Sep 28, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts (1) is congratulated by J.J. Hardy (2) after hitting a solo home run in the third inning against the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles Offseason Challenges

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Before talking about the Orioles and the ways by which Dan Duquette, Buck Showalter, and the Birds’ brass will seek to improve the team this winter, let me first welcome you to this brand new web page focused on all Baltimore sports.

I am coming into this new position as editor for “The Baltimore Wire” having been most recently a staff writer for FanSided’s Orioles page, “BirdsWatcher.” My thanks go out to Domenic Vadala and colleagues there – wishing them the best, as we are truly partners together for the advance of the awesome FanSided Network … AND … great reporting on the Orioles.

So, while warm-hearted toward the Ravens and the Terps (our other primary areas of focus), I’m first and foremost a baseball guy. Nate Wardle, another of our charter member writers, is likewise the same. This means we are REALLY going to have a lot of Orioles talk on this page … so bring in all your baseball friends to follow us.

Notes on the recently finished GM meetings …

Over the past hour, the Baltimore Sun’s beat writer for the Orioles (Eddie Encina) has been tweeting Dan Duquette’s comments. At first glance they are more aggressive than I believe most folks might expect to hear.

Duquette revealed that the Birds made offers to some free agent pitchers, saying, “Hopefully that will bear some fruit, maybe not this week, maybe next week.”

Along the way, Duquette met with more than half of all clubs to discuss potential trade partner options. He said that there is interest in J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters, though commented that these are core players for the Orioles. Encina specifically quoted him as saying of those two, “It doesn’t surprise me that there’s interest.”

The Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations said, “We’d like to improve our ball club by improving our pitching in particular. We could use an outfielder and some help at DH from the left side.” This is certainly not earth-shattering revelation; but the question is, of course, how to do this.

But again, on the somewhat surprisingly aggressive side, Duquette said, “We’re not focused on extensions right now. We’re focused on adding players to improve our team.”

It would seem to stand to reason that the Orioles are not going to be able, in the long run, to both afford the costs of free agent additions while also paying and keeping the quality core players who have been developed and/or flourished here. Chris Davis is going to need to be paid more and more. The same will be true of another Chris – Mr. Tillman. And then there is the issue of Matt Wieters – whether to hope to extend him after his coming two final years, or trade him now.

These issues are complicated, but it gives guys like me plenty to write about! And for all of us as followers of the team, it sure beats the problems of only a few years ago – where the holes were larger than the surrounding infrastructure.

So it is difficult to read Dan Duquette at any time and parse what he is really saying and thinking. My guess is that if he can land a decent free agent pitcher as a first big step of the off season, that will help define other subsequent decisions.

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Tags: Baltimore Orioles Dan Duquette J.J. Hardy Matt Wieters

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