For Orioles and rest of MLB, slow start to free agency in November is nothing new

As the baseball world left Orlando, Fla., after the major league general managers meetings this week, the proverbial hot stove was only just beginning to heat up.

As is his wont, Seattle Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto made the offseason's first trade Wednesday (acquiring Oakland Athletics first baseman Ryon Healy for prospects), but otherwise, things around the game are quiet.


Where the Orioles are concerned, this is normal.


Over the past five seasons, the club has gotten major league value from only a few of its November free agents, most recently first baseman David Washington. Washington ended up getting six at-bats in June while first baseman Chris Davis was out with an oblique injury.

In 2015, the Orioles made a slew of early minor league moves, but the most notable was signing first baseman Ji-Man Choi — who was later selected in the Rule 5 draft by the Los Angeles Angels — and trading for outfielder LJ Hoes, who didn't make it out of Triple-A Norfolk that year.

During the 2014 offseason, the Orioles made several minor league moves, but got only 14 games at the major league level from infielder Paul Janish, who stuck around on minor league deals until this August.

Their Nov. 25, 2013, acquisition of reliever Brad Brach from the San Diego Padres might have been the best piece of business the club has done in November under executive vice president Dan Duquette. Brach has gone on to become an All-Star reliever and has had a 2.74 ERA since joining the club.

Second would be the Nov. 28, 2012, trade with the Boston Red Sox for Danny Valencia. The lefty-mashing Valencia hit .304 with an .888 OPS with 23 extra-base hits in 52 games for the Orioles in 2013.

None of this is to say the Orioles are the only club that gets off to a measured start in November.


The month typically has one major wave of minor league free-agent signings that fills out the high minors and provides spring training depth — one the Orioles are liable to make soon, based on precedent — and there's plenty of organizational value in that.