The American League East appears to be as strong as always this year, but the Orioles have something to look forward to despite their last place 24-29 record. Orioles people are saying they’ll have significant money to spend after the season, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. Manager Buck Showalter wants a first baseman who can hit in the middle of the order and Prince Fielder may be the team’s top target, according to Knobler.
When MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes examined the team’s contract issues, he estimated that the Orioles could have over $18MM to spend on 2012 salaries without raising payroll (before accounting for players earning the MLB minimum). Derrek Lee, Baltimore's current first baseman, hits free agency after the season, so a need will emerge barring a trade or a surprise performance from a minor leaguer (2010 minor league player of the year Joe Mahoney has been on the DL twice and has limited experience above Class A).
President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail and the rest of the front office will have multiple needs to address and Fielder figures to be looking for at least $22MM per season on a multiyear deal, since that’s similar to what Mark Teixeira and Adrian Gonzalez obtained. It’s worth noting that the O’s expressed some interest in Teixeira when he hit free agency after the 2008 season (though the first baseman later said their bid didn’t compare with his other offers).