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Can Baltimore Contend in 2016?

Outside of overpaying Chris Davis, the Orioles have been alarmingly quiet this offseason Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Outside of overpaying Chris Davis, the Orioles have been alarmingly quiet this offseason
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing 81-81 third place finish in 2015, you would think the Orioles would have made a lot more noise so far this offseason. While they have been linked to a few starting pitchers, and were in on Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes, they have been relatively quiet. With the rest of the AL East either making upgrades or getting better by players developing, Baltimore has been sitting on their hands a bit too much.

Offseason so far:

  Losses - Steve Pearce (One year deal with Tampa Bay), Gerrardo Parra (Three year deal with Colorado), Wei-Yin Chen (Five year deal with Miami)

  Additions - Chris Davis (Re-signed), Darren O'Day (Re-signed), Matt Weiters (Accepted qualifying offer), Mark Trumbo (Acquired via trade), Todd Redmond (3.24 E.R.A. in 42 2014 games, 7.31 in 7 2015 games), Hyun Soo Kim (Signed from Korea)

  What they needed - The Baltimore offense is not the best as far as getting on base (24th in baseball in on base percentage), but they do get the job done (9th in runs scored) just fine. Mark Trumbo could have a great season in the Orioles great hitters park, and Kim is expected to provide both power and on base ability. The Orioles main concern this offseason should have been starting pitching, which they have failed to add and also lost Wei-Yin Chen. In 2015, the Orioles starters were 25th in E.R.A. (4.53), 22nd in innings pitched (915.2), gave up the 3rd most homeruns (128), were 20th in strikeouts (715), and 21st in WHIP (1.35). While a lot of their starters did have down years last season, it doesn't change the fact they need to add at least one more arm. Yovani Gallardo would be a perfect fit for them, considering he is a veteran who can give you a lot of innings, can strike guys out (Although that is rapidly declining for him), and gets a lot of ground ball outs. The last two are very important for a team like Baltimore when considering a starter, because when shelling out money for a free agent you have to take into consideration how he fits your park. While Baltimore may have exhausted their money overpaying Davis, I think they need to go out and grab Gallardo. One more big fail of the offseason was not getting a long-term deal with Manny Machado done. Machado is only 23 and one of the best all around third baseman in the game, so there is absolutely no reason Baltimore shouldn't extend him to put some stock in their future. Their money would have been much better spent on him as opposed to a 29 year old hit or miss first baseman (Davis signed for 7 years $161 million). 

So can they contend in 2016? My answer as of right now is yes, but they won't hang around long. While we have seen other teams in the East contend with not the greatest pitching (New York Yankees), I just don't think Baltimore could get into the playoffs with their current roster. Between the current lack of pitching and the hole at shortstop (Seemingly rapidly declining 33 year old J.J. Hardy is no longer your ideal starting shortstop), I just don't see them competing too well with some of the other monsters in the AL East. One, or two possible moves before the Spring could very easily drastically change that, but as of right now they are not a playoff team in 2016. Expect them to contend for the first half, maybe even slightly after, then taper off and fall towards the basement. 


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