The Orioles were right to extend Matt Wieters a qualifying offer even though the plan backfired, writes Rich Dubroff of CSNmidatlantic.com. Dubroff’s wish list for the club includes first baseman Chris Davis, a starting pitcher, and a quality outfielder. He doesn’t expect the club’s payroll to exceed $130MM to $140MM. With about $100MM committed to their current roster, the club has just enough money to pay Davis and one other substantial piece.
- The three-year, $36MM contract signed by J.A. Happ serves to set the market floor for mid-tier starting pitchers, per Dubroff. Possible Orioles targets like Yovani Gallardo, Scott Kazmir, John Lackey, and Jeff Samardzija can expect to earn more than Happ. If the club retains the space to re-sign Davis, then they’re out on any of the top market starting pitchers.
- Dubroff also looks at first basemen past Davis. Several like Chris Parmelee, Kelly Johnson, Travis Ishikawa, Mark Reynolds, and Steve Pearce have already appeared with the Orioles. None would represent a fan-inspiring signing. Should the club fall short on Davis, Dubroff suggests a one-year flyer on Justin Morneau as one alternative.
- While Baltimore may look to free agency for additions, current players need to step up their game too, writes Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com. In particular, J.J. Hardy, Chris Tillman, and Miguel Gonzalez are listed as three players in need of a rebound. Injuries have ruined Hardy’s last two seasons, especially at the plate. Tillman, once a promising pitching prospect, is coming off his worst season since 2011. Gonzalez is entering his age 32 season after posting career worst numbers across the board.