The Orioles have had 16 different players (Parmalee, Davis, Paredes, Flaherty, Pearce, Lough, Reimold, De Aza, Snider, D. Alvarez, Parra, Young, Trumbo, Rickard, Bourn, Stubbs) make an appearance in RF since the departure of Nick Markakis.
That seems outrageous, but trust me, I counted. It’s correct.
Another outrageous stat is that they have finished dead last in the AL in stolen bases for the past three seasons. As a matter of fact, they haven’t cracked the top 10 since 2008 when they were eighth in the league with 81.
It’s also worth mentioning they are on the brink of searching for a new starting catcher for the first time since Rich Hill carried a 7.80 ERA in an Orioles uniform.
Yeah, I went there.
These are just a few issues the front office staff will be tasked with improving in the upcoming months to get this club back to the postseason, and make a deeper run in October. But, don’t expect them to be addressed fully once the free agent market opens after the World Series.
According to Roster Resource, the Orioles are estimated to increase their 2016 payroll by a mere $1M…
…and they have 10 players who are arbitration eligible. Six of which should receive a significant raise in salary.
So don’t expect them to be dishing out multi-year contracts worth millions of dollars anytime soon. There’s too much “future” that needs addressed.
So if not through free agency, they’ll have to take a look at the best of what they have in the minor leagues.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll stick to it all offseason until I’m proven incorrect, but I think Michael Bourn will be the starting right fielder on Opening Day. This would improve the speed around the bases, and could allow Adam Jones to be dropped down to second in the lineup. This would of course eliminate the need to promote Dariel Alvarez at the moment, but don’t rule out Alvarez in right field at some point in the future.
Christian Walker came up with the organization as a first basemen, now converted to an outfielder, however, primarily finds himself in left field. It can pretty much be assumed that the LF platoon between Hyun Soo Kim, and Joey Rickard will be intact in 2017, but don’t sleep on the possibility of the club using Chris Davis in RF, and moving Walker to 1B. It’s been proven multiple times that Davis can play RF.
I never said it was pretty, I just said he can play there.
Trey Mancini looks poised to compete for a spot on the roster this season, and given that the Orioles may not be able to re-sign Mark Trumbo, the chances are increased that he could land on the 25-man come Opening Day. Sure, he probably won’t hit 47 home runs in a season, but he has the potential to make the club better on a nightly basis. If the Orioles don’t re-sign Pedro Alvarez, look for them to give Mancini a serious shot at making this club as their everyday designated hitter.
Finally, in the event of a Matt Wieters departure, who replaces him behind the dish? Of course, the O’s would like Wieters to accept another qualifying offer, but the Boras camp probably won’t put the pen to paper on that for a second year.
Chance Sisco would be considered for sure, however, he may need a little more time for his defensive skills to come around. In 87 minor league games in 2016, Sisco threw out 24% of would be base stealers, but only allowed 4 passed balls. Given that in 2016, Wieters caught stealing percentage was 35%, they would like to see Sisco develop just a little more behind the plate, before making the transition to the majors. His offensive numbers seem to be there though, with a .317/.403/.430 slash line in 426 at bats. Sisco was promoted from double-A Bowie, to triple-A Norfolk on September 1, and went 4-16 with the Tides, while hitting two home runs. It’s also worth noting that Sisco hit .343 vs. right handed pitching last season.
But if the O’s are going to give Sisco more time to develop, who starts on Opening Day?
Yes, I know Caleb didn’t have an RBI all year long but he played in just 49 games this summer and took a crazy hard foul ball to his groin (that required surgery). Couple that with him only having 27 chances with RISP, and we are all aware of how his offensive numbers didn’t stack up to the defensive.
Caleb did throw out 31% of base stealers in his 49 games, and only allowed 2 passed balls. In 2014, when he split time with Nick Hundley behind the plate, he threw out 40.4% of base runners, good for best in the AL.
He’s a suitable replacement.
It’ll be interesting to see how the O’s fill the gaps in the lineup this winter, and how they plan on addressing some others such as if they can find a left handed starter. That seems to be desperately needed in the rotation.
The talk of the play on the field might be over for now, but how this team will improve in 2017 will be discussed everyday.