Orioles general manager Mike Elias spoke to reporters today, including Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, about the team and their future plans for roster construction. (Links from Twitter)
Broadly speaking, Elias said it’s unlikely that the club will be doling out any multi-year contracts. That’s hardly surprising given the state of the franchise. The club has had five straight miserable seasons, finishing in the AL East basement in four of those, only narrowly avoiding the same fate in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign. Last year, they finished 52-110, tied with the Diamondbacks for the worst record in baseball, while their four division rivals each each won at least 91 games. As the club has been firmly committed to the rebuilding process in recent years, they remarkably haven’t given out a multi-year deal since they signed Alex Cobb four years ago.
Moving from what they won’t do to what they might do, Elias said that the club is still looking to add to their shortstop competition. As the roster currently stands, Ramon Urias and Jorge Mateo would likely be the frontrunners for the position. However, each of them has only around 100 games of MLB experience, making it fairly sensible for the club to consider a more seasoned option. Leaving aside Carlos Correa and Trevor Story, some shortstop-capable options on the free agent market include Jonathan Villar, Matt Duffy and Ronald Torreyes.
Elias also added that they could add another pitcher to their starting rotation. The market for starters has been red hot for the entire offseason, both before and after the lockout, with some of the best remaining options being Tyler Anderson, Johnny Cueto and Michael Pineda. There would certainly be room for another arm of that caliber in Baltimore, given that John Means and Jordan Lyles are the only names currently on the depth chart with more than two years of MLB service time. Younger pitchers like Bruce Zimmermann, Keegan Akin, Zac Lowther and Dean Kremer will likely be competing for spots at the back end.
However, there is hope for the future of the rotation, as Elias had this to say about prospect D.L. Hall: “We may see him in the big leagues this year and we may see him quick.” The club’s first round selection in the 2017 draft, Hall has put up impressive numbers in the minors, though he was sidelined this year due to a stress reaction in his elbow, making his last appearance on June 12th. Despite that, he’s still highly regarded by prospect evaluators, being ranked the #72 prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline, #52 by Baseball America and #27 by FanGraphs. After throwing just 31 2/3 innings in Double-A last year, the fact that Elias is so bullish about his debut is surely encouraging news for Orioles fans.