While the Orioles will make an effort to make competitive offers to their impending free agents, the club’s previously exhibited unwillingness to overpay might lead Chris Davis, Wei-Yin Chen, Matt Wieters and Darren O’Day to new clubs this winter, writes Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The top offers will likely end up surpassing the early, often conservative estimates, and Connolly notes that Chen could conceivably land a five-year deal, while O’Day could get four years. (I personally agree with each possibility, especially the latter.) Davis, meanwhile, could command $150-200MM over a seven-year term, which would shatter the team’s most expensive contract ever (Adam Jones’ $85.5MM deal). While Connolly notes that the Orioles “should” have the money to make strong pushes to retain their free agents, history is not on their side in retaining their top free agents.
A bit more on the O’s and some other Eastern-division clubs…
- MASNsports.com’s Steve Melewski writes that Baltimore is probably caught between a rock and a hard place with Davis; there’s a large outcry among fans to see Davis return after the Orioles failed to re-sign Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis. However, the O’s will eventually want to make a run at locking up Manny Machado and also need to pursue help for the top of the rotation. As Melewski points out, it would seem difficult for the Orioles to sign Davis, extend Machado and bolster the rotation — or even to accomplish just two of those three goals.
- While the Phillies traded many of their former stars over the past calendar year, there was no interest from another club in first baseman Ryan Howard, former president Pat Gillick tells CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. Gillick expressed some surprise that no American League team expressed any interest in swinging a deal for Howard, who despite his contract and platoon issues remains a candidate for part-time DH work. The Phils would, of course, have to eat a huge portion of the $35MM still due to Howard ($25MM in 2016 salary plus a $10MM buyout on his 2017 option), though they were willing to absorb money most of their recent trades of veteran pieces.
- Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post breaks down the Nationals’ roster, outlining the players that exceeded expectations, those that met expectations and those that failed to meet expectations. Most notably, in doing so, Janes points out that Denard Span, Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth were all penciled into the lineup on the same day just twice this season.
- Red Sox president of baseball operations sees more of the Royals in his team than he does the Blue Jays, writes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Put another way, Dombrowski said last week that he feels the Sox have enough power on their roster and is pleased with the team’s overall low strikeout rate (even though a few players do whiff with regularity). As Silverman writes, pitching and defense — specifically the former of those two elements — will be Dombrowski’s primary focus this offseason.