The Baltimore Orioles had high hopes for 2017, but they finished well out of the race in the American League East. They weren’t even that close for a wild card spot either. After going 89-73 in 2016, they were supposed to again be in playoff position but it simply didn’t pan out that way. They still won 75 games, which isn’t bad, but in the American League East, that landed them in last place.
There were trade rumors swirling around Manny Machado, among others, and that’s going to continue unless they start to play well again. The 2018 season is going to be a very big year for the Orioles as they could be in the mix to make some big moves if things fall apart by the trade deadline. It is going to be a very interesting year for manager Buck Showalter and the Orioles as he could be one of the “moves” that the franchise decides to make.
2017 Season Recap
The Orioles were 75-87 last season, which put them in last place in the American League East, 18 games behind Boston and they were 10 games out of the wild-card race. The Orioles were 50-35 as a favorite last season, but just 25-52 as an underdog and they were $-1271 when it came to being profitable. The Orioles were solid at home last season, going 46-35, but they were terrible on the road, going 29-52 and they were just 8-12 against the National League in interleague play. Finally, they were 80-78-4 when it comes to the over/under standings.
What Went Wrong
As per usual, pitching was the problem for the Orioles, who were 27th in ERA at 4.97, 27th in WHIP at 1.45, tied for 27th with 61 quality starts and 28th in batting average. Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman were their best starters and while they are fine, young pitchers, they’re not going to be the top two starters on a playoff team. Brad Brach and Zach Britton combined for 33 saves and converted a decent amount, but the Orioles had just 52 save opportunities, which was 26th in the majors. The starters weren’t good enough and they failed to give the bullpen a chance, and it is usually the other way around.
At the plate, the Orioles were a power team (again, as usual) as they were 27th in on-base percentage at .312. Machado had an awful start to the season and didn’t really warm up until June, and the Orioles need him to be good from the start to keep trade rumors at bay. Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis had low averages, even though the Orioles did manage to finish eighth in the majors in that category. The Orioles’ power hitters weren’t good enough throughout the season and if you’re going to be a power-hitting team, that is a problem, especially a team that is going to give up a lot of runs on the other end.
What Went Right
Machado did eventually end up having a good season with 33 home runs and 95 RBIs, although his .259 average needs to be improved and the Orioles are reportedly discussing whether or not to move him to shortstop. Adam Jones continues to be an excellent player at the plate and on the field, and he is a leader for the Orioles. The emergence of Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop was probably the best thing to happen to the Orioles last season as Mancini hit .293 with 24 home runs and 78 RBIs out of left field, and Schoop hit .293 with 32 home runs and 105 RBIs at second base. Schoop had 15 errors to lead the team, but that is something that the Orioles will take. With them playing well, the Orioles can maybe dangle Trumbo or Davis’ power for an arm sometime this season, or maybe before the season even starts. The Orioles have a good lineup at the plate, it just needs to be a little better unless their pitching drastically improves.
Key Free Agents
The big free agents at the plate for the Orioles are Wellington Castillo and Seth Smith, and Castillo will likely be gone after turning down a $7 million option to search for a long-term deal at 30 years old. Smith made $7 million last year and could return to his left-field spot at 35 years old because he likely isn’t getting a long-term deal anywhere. Jeremy Hellickson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Chris Tillman are all free agents as starts, and Tillman almost definitely won’t be back. Hellickson is probably a better bet to be re-signed than Jimenez, but really, what would be the point for the Orioles, who know what they’re getting with both pitchers. While he isn’t a free agent, Britton is a very interesting player for the Orioles as there are rumors that they’re entertaining trade offers for him and remember, this is a closer who saved 37, 36 and 47 games between 2014-2016. They could get something good for him, and this might be the time to see what they can get; Britton’s trade value will never be higher.
Where They Need To Find Help
Obviously, pitching is where the Orioles need to start and the rumors are swirling that they’re going to make a play for Lance Lynn, who was 11-8 with a 3.43 ERA for St. Louis last season. He wants a long-term deal with a lot of money and quite frankly, the Orioles might not be in a position to be very picky. Yu Darvish will be a free agent as well and his value might have gone down a bit after he was shelled by Houston in Game 7 of the World Series, and also, it is difficult to predict if there will be any long-term repercussions from that loss for Darvish. Doug Fister and C.C. Sabathia have also been kicked around as possible free agents for the Orioles, but Sabathia will likely stay with the New York Yankees. At the plate, the Orioles don’t need a whole lot of help, but it would be nice if they could find someone who could get on the basepaths, and then steal a base or two. The Orioles were dead last in the league in stolen bases as Machado led the team with nine, so that would be something that they could work on, whether it is in the free-agent market or in their farm system.
The 2017 MLB season has come to a conclusion as the Houston Astros were crowned champions. The 2018 World Series futures are already posted, so if you’re looking at betting lines, click here to bet on MLB (or any other sports) at BetDSI!
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