Game 7 of the World Series is set for November 4th and then the fun begins. Five days after the World Series comes baseball's version of the Wheel of Fortune; it's free agency season. It may get ugly in these parts where the Orioles could lose three all-stars and solid lefty Wei-Yin Chen.
Reports predict that slugger Chris Davis could land a 6 year, $144 million deal. Teams like the Braves, Rays, Astros, and Mariners reportedly have catcher Matt Wieters on their radar. Some think Chen could land a 5-year deal that the Orioles wouldn't match and All-Star reliever Darren O'Day is expected to draw plenty of suitors. Oriole outfielders Gerardo Parra and Steve Pierce will also spin the free agency wheel.
The Orioles brass say they're committed to improving the club's starting pitching. If you'd like to buy high, David Price could be had for something like 7 years, $210 million. Zach Grienke will opt out of his Dodgers contract and cash large elsewhere (rival Giants?).
If $150-200 million is too rich for your blood the Royals' Johnny Cueto, the Nats' Jordan Zimmerman, the White Sox' Jeff Samardzjia and Mike Leake of the Giants might look good in Orange and Black. Doug Fister of the Nats, the Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma and Astros' lefty Scott Kazmir will also improve clubs.
Should Chris Davis and Matt Wieters take their bats out of Birdland, the top of the hitting free agent lot includes the Padres' Justin Upton, the Mets' Yoenis Cespedes, Nats' shortstop Ian Desmond, Royals' Mr. "Versatile" Ben Zobrist and Cardinals' outfielder Jason Heyward. You might find right player, right price with outfielders Denard Span, Alex Rios or Astros' post-season star Colby Rasmus.
This might be the Orioles most important off-season in decades. They're likely to lose some popular players how they replace those players will set the course of the franchise for the next 4-6 years and beyond. After 14 dark years of losing, the Orioles have bounced back and are 1 of only 2 American League teams that haven't had a losing season in the last 4 years.
The fans have bought back into the Orioles, this winter we'll find out if the Orioles are buying back into their fans. It's not just the fans who are watching; key players like Adam Jones and Manny Machado want to know if the Orioles are in it to win it. It's almost time to spin the wheel.
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