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Baltimore Orioles

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Projected WARMarket Value

18.8 169

Lineup

7.2 65

Rotation

3.7 33

Bullpen

Projected WAR by grouping is from Fangraphs’ depth charts.
Historically each win is worth ~$9 million on the free agent market

Projected Team

Lineup
  • Tim Beckham, 3B
  • Jonathan Schoop, 2B
  • Manny Machado, SS
  • Adam Jones, CF
  • Chris Davis, 1B
  • Trey Mancini, DH
  • Colby Rasmus, RF
  • Caleb Joseph, C
  • Alex Presley, LF
Rotation
  • Dylan Bundy, RHP
  • Andrew Cashner, RHP
  • Kevin Gausman, RHP
  • Chris Tillman, RHP
  • Alex Cobb, RHP
Manager
  • Buck Showalter

Health Check

“The Orioles are hardly alone among MLB teams in dragging their feet about the free agents. What makes the Orioles different than those other teams is they didn't have the luxury of waiting around for the bargains. By choosing not to follow through on the winter meeting talks to trade Machado, they effectively committed to trying to compete in 2018.

Yet with that opportunity, what they've done to improve the rotation consists entirely of signing Andrew Cashner, who feels uncomfortably like a regression candidate, and Chris Tillman, from whom they are hoping for a major bounce-back from last year. These certainly do not feel like the moves that are going to set up the Orioles to compete with the titans of the AL East, the Yankees and the Red Sox.

What they've done to improve the rest of the roster is nothing, unless you count moving Machado to shortstop as something. For position players, the "big addition" was non-roster invitee Colby Rasmus, who abruptly stopped playing in the middle of last season.

Beyond that, the Orioles are hoping, in a way that feels foolish, for revivals from last year's slumping sluggers, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo. They do need that to happen.”

—Camden Chat

Key Player

All eyes should be on Manny Machado this season. The obvious reason for this is that when he plays at the level he showed in 2015 and 2016, he's the best player on the team, by far, and it's possible he has another gear even beyond that. There hasn't been an Orioles winner of the Most Valuable Player award since Cal Ripken took one for the second time in 1991. Machado, at his best, could break that streak.

The other reason Orioles fans need to pay attention to Machado is that time is running out for him in an O's uniform. In a year, he will be wherever the team is who opens up the checkbook for what will almost certainly be a $300+ million contract. If the Orioles struggle in the first half of the season, Machado may even get traded before this season is over. By the time July rolls around, every game might be Machado's last for the O's.

For his swan song in an Orioles uniform, the Orioles are moving Machado back to shortstop, the position he played when drafted and in the minor leagues. At least part of the reason behind this appears to be to make sure that the 2018 O's benefit from the most motivated Machado possible, happy in his primary position as he shows the rest of the league what he has to offer before he becomes a free agent.

Machado should bring good, possibly even Gold Glove-caliber defense to the middle of the diamond, with any given ball in play offering the potential to dazzle you in a way that you start to take for granted after you watch him for a while. He's likely going to be good for 35-40 home runs on the season. He is good at just about everything except for making baserunning decisions.

Orioles fans have been lucky to watch Machado for the past six seasons and will have to enjoy him in this final Orioles season while it lasts.

—Mark Brown, Camden Chat

Best Case

A temporal anomaly is discovered in Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and general manager Dan Duquette enters it, only to find himself back in November of 2017. He still has the knowledge of the coming offseason at his disposal, knowledge none of his opposing general managers do, and he uses that to actually sign pitchers — none of whom are Andrew Cashner — who can help the Orioles at prices they can afford, giving them a chance to compete in the AL East or, at least, a wild card in the final season of Manny Machado’s deal.

Worst Case

The temporal anomaly discovered in Oriole Park at Camden Yards isn’t a portal, but instead affects time and space around it, which is why the Orioles’ season feels so long, Adam Jones remains so consistent, and Dan Duquette is stuck in a time loop where he’s never in a position to sign pitchers who could improve the O’s rotation.

Yes, yes, they signed Alex Cobb right before we published, but we’re keeping that joke because it said “pitchers,” plural, and also Cobb is bad now because the Orioles wanted to sign him. That’s just science.