The Orioles took a major step forward last season, and now general manager Mike Elias has declared their rebuild over.
“I believe that our rebuild is behind us. We’ve got an incredible chance now to be a very, very competitive team for years,” Elias told reporters, including Rich Dubroff of BaltimoreBaseball.com.
That team will depend on the performance of it’s young core, led by Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson and soon to include Grayson Rodriguez. Yet while the team is stocked with exciting young talent Orioles fans may have some reason to feel a little disappointed by the team’s modest acquisitions in the off-season thus far.
They’ve so far brought in starters Kyle Gibson and Cole Irvin, added reliever Mychal Givens, infielder Adam Frazier and catcher James McCann. While that group can all help the Orioles it’s not the splashy addition some might have been hoping for as the O’s look to compete in the tough AL East, yet Elias isn’t ruling out further additions by trade or in free agency.
“There are quality free agents remaining. We’re staying in touch in them. We’re still pursuing opportunities. There are some players on the free-agent market that interest us,” Elias said.
Given the dwindling options in free agency, it’s likely any signing would be more of a depth piece rather than an impact player. Baltimore was connected to free agent starter Michael Wacha throughout the off-season, but the addition of Irvin would seemingly make any more rotation additions unlikely. They’ve also been reported to be in the market for a defensive-minded outfielder.
Here’s a couple more notes from the AL East:
- Sticking with the Orioles to begin with, Elias says there are 12 players in the mix for the starting rotation come Opening Day. Gibson and Irvin are locks, while Elias has already said he expects top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez to make the team’s rotation out of camp, so that’d leave nine players competing for the final two spots. One of them will be prospect DL Hall, with Elias saying he’ll have a chance to compete for a rotation spot in the spring. Hall came in at 84th on Keith Law’s recently published top-100 prospect list. He did get a brief cup of coffee in the big leagues last year, but it’s possible the Orioles look to keep him at Triple-A at least to begin the season.
MLBTR’s Steve Adams took a deeper look at Baltimore’s rotation options recently, but other candidates include Kyle Bradish, Dean Kremer, Tyler Wells, Austin Voth and Spenser Watkins.
- The Red Sox won’t be aggressive in seeking further upgrades to their roster, but they are at least keeping the door open to making a move, particularly in the middle-infield, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said the team likes the group they’ve got, so it seems likely that further moves would be minor league deals or bench pieces. Enrique Hernandez and Adalberto Mondesi are slated to handle the bulk of the middle-infield reps in 2023, with Christian Arroyo the top option off the bench.