Well, the magic that has been part of the Baltimore Orioles season seemed to disappear in one short week. This was a team built around the long ball, which proved out to be its downfall. Kansas City won the four games by a total of only six runs and the Baltimore bats just weren’t there in the end run.
It’s too early to figure out what direction this team will go in the off-season, but we should take another look at their outfield and just what might happen here… now
- One must anticipate that the Orioles will now decline on the option for the services of the soon-to-be 31-year old OF Nick Markakis, making him a free agent in 2015. His $15.35mil 2014 salary was quite a healthy chuck of the team’s $107.5mil and one has to wonder if this kind of money could be more wisely spent by spreading it out in both the trade and free agent market.
- Additionally, OF Nelson Cruz will most probably test the free agent market after leading the American League in home runs. Cruz said all the right things at the end of the series… about loving the team and wanting to stay… but everyone knows he wants a big multi-year deal and it’s hard to believe that’s going to happen now. The team is expected to make him a qualified offer but it may not hack it again for the slugger.
- And lastly, OF/DH Delmon Young will also be looking for a new home, though some feel the exiting of both Markakis and Cruz could help find a new Orioles contract cross his desk.
- Only OF Adam Jones ($17.33mil through 2018) seems guaranteed a starting outfield spot next season.
- Steve Pierce (338-AB, .293, 21-HR, 49-RBI, 930-OPS - $850K/ARB-2) has been the real bonus for this team and should join Jones as one of the two starting outfielders in 2015.
- Past that, prospect Francisco Peguero (AAA: .273) and 5th outfielder Alejandro De Aza (82-AB, .293) could step up.