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High early prices in offseason make it likely Orioles will wait it out again

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
Free agency is starting to heat up, and the market makes it likely the Orioles wait it out again.

If one thing has defined the Orioles’ business in recent offseasons, it’s their willingness to wait as long as they need to for the right player to be available at the right price before they make their move.

Given how the market has developed in the early part of free agency this year, they may run more in contrast with the rest of the league than ever before.

Even executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has said this is a thin free agent class, but some of his other instructive comments last week indicate the business they do won’t grab headlines the way the early signings have.

Duquette rightly pointed out that the Orioles did most of their major work last offseason, and as a result don’t have a ton to do this offseason. And he also reiterated what they do have to do may not be early, as the team will wait as long as possible for the right player at the right price to fill their needs at the corner spots of the outfield and catcher.

There’s been a few major pieces of action around the game so far, many including possible Orioles targets, and they all but reinforce the fact that it’s going to be a slow offseason in Baltimore.

In the span of a half-hour on Thursday, the Houston Astros completed a trade for catcher Brian McCann and signed outfielder Josh Reddick to a four-year, $52 million contract. Then on Saturday, the St. Louis Cardinals committed over $30 million for four years to sign left-handed reliever Brett Cecil.

There have been a slew of short-term contracts for some pitchers as well, but some around the game believe the Cecil contract is going to mean all of the relief market is handsomely paid. And as for the outfielders, teams are going to identify the players they want in a relatively thin market, then pounce.

Even if that means there might be some perceived overpays, teams seem poised to get their man if they believe he’ll put them over the edge. And as players fly off the market, don’t be surprised if the Orioles watch and wait for the end of free agency, when prices drop and they might get more of their fit.

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