LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - As the Winter Meetings begin today, the Orioles continue to absorb the news that Giancarlo Stanton is going to be a Yankee.
Meanwhile, Boston has won back-to-back division championships and figures to add a big bat of its own. The Orioles have to fill out their rotation, but they may not do it with signings of the top-tier free agent pitchers - and even the second tier may find deals out of the Orioles’ comfort range.
So how to catch New York and Boston under that scenario is the challenge, and it looks very, very daunting.
I interviewed former O’s executive Jim Duquette on Sunday before he co-hosted his radio show for MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM Radio.
I asked him how the Stanton deal impacts the Orioles. Is it possible they transition less from reload mode and more to a rebuilding situation?
He then added an interesting take that trade offers for key Orioles could actually be better in July as the trade deadline approaches.
“The best opportunity most times, if you look over the last couple of years, the trade deadline has been where the prices are the highest,” he said. “This might be one of those to wait until July when you can get the most for these guys. I would certainly take the temperature and see what offers are out there (right now). But in the end, my guess would be the higher price tag is next July.
“It is just the history we have seen the last couple of years. ... The willingness to overpay is usually higher at the deadline more than now. At that point, you don’t have many opportunities to improve your team.”
Duquette did not sound optimistic that the Orioles will be the team to sign either Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn, two of the better available free agent pitchers. He feels that pair could get much more than Tyler Chatwood, who recently signed with the Cubs for three years at $38 million.
“Signings always impact other signings,” Duquette said. “Chatwood is a guy who struggled last year, except for on the road, and his overall numbers are mediocre at best. The Cubs are paying for his potential - not what he did. That pushes the price tag up even for the mediocre pitchers right now.
“I think the one thing the Orioles have always done you can appreciate is they always stay the course. They don’t overreact. I think that (overreacting) is the worst thing to do. You have to stay with you plan.
“I think Lance Lynn is going to end up at around $80 million. That would be far and above what the Orioles have ever paid for a starter. Same thing for Alex Cobb. Those guys are probably off the table for them and you are looking at that next tier, like Jason Vargas, Andrew Cashner, Chris Tillman, Miguel González.”
But then the concern would have to be that a rotation that couldn’t add the first- or second-tier free agents may just not be good enough in 2018.
“If you look at their starting staff, the primary pressure is on (Kevin) Gausman and (Dylan) Bundy, Duquette said. “They have to step up and pitch in the No. 1 and 2 slots. The Orioles don’t make the sexy deals at the Winter Meetings normally with the price tags so high. But in the end, it has worked over the years and that is where the Orioles fans need to be patient. Overspending for some of those guys is an inefficient market.”
“MASN All Access” from the meetings: In addition to following myself and Roch Kubatko, and our reporting and Twitter accounts from the Winter Meetings, remember we’ve got live coverage coming your way today starting at 11 a.m.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, be sure to LIKE and tune in to the “MASN All Access” Facebook page, as we’ll be streaming a show from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. live at the Winter Meetings with the latest Orioles news and all the hot stove rumors surrounding the major leagues. Among today’s scheduled guests is Orioles director of player development Brian Graham.
Also check out a two-hour edition of “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” starting today at 5 p.m. live on MASN.
O’s vice president Dan Duquette was a guest on Jim Duquette’s MLB Radio Network show, “The Front Office,” on Sunday (with co-host Jim Bowden) and they talked about Manny Machado and his future.