I’ve dedicated almost the entirety of the last 5 months focusing wholeheartedly on the Baltimore Ravens, but it’s time to make a shift. With the offseason coming to an end in just a few short weeks, our beloved Orioles are gearing up for what will not only be an incredibly interesting season but also spring training. However, because so much time was spent on the coaching staff and front office, little has been done in free agency to this point. As a result, there are a few holes that GM Mike Elias could look to fill up before the team hits Sarasota. With that in mind, here are a few players I could see the Orioles pursue to fill out their major league squad!
1. Marwin Gonzalez – Utility
This guy is like Ryan Flaherty, except he’s capable of being an everyday player. Gonzalez has experience at every infield position and both corners of the outfield, making him a valuable guy to have on the 25-man roster. What makes him even more intriguing, however, is his career .264 average. That’s something that will play in any lineup, especially something like the Orioles. The thing that I like the most, though, is the possibility that Gonzalez could be considered a valuable deadline day trade chip who could be flipped for prospects come July. That’s a theme that will be consistent throughout this blog.
2. Josh Harrison – 2B
A somewhat similar player, Harrison has been even more productive with the stick but has slightly less versatility in the field. Although this acquisition would create a shocking logjam at the middle infield with Rule-5 selections Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the same time, Harrison was an All-Star just two seasons ago, and his poor season in 2018 could give the Orioles a rare bargain for a two-time All-Star player. Again, if Harrison were able to flick the switch and get back to his old form, Elias would have no trouble shipping him off for potentially strong prospects.
3. Clay Buchholz – SP
In my eyes, the Orioles have 3-4 spots in their starting rotation solidified: Dylan Bundy, Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner are locked in, while David Hess is on the fence. Elias may decide that he’d like to keep the 5th spot somewhat open considering the pitchers who could be called up relatively early in the season, but if he would like to add another veteran arm, Buchholz is an intriguing option. Age is certainly a glaring concern, as he’s in his mid-30s, but Buchholz enjoyed a rare return to form in 2018, going 7-2 with a 2.01 ERA in 16 starts. If he continued to show himself as serviceable, the Orioles could reap the benefits.
4. Ariel Miranda – SP
To stray a bit from players who would likely be brought in under the assumption that they’d be gone by August, I find a familiar Orioles face to be an interesting member of the free agent group. Miranda was traded for Wade Miley in 2016, and in Seattle, he’s been able to find decent success for a smaller prospect. He only made one start in 2018 but was able to maintain a 5.12 ERA – which, may I remind you, wouldn’t be terrible for any other young O’s pitcher who comes up – through 10 starts in 2017. If Elias wants to add depth to compete for the 4 and 5 spots in the rotation, I think Miranda is an arm that could stick.
5. Adam Jones – OF
Jones is the elephant in the room when it comes to free agent players linked to the Orioles. Elias left the door open at Fanfest, though I really find this unlikely. The O’s have a ton of young outfielders who could be given a shot this season, most notably Austin Hays, Yusniel Diaz and Ryan McKenna. At this point, it seems a given that Cedric Mullins and DJ Stewart will be on the Opening Day roster, as well. Where Jones could make himself valuable is as a veteran leader to guide the young bucks as they hit the big leagues. Certainly, this type of signing isn’t unheard of, but I feel that Elias would have made this move by now if he were truly interested in it. For me, this is the type of thing that could go down if Jones’ market is significantly lower than he’d expected – so low that the Orioles find him as valuable as his price tag.