With a combined 101-223 record over the past two seasons, the Orioles haven’t exactly been the staple of success. In fact, they’re at the beginning of a major rebuild under lead decision-maker Mike Elias, and should have a very quiet offseason. Still, between buy-low signings, extensions, and trading away their remaining assets, they could still have an impact on the offseason- they still should be somewhat active.
Expected Direction: Heavy Rebuild
Orioles Trade INF Jonathan Villar to Marlins
Full Trade: Orioles Trade INF Jonathan Villar To Marlins For LHP Easton Lucas
After putting him on waivers to avoid paying him $10 million in arbitration, the Orioles found a taker for versatile infielder Jonathan Villar, shipping him to Miami for left-handed pitching prospect Easton Lucas. Lucas, 23, was only a 14th round pick for the Marlins in last year’s draft, but immediately exceed expectations by posting a 2.99 xFIP and 11.37 K/9 in 31.2 innings at Low-A. Still, this deal is more of a salary dump than anything, though it’s a little confusing Baltimore didn’t opt to hold on to a player who had a 4 WAR last season in order to try to get a better prospect in a trade during the season- Villar shouldn’t have been “pushed to the curb” like this.
Orioles Trade SP Dylan Bundy To Angels
Full Trade: Orioles Trade SP Dylan Bundy To Angels In Exchange For RHPs Issac Mattson, Zach Peek, Kyle Bradish, and Kyle Brnovich
In a move that appeared to be inevitable, the Orioles have finally traded starting pitcher Dylan Bundy, sending him to the Angels for pitching prospects Issac Mattson, Zach Peek, Kyle Bradish, and Kyle Brnocivh. Mattson, 24, is probably the headliner of this deal, as he posted excellent strikeout and ground ball numbers in the minor leagues last season, and even advanced to Triple-A. Plus, although the 23-year-old Bradish has some control issues, he also had a solid 10.7 strikeout rate in A-Ball last season, while Peak and Bronvich were college arms taken by the Angels in the 6th and 8th round, respectively. There’s a chance that none of these prospects end up turning into much for the Orioles. Still, they’re taking four flyers on young pitchers who do have a chance to be major leaguers, and since there wasn’t much of a market for Bundy anyways, this is a very reasonable return for him.
Orioles Sign RHP Kohl Stewart
Contract Details: One Year, $800K
When you’re a rebuilding team like the Orioles, you should be taking as many flyers as possible. That’s what they’re doing here, bringing in pitcher Kohl Stewart on a split contract that’ll pay him $800K if he makes the majors. Stewart, 25, is a former fourth overall pick for the Twins, but he never panned out for them. In 91 innings in Triple-A this season, he struggled mightily with a 5.22 xFIP and a K-BB ratio less than 2, and in two different stints in the majors, he didn’t fare much better. Then again, perhaps the Orioles see something in him, and either way, he’ll provide them with some innings at a very cheap price- if he does breakthrough in a change of scenery, they’ll control him for six years.
Orioles Sign SS Jose Iglesias
Contract Details: One Year, $3 Million ($3.5 Club Option 2021)
Making their first real addition of the offseason, the Orioles have signed veteran shortstop Jose Iglesias to a one-year, $3 million contract, with a $3.5 million club option for 2021. After settling for a minor-league deal with the Reds last offseason, the 30-year-old Iglesias had a typical season with below-average offense (84 wrc+) and elite defense (8 drs), and this time around, is able to earn a major-league contract. Although he won’t improve Baltimore’s offense by much, the Cuban native’s defense is critical for the Orioles on multiple levels; Orioles pitchers had the lowest strikeout rate last season, and their infield is filled with poor defenders. So, not only does Baltimore upgrade massively at shortstop from Richie Martin Jr., who’ll get much-needed time in the minors, and add a veteran presence, but their pitchers may fare better this season; that’s significant, as they have a few young pitchers that they are hoping to develop in addition to some bounce-back candidates. This is a really good fit for player and team, and it’s nice to see Baltimore make some effort to be competitive next season.
*Will Be Updated With Every Move The Orioles Make