Orioles manager Buck Showalter acknowledges the long list of talent that may not return, but he is quick to caution the idea of getting too stuck on one particular player.
“We spend so much time coveting something and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, this will not survive without this, and this will not survive without that,'” Showalter said Oct. 28 on Glenn Clark Radio. “Would I like to have Chris and Matt and Wei-Yen and Darren and [utility man] Steve Pearce and [outfielder Gerardo] Parra — I’d like to have all of them.
“… We do know that if we’re going to get where we need to go, our starting pitching needs to be better and not take something that was a strength and make it a weakness, whether it be the bullpen.”
According to published reports, the Orioles have been in talks with some of their six pending free agents, but it is highly unlikely the team will retain them all. One of the biggest keys is Chen, who remains the Orioles’ only lefty starter. If he doesn’t re-sign, there have been reports the Orioles would look elsewhere, maybe even to Toronto Blue Jays pending lefty free-agent David Price, who would come with a hefty price tag.
“The way the game is setup, there’s not going to be parity of payrolls all over,” Showalter said. “You’ve got one team with a payroll of $300 million and another that’s $40 million. Let’s not try to act like that’s fair; it’s an excuse.
“… We’re interested. We’re making offers. We’re doing things that we should do, and the players are going to have a decision to make. … There’s a lot of variables here. We’ll do our part and make the offers that need to be made … and we’ll be competitive again next year.”
While Showalter did acknowledge the team’s need to improve its starting pitching, he was quick to point out the talent already in the Orioles’ system.
Showalter said right-handed pitcher Kevin Gausman was “right where he needs to be” developmental-wise. Gausman, 24, started 17 games last season and went 4-7 with a 4.25 ERA.
Orioles top prospect Dylan Bundy will be pitching in Arizona Fall League beginning Nov. 2. The 22-year-old right hander is out of options and would need to make the Orioles’ major league roster in 2016 if he’s going to stay in Baltimore.
“There’s [right-handed pitchers] Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson, and there’s some good guys out there that we’re really excited about, especially in the fall league,” Showalter said. “… I don’t quite get the frustrations. If you’ve got two or three prospects, you’re lucky if one or two make it through health-wise and then are able to go through the process to learn.”
Whether the Orioles are able to re-sign their top pending free agents or land a big-name pitcher, Showalter is adamant the team will compete in 2016, because he does not enjoy watching the World Series on TV.
“Watching somebody do something that we spent eight months trying to get to is a little painful,” Showalter said. ” … There’s only one happy team standing, and we’re not it, so we’re not happy.”
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