MLB Offseason Preview: Baltimore Oriolesby Joe Chambers November 17, 2021 1 comment
The 2021 season for the Baltimore Orioles was a tough one. After a great first series against the Boston Red Sox, the season went downhill. Not much was expected of them this past season as they had a 0.0 percent chance to make the playoffs prior to the season starting. Three great things happened for the Orioles this season.
First, John Means had a great first half of the season, and he also captured a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners.
Second, Trey Mancini returned to the team after defeating colon cancer in 2020, and he came in second place in the 2021 Home Run Derby.
Third, Cedric Mullins was an All-Star and a Silver Slugger Award winner.
Mullins breakout season was capped off recording a 30-30. Jorge Mateo was acquired late in the season, but that still was not enough to get the Orioles into contention. Some names testing free agency are Pedro Severino, Matt Harvey, Adam Plutko, Cesar Valdez, Thomas Eshelman, Austin Wynns, and Pat Valaika.
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Pitchers should be the main focus during the offseason. The Orioles’ pitching was rough and ranked at the bottom of the league. The bullpen was the main struggle during the season and hopefully, players like Grayson Rodriguez and D.L. Hall will make their debuts in 2022. Honestly, any help towards the Orioles pitching would be beneficial. In past seasons, they did not sign big-name pitchers, so it looks like Mike Elias is relying on the farm system to produce in upcoming seasons. Dan Duquette did the same thing when he was General Manager.
Keys to the Offseason
As mentioned in the Offseason Strategy, the Orioles bullpen struggled mightily and will need to add some new players this upcoming season. It’s challenging to figure out which players Elias is looking at, but overall the bullpen should be their main concern this upcoming season. If the Orioles do not sign anyone to help the bullpen or their farm system does not produce like fans think they will, this could be another long season for them.
Adding More Infielders
With Mullins being the star outfielder and with Adley Rutschman working his way up to the big leagues, the Orioles need another key infielder besides Mancini. After trading Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop in the 2018 season, they have not had infielders that have put up big numbers. The Orioles might need to look into the trade market to see what potential infielders might be able to help get them more than 60 wins in a season.
Brock Holt, 33, Utility
Holt could be just the infielder the Orioles need. The 2009 ninth-round pick has the experience that the Orioles could use. He had a great fielding percentage of .978 in 2021 while playing third base. Holt has recently played for the Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, and the Milwaukee Brewers. Since his last contract was for one year, $1,75 million, the Orioles could sign him for a reasonable amount. At 33 years old, he still has a couple more years left to play ball.
Alex Blandino, 29, Third Base
Blandino is another potential option for the Orioles. The Stanford product only appeared in 43 games with 82 plate appearances for the Cincinnati Reds in 2021 due to breaking his hand in June. With the Reds recently outrighting him to Triple-A Louisville Bats, the Orioles should consider the former first-round pick. His contract was for $573,000 and with the Orioles not spending too much money on players, Blandino seems like he would be a great fit in Baltimore with the team.
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