Count ’em with me. The Orioles have nine pending free agents:
- Alexi Casilla
- Scott Feldman
- Jason Hammel
- Nate McLouth
- Michael Morse
- Brian Roberts
- Francisco Rodriguez
- Chris Snyder
- Tsuyoshi Wada
Even if the O’s don’t make a big free agent splash or trade this offseason (I don’t think they will), their front office will certainly be staying busy. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun caught up with Orioles GM Dan Duquette who says they haven’t even started negotiating with anyone in that list above.
The Orioles will have a five-day exclusive period with their own free agents that begins as soon as the World Series ends, which will be either Wednesday or Thursday. During that time, they also have to make a decision on picking up 2014 options for Wada and Casilla. The Orioles are expected to decline both.
Also, Duquette said he is not currently involved in any significant trade talks with other teams — but, again, the offseason isn’t even a month old until Tuesday.
“We haven’t had many discussions in the trade market,” Duquette said. “So far, we are in the preliminary discussion in that phase of the market.”
To quickly prioritize it for Duquette, I’d say Nate McLouth should be atop the free agent todo list. He’s earned a multi-year deal for his play with the Birds both in left field and in the lineup (.261/333/.409 in 201 games with Baltimore).
Pitching is of the utmost importance for the Orioles, Scott Feldman will certainly earn more this offseason than the one-year, $7 million deal he signed with the Cubs, but he was the O’s best trade acquisition (4.27 ERA, 65/31 K/BB in Baltimore) and should be brought back in 2014.
I’m not entirely sold on Jonathan Schoop at second base yet, at least not for 2014, so I would re-sign Roberts and/or Casilla to play second base. Both would come cheap.
Guys like Wada, Rodriguez, and Morse will likely be shown the door.