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Five Early Offseason Decisions Orioles Need To Make

November 2, 2017
After a thrilling World Series, the Baltimore Orioles can get serious about their offseason plans. Here are five things on their immediate to-do list.
1. Decide which free agents they want to re-sign
The Orioles have 10 potential free agents: Right-handed pitchers Jeremy Hellickson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Chris Tillman, outfielders Craig Gentry and Seth Smith, infielder Ryan Flaherty and designated hitter Pedro Alvarez are unrestricted.
Left-handed pitcher Wade Miley has a $12 million option that will be bought out for $500,000, shortstop J.J. Hardy a $14 million option that can be bought out for $2 million, and catcher Welington Castillo a $7 million player option for 2018.
The Orioles will decline Hardy and Miley's options, and Castillo is expected to decline his.
None of the free agents will receive an $17.4 million qualifying offer. Hellickson, who received a qualifying offer from the Philadelphia Phillies last season and was traded to the Orioles during the season, is ineligible for one.
2. Prepare offers for arbitration-eligible players
Seven Orioles are eligible for arbitration: third baseman Manny Machado, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, catcher Caleb Joseph, shortstop Tim Beckham, right-handed pitchers Brad Brach and Kevin Gausman and closer Zach Britton.
None are in danger of being non-tendered, but the Orioles must make a contract offer to each by early December.
They'll also have to set their 40-man roster and decide which minor league players should be added to it.
3. Decide who could be extended
Brach, Britton, Machado and center fielder Adam Jones are eligible for free agency a year from now. Schoop has two years before he's eligible, and the Orioles need to decide if they're interested in keeping any of them for the long-term.
According to, Machado could be in line for a $17.3 million contract for 2018, and they'll need to move decisively to see if he is truly interested in the Orioles beyond next season.
Schoop could be easier to sign than Machado, but the Orioles will have to show some signs of urgency.
Manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette also have contracts that will expire a year from now.
4. Get ready to spend some time in Florida
Duquette will attend the general managers' meetings in Orlando, Fla., Nov. 13-14, a precursor to December's winter meetings, which will be held in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The GM meetings are like a small-scale winter meetings. As the free-agent market heats up, Duquette will meet with agents and talk with other team's executives to get a sense of what the free-agent and trade markets could bring.
5. Decide on their field staff for 2018
The Orioles have reportedly offered each of their coaches a contract for next season, and it's assumed all of them will accept.
The biggest question was the return of pitching coach Roger McDowell, who Showalter publicly defended. In Showalter's time as Orioles manager, McDowell was his sixth pitching coach, so continuity makes sense.

Two coaches, Wayne Kirby (first base) and John Russell (bench), will enter their eighth year with the team. Third base coach Bobby Dickerson begins his sixth season, and hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh his fourth.

Bullpen coach Alan Mills, assistant hitting coach Howie Clark and major league coach Einar Diaz also return.
The Orioles must decide on a trainer to replace Richie Bancells, who retired at the end of the season. Longtime assistant trainer Brian Ebel is a strong candidate.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox