do the closer’s job, if needed. Despite the addition of Delmon Young, I still think the Orioles could use another hitter, and I’d prefer Morales, the switch-hitter.
Frankly, I’d take any of the starters listed, but I don’t think Burnett is pitching in 2014, Jimenez and Santana will cost more than Arroyo, and I’m not sold they’ll be much better.
Drew is on the list because he’s coveted, but the Orioles don’t need a solid defensive shortstop. Although maybe you want him at second base, I don’t know. This is your call.
It has been a rough offseason for Orioles' fans. Can the signing of one or two of the best remaining players save it for you? If so, name him/them?
Daily Think Special: Pick one – maybe two – of the remaining free agents. Or do you think that no one remaining can save the Orioles' offseason?