The Baltimore Orioles have been attempting to fill holes during the 2016-17 offseason.
They have added catcher Welington Castillo to the fold, presumably to be the stop gap for prospect Chance Sisco. However, they do have a few holes to fill according to Mark Polishuk of MLB Trade Rumors, who listed them as such:
- Right Field: With a Hyun Soo Kim/Joey Rickard platoon planned for left field, the Orioles have considered several free agents and trade targets for the right field slot. This doesn’t necessarily have to be an everyday option, as the O’s could form another platoon out of a new addition and one of Christian Walker, Aneury Tavarez, Adam Walker or Dariel Alvarez. With rookie Trey Mancini in line for a significant amount of DH at-bats, however, the Orioles may hesitate at allotting quite so much playing time to inexperienced youngsters.
- Designated Hitter: While the O’s are high on Mancini, it makes sense to add a veteran who can at least serve as a platoon partner should Mancini not be ready for prime time. Baltimore has been linked to free agents like Chris Carter or Pedro Alvarez for DH duties, though ideally, Mancini’s DH partner would also be able to handle playing a corner outfield role, so two needs could be addressed at once.
- Left-Handed Hitter: If the Orioles do add another bat, some left-handed pop would be preferable to add balance. Kim and Chris Davis are the only left-handed hitters projected to get regular playing time in the current Baltimore lineup.
The Orioles definitely need to add a right fielder. The players that the Orioles currently have in the fold at the position are just not cut out for ample playing time in the Majors. They have taken looks at outfielders like Ángel Pagán and Rajai Davis, players who have a great deal of speed. Something the Orioles definitely do not have a lot of and could use more of in 2017.
With that being said, Baltimore is in dire need of adding a left-handed bat to the lineup. They have many right-handers who are very capable, but Buck Showalter likes the idea of a balanced lineup for optimal matchups. Pagán makes the most sense because he’s a switch-hitter. He wouldn’t need to be replaced in the lineup against left-handed pitchers and he’s had the most success as a hitter out of the two options. With a career slash line of .280/.330/.418 over 11 seasons, Pagán easily fits the bill for both #1 and #3.
As for the designated hitter spot, the Orioles could possibly go in the fiscally conservative direction and re-sign Alvarez, or they could re-sign Mark Trumbo. If one comes in, it’s almost foregone conclusion that the other will not return if Baltimore gets better in the outfield. Trumbo isn’t a very good outfielder and Alvarez can’t play the outfield. In that case, it is imperative that the Orioles sign an outfielder first before figuring out their designated hitter position.
The Orioles also should look at bolstering one of the best bullpens in the league by adding a left-handed reliever. T.J. McFarland had a down season in 2016, pitching to a 6.93 ERA. Baltimore is possibly interested in Boone Logan, who has previous experience pitching in the AL East.
It’s only 42 days until pitchers and catchers report. I believe that we’ll see many more moves closer to then.