Hello? Anybody home in Baltimore? The Ravens can’t close out fourth quarters and the Orioles have disappeared in free agency this offseason, which was perhaps the best opportunity for them to supplement their stellar young core. New York Yankees fans aren’t complaining, though.
The O’s have seemingly bailed out the Yanks as well as the AL East by failing to make any notable additions this far. They still had a chance as late as this week with Carlos Rodon, Dansby Swanson, Andrew Benintendi, Justin Turner, Michael Brantley, Nathan Eovaldi and JD Martinez (as well as some decent relievers) still available, but now more than half of those guys are gone and they’ve let so many other attainable assets sign elsewhere, seemingly without a fight. That doesn’t suggest they’re ready to strike, does it?
Baltimore has spent $10 million in free agency as of Tuesday. That money went to pitcher Kyle Gibson, who’s no longer really relevant. The O’s have just $44 million committed to their 2023 payroll, so it’s unclear what they’re waiting for.
It’s possible guys like Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Jacob deGrom, Justin Verlander and Brandon Nimmo preferred to sign elsewhere, but what about lesser names such as Mitch Haniger, Chris Bassitt, Tyler Anderson, Jose Quintana and Ross Stripling?
The Orioles are in dire need of starting pitching, so perhaps we can forgive them for not throwing money at a position player yet (though it’d be a travesty if they didn’t come away with a shortstop, perhaps their most glaring vacancy). We might ask why they didn’t consider the one-year flyer on Cody Bellinger and somehow squeeze him into the picture, though.
The Orioles are bailing out the Yankees with their lack of spending
This was supposed to be the offseason for the Orioles to capitalize. They finished 83-79 in 2022, which was the first time they were above .500 since 2016. And they largely did it with an influx of top prospects who either panned out or proved they’re on the path to do so. And so far the Rays have out-spent them by $30 million.
Bringing an ace-like pitcher and a star shortstop into the mix would’ve made the Orioles a legitimate playoff contender and perhaps an outside threat to win the AL East depending on what the Yankees do the rest of the way. New York retaining Judge was huge, but they still have ways to go in order to separate themselves from the pack.
At the very least, the Orioles could’ve involved themselves in the bidding for second-tier free agents to better round out their roster, or even for someone like Rodon just for the sake of driving the price up for the Yankees, who are heavily involved with the left-hander.
Instead, nothing but crickets as the options continue to dwindle while the rest of the division lags behind too. The Jays, though they signed Chris Bassitt, offloaded Teoscar Hernandez, an All-Star-caliber bat, for bullpen help. The Red Sox lost a franchise cornerstone and have made all the wrong additions. The Rays have only signed Zach Eflin. It’s not like anybody’s been making earth-shattering moves.
The O’s can still finish strong, but they’re last out of the gate and need a hell of a comeback around the turn to make it race.