Baltimore Orioles: The Difficult Road Ahead


Sep 18, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter (26) points to the bullpen as he takes out Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Tyler Wilson (63) during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With Halloween behind, the Christmas shopping season essentially opens. And likewise, with the World Series over, the MLB shopping season for free agents begins. The Baltimore Orioles figure to be active players in this offseason, and while it may be very interesting to watch and follow, it is not going to be easy.

As with all sites covering the Orioles and MLB in general, we have written much about the six Baltimore free agents and their possibilities of … or more specifically, their improbabilities of re-signing with the O’s. Only Buck’s favorite Steve Pearce is given much of a chance of playing again with Camden Yards as his home park. Wei-Yin Chen seems destined for the West Coast, while Matt Wieters is most often thought to be playing in the stadium with that annoying tomahawk chant.

While not known for glowing optimism, I actually think the Baltimore Orioles have a better chance of re-signing Chris Davis than do most other writers. It strikes me as significant that Peter Angeles publically stated he wants to accomplish this. He has to know the public sentiment and residual bad feeling about letting the three big and popular free agents walk away last year … so I’m saying he has to know it is bad for business to let that happen again.

But even if Davis is re-signed, it does not leave a pile of money to accomplish all else that needs to be done. Heck, even if Davis is not re-signed, there is probably not enough money to significantly fill all the holes. This is a sad truth. No matter how you look at it, the current familiar window of what constitutes the Baltimore Orioles as we’ve known them over the past four years is mostly closing.

O’s fans need to understand that the Birds cannot buy their way to a championship. Yes, they need to spend money — more than ever in fact — but even two or three of the very top free agents would not necessarily put the Orioles as World Series favorites. At the end of the day … the season … the Orioles are going to need contributions from a full roster of players.

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There is going to be a need for some younger and inexpensive players to make some major contributions. Of course we can expect such from Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop, but Baltimore needs to see Caleb Joseph continue to improve, along with players perhaps such as Steve Clevenger, Mychal Givens, Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright stepping up to effective roles.

And even beyond this, the Orioles will simply have to have bounce-back seasons from more than a couple of veteran players. Chris Tillman has to pitch at a higher level and Miguel Gonzalez needs to get back to form. Kevin Gausman needs to make a definitive step forward, while Ubaldo Jimenez cannot return to the form of 2014. J.J. Hardy must also put up some significantly betters numbers, while Adam Jones cannot allow production to continue to slip year after year.

Next: Highlights of the Orioles 2016 Schedule

For the Orioles to compete and win in 2016, pretty much everything has to work out and go well for them. There is not a lot of margin for error. The entire roster, whatever it ends up looking like, must contribute. And that is asking for a lot to happen. But it can be done.