At some point in this rebuilding process the Baltimore Orioles are going to have to make a splash in free agency. Whether that’s a bat or an arm remains to be seen. However if you look down the pike at the World Series Champion Washington Nationals, it seems that the emphasis should be on pitching.
And it just so happens that the World Series MVP, Steven Strasburg, just opted out of his contract. Admittedly the optics aren’t great; Strasburg opted out only hours before the team’s championship parade. So technically he attended that parade as a free agent. However contractually that couldn’t be helped.
Is it ridiculous to think that the Orioles might consider making a major splash this offseason and go after a stud pitcher like Strasburg? Let’s back up for a moment; would a pitcher of Strasburg’s pedigree even consider signing with the Orioles, no matter what the terms of the deal were? Why would a World Series MVP sign with a franchise that’s nowhere near being ready to compete for a title?
Ask former National Jayson Werth. He signed with Washington for seven years in 2011. I thought the exact same thing at the time; why would someone like that (who had won a World Series and could have his pick on where to go) sign with a team like that? First off Washington overpaid him – in theory. But…did they?
Werth was a veteran and he made the guys around him better. Odds are Washington doesn’t win the title without Werth (now retired) having been there. So in that sense, did they really overpay?
I suspect that Strasburg opted out of his contract, and will sign a bigger one with Washington. However the Orioles would have to overpay well above what Washington overpaid for Werth. Both in terms of years and dollars.
I’d put the odds of the Orioles going after Strasburg at about 5%. The odds of him signing here even lower. But at some point the Orioles will need to go after a big ticket item on the free agent market. And personally I think pitching is a great place to start.