Come in out of the cold and mosey up to the bar. All drinks today are $1.22, in honor of Joe Flacco's consecutive games streak that will be halted next week. This is when it pays off to be a full Baltimore sports bar and not just an Orioles one – no one wants to pay $26.32 for one drink.
Anyway, drown your sorrows over a Ravens win that seems to be another gut-punching loss. And talk Orioles with me.
In today's version of the bar, we are spitballing outfielders. In case you haven't noticed, the Orioles need a few. Adam Jones' body told him it would quit if it were again asked to cover as much as ground as was required last year.
The Orioles' cadre of right and left fielders in 2015 was an absolute mess, playing sub-par defense and providing almost no offense. The Orioles had 10 starting left fielders and 11 right fielders and no one started 40 or more games at either spot (that's just a quarter of the season, folks. Consider Jones started 134 games in center and he was banged up for much of the second half).
The club has six outfielders on its 40-man roster: Jones, Nolan Reimold, David Lough, Dariel Alvarez, Henry Urrutia and Junior Lake. Frankly, Jones is the only one guaranteed a spot on next year's Opening Day squad.
And that's why every time a potentially available outfielder is mentioned in the local and national media, expect the Orioles to be connected. Whether it's re-signing their own guys (Gerardo Parra, Steve Pearce and Chris Davis, who is technically an outfielder, too) free agents (Alex Gordon, Nori Aoki, Dexter Fowler, Yoenis Cespedes), trade chips (Jay Bruce, Carlos Gonzalez) or somewhere in between (L.J. Hoes, Ah-seop Son), the Orioles could be a fit.
They could be a fit because they need outfielders. And they are going to talk to everyone to try and fill those holes. It's really that simple.
Frankly, outfield stars on the trade block probably can be dismissed. Yes, the Orioles had interest in Cincinnati's Jay Bruce last year and the need is stronger now. And according to ESPN.com, the Orioles are not one of the teams on Bruce's no-trade list.
But the Reds aren't going to just help the Orioles for fun (this isn't 1965). They would want a significant haul of young players back in return. And, read this slowly to let it sink in, the Orioles don't have many – if any – prospects that could land a Bruce type. First baseman Trey Mancini has gotten some nice accolades in the past year, but he's just really getting onto the national prospect radar (and the Reds already have Joey Votto at first).
No one else is even close to being a blue-chipper. Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey are huge health risks. Chance Sisco and Jomar Reyes are raw. Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright are supplemental pieces, a nice third or fourth option, not trade-clinchers for an established star.
Basically, if the Orioles are going to trade for an outfielder this winter, they'll only have enough inventory to get a mid-level big leaguer, think Travis Snider 2.0. And they might not even be able to get that much considering how many young players they have traded away recently coupled with years of suspect drafting.
So to really improve their outfield, the Orioles are going to have to spend. And though they could add a few free agents, I don't see them outbidding suitors for a Cespedes or Gordon, even if Davis signs elsewhere.
That's the reality of the situation, but we are in a fake bar. You are allowed to use your imagination. If you could get one outfielder to put in Camden Yards next year – someone who has at least a chance of being available -- who would it be?
I'd initially say bring back Davis, because his power can't be replaced. But, if that happens, Davis will play first in Baltimore. So, for me, my one outfielder to absolutely, positively pursue is Ben Zobrist. Not because he is a great defensive outfielder, but because he is so versatile he can play wherever needed. And the gritty veteran shouldn't be a bank-breaker.