Reporting Jerry Coleman
After another winning season, the Orioles front office has many issues to address, such as what they are going to do with 2B Brian Roberts after his contract is up. Another issue is deciding whether the organization wants to extend Chris Davis’s contract. Those are just a few points of emphasis that Manager Buck Showalter and Executive of Baseball Operations will be talking about the next several weeks. Davis is under team control through 2015, so the organization could wait, or choose to sign him to a long-term deal. He has made it clear he wants to stay in the “Orange and Black “.
Showalter and VP Dan Duquette will certainly be busy and have many important decisions ahead of them. Right now is shut down time for the players and the organization which means they can take a little bit of a break before they start their offseason schedule. As he said to 105.7 The Fan, Duquette made it clear that he was not thinking too much about the off-season just yet, “That’s a little early for that, but you know, we have made clear our intention to keep the core group together,” He said. “And we’ll try to do that this off-season.”
Another factor will be the money that the franchise is willing to spend this offseason, not only on free agents, but in-house as well. Being able to keep the nucleus together is essential for the club and something that the brass is aware of. Says Duquette, “The core players have put together performances that will earn them significant raises. Last year, I think those raises were over $22 million.”
One of those key pieces that will hope to be here in 2014 will be closer Jim Johnson, who is the only Oriole to ever post two 50-save seasons. The Orioles will likely tender his contact since he would be eligible for free agency after 2014. “Obviously I want to be here and I would hope they want me here, I have said before, I would rather be part of the solution then part of the problem,” Johnson said.
The organization will also have to decide if they want to bring back 2B Brian Roberts back for another year. If they decide to not re-sign him it would free up some money for them to lock up others. That includes Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and Johnson. All 3 are the pressing key players that need to stay. It would also allow utility man Ryan Flaherty to take control of the second base position and give him a shot to continue to improve offensively. Robert’s understands that there is business side to the game of baseball, but he would enjoy being in an orange and black in 2014. “I am going to just let the process play out, and know that whatever happens I have had an incredible time here one way or the other, whether it ends now, or ends a year from now, there is defiantly no regrets for me.”
As the lights went out at Camden Yards on another winning season, there are moves to be made and aspects to improve on this offseason in order to be a better team next year. The brass of the Orioles will have to make those decisions, and have to do what is best for the team because now that the players are in place, the O’s have proven to be a consistent contender.