In the past five days since the end of the World Series, free agents were able to negotiate only with their 2015 clubs, but this morning the market is officially open to all teams. Free agents are now free to negotiate and sign with any team.
While the Orioles will focus on upgrading their starting pitching this offseason, they must also address a major void in the outfield.
Take away franchise cornerstone Adam Jones and the outfielders currently on the Orioles' 40-man roster are Dariel Alvarez, Junior Lake, David Lough, Nolan Reimold and Henry Urrutia.
That's a pretty underwhelming group, and Lake, Lough and Reimold will enter next season out of minor league options. Alvarez and Urrutia have yet to make an impact in limited opportunities at the major league level.
Alvarez has the most upside of the group, so this is probably the season the Orioles take a long look at what he can do at the major league level. But the Orioles will need help from the outside to improve this outfield mix.
Last season's patchwork approach to building the outfield – which included experimenting with Alejandro De Aza, the trade for Travis Snider and the re-signing of Delmon Young (all three were designated for assignment) – will likely be a lesson that the Orioles can't clog the roster with platoon players. They need an established contributor to boost the corner-outfield spots.
Aside from the pool of starting pitchers, outfield might be the deepest free-agent position out there this hot stove season. So whether it's making a run at a long-term deal with a player like Alex Gordon or Ben Zobrist or Dexter Fowler or retaining Steve Pearce and/or Gerardo Parra or signing a lesser-known player like Nori Aoki or David Murphy, the Orioles need to make the outfield a place of priority this offseason.
-- Dylan Bundy drew the spotlight in Friday's Arizona Fall League game, but Orioles minor leaguer Tanner Scott continued to impress with his outing.
Scott, the Orioles' sixth-round draft pick in 2014, pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the Peoria Javelinas. His fastball was 97-99 mph as he struck out two and walked two.
Four of his five fall league outings have been scoreless. He has allowed two runs on five hits over five innings overall, striking out six and walking three.
The 21-year-old left-hander was 4-3 with a 3.83 ERA in 18 games (three starts) between short-season Single-A Aberdeen and Low-A Delmarva.
Scott definitely has some fans within the Orioles organization, and given his exemplary stuff, he could move through the minor league system pretty quickly.
-- In the same game, Old Mill High School product and Orioles draftee Josh Hader threw three scoreless innings for Glendale, allowing just one hit while striking out four.
Hader, who was dealt to the Houston Astros in the 2013 trade deadline deal that netted right-hander Bud Norris, is now one of the Milwaukee Brewers' top prospects after he was included in the Carlos Gomez trade.
Hader, the Orioles' 19th-round pick in 2012, has allowed just one run in 10 fall league innings, striking out 13 along the way. His fastball reached 95 mph on Friday. He posted 119 strikeouts in 104 innings at the Double-A level this past season.
-- While we're talking about the Arizona Fall League, two Orioles minor leaguers, outfielder Mike Yastrzemski and left-handed reliever Donnie Hart, were selected to participate in the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars game today in Surprise, Ariz.
Most Orioles fans know about Yastrzemski, who made the jump from Low-A to Double-A in 2014, but they might not know much about Hart, a sidearm reliever who was the Orioles' 27th-round selection out of Texas State in 2013.
This past season, the 25-year-old Hart made the same jump that Yastrzemski made in 2014, opening the season at Delmarva, moving through High-A Frederick before finishing the season at Double-A Bowie.
After being the primary closer with Delmarva, Hart spent most of the 2015 season with Frederick, going 5-1 with a 1.03 ERA over 35 relief innings. Eleven of his 27 appearances for the Keys were more than one inning, including six of two or more innings.
Hart was roughed up in his last fall league outing, allowing two runs in one inning Wednesday. But before then, he had allowed just one run over 6 1/3 relief innings, posting a 1.42 ERA while striking out seven and walking just one.
Stats aside, he's one of the club's more intriguing minor league arms because of his delivery alone. His sidearm delivery is comparable to Darren O'Day's but from the left side. Left-handed hitters batted just .095 (4-for-42) against him at Frederick as he posted 13 strikeouts and just one walk.
Hart still has to establish an out pitch to be successful, but he's definitely a reliever to keep an eye on in 2016. The Orioles showed this past season that they're not afraid to pluck unconventional relief arms from Double-A when they recalled sidearmer Mychal Givens from Bowie.