5 Baltimore Orioles’ Storylines to Follow During Spring Training
5 Baltimore Orioles Storylines to Follow During Spring Training
The Baltimore Orioles had a relatively quiet offseason. The Orioles weren't big players in the free-agent market and relied on trades to improve their roster.
The two significant moves that the Orioles made were trading for outfielder David Lough and trading away closer Jim Johnson. Those moves didn't get much attention, but they helped the Orioles. Lough provides the ideal fit to complete the Orioles outfield, while the trade of Johnson freed up some money to spend.
Baltimore did try and make some moves, but things didn't work out. The Orioles were set to bring in Grant Balfour, but a problem with the physical arose and the Orioles parted ways.
The Orioles other additions were mainly players who signed on minor league deals. A couple of those players signed to minor league deals provide intriguing possibilities. Delmon Young and Quintin Berry are a pair of outfielders who have major league experience and could be great additions to the Orioles team if they make the team out of Spring Training.
The Orioles finished 85-77 last year and were a postseason team as a Wild Card in 2012. This season, Baltimore looks to return to the postseason. The Orioles have a strong core of talented players and expectations are high in Baltimore.
Baltimore's lack of moves has created some extra holes that need to be addressed this spring. Here's a look at some of those holes, along with some other storylines to watch during Spring Training.
Catcher Matt Wieters and the Baltimore Orioles have still not settled on a salary for the 2014 season with the start of Spring Training nearing. Wieters is a big part of the organization and the orioles need to get that contract figured out. The Orioles are also looking at a long-term extension with Chris Davis. It has been reported that the Orioles offered a long term extension this offseason, but nothing has come of it. The contracts of these players should be something to watch as Spring Training is about to start.
With the lack of moves this offseason, the Baltimore Orioles have their eye on their top prospects to play important roles. Kevin Gausman is one of the top pitchers in the organization and could play an important role in the pitching staff. The Orioles also have some other pitchers on their 40-man roster, such as Mike Belfiore. Belfiore could be a candidate to pitch out of the bullpen in 2014. Jonathon Schoop is a second-base prospect that is in contention to see quality playing time this year as well. Another prospect to watch is Dylan Bundy. Bundy is the Orioles top prospect, but is recovering from Tommy John surgery. His recovery and the play of the other prospects should be something to keep a close eye on.
3. Manny Machado's Health
The health of Manny Machado is key for the Baltimore Orioles. Machado has blossomed into one of the games brightest talents and the Orioles need him in the lineup. Machado suffered a season-ending knee injury last season and his health is up in the air for the start of the season. it is expected that Machado will be cleared to resume baseball activities soon and that is good news for the Orioles. It will be interesting to see how Machado's recovery this spring goes and if he is ready to go for Opening Day.
2. Who's the Closer?
With the trade of Jim Johnson and the collapse of the Grant Balfour deal, the Baltimore Orioles are without a closer. What the Orioles will do with the position is a mystery. The Orioles could still go out and sign a free agent or they could go with a player currently in the organization. What happens with the position is a big storyline to watch this spring.
1. Filling the Starting Rotation
The Baltimore Orioles have problems with their starting rotation as well, as it is not set. The Orioles have some solid returnees and some top prospects, but there are holes to fill in it. Baltimore has reportedly made an offer to Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon, who could bolster the rotation. It will be interesting to see how the starting rotation unfolds during Spring training.