The Baltimore Orioles were one of the worst teams in MLB during the 2021 season, with a 52-110 record.
At times, they looked like a Triple-A team.
Let’s be honest: none of the top, truly elite free agents will want to go to the Orioles.
At this point, the Orioles need to build through their farm system, make savvy trades, and be attentive to the international and amateur markets.
If they are going to sign a free agent, they should be savvy veterans with potential to be flipped at the deadline.
In the worst-case scenario that they don’t build up any trade value, these veterans help eat innings while the prospects get ready in the minors.
Here are three free agents that may accept a role with the Orioles that the team should sign.
3. Aaron Sanchez
Aaron Sanchez had a 3.06 ERA in 2021, but at the cost of a very low 6.62 K/9 (strikeouts per nine innings).
Other run-prevention metrics say he wasn’t that good.
However, he is just 29 and has a career 3.93 ERA.
If he doesn’t generate much interest around the league, the Orioles could swoop in with a one-year, incentive-laden deal.
He could be coachable, he comes from a solid organization known for transforming pitchers’ career, he shouldn’t generate too much interest in free agency, and shouldn’t require a large deal.
Baltimore needs a reliable(ish) veteran arm to hold down the fort until the prospects are ready: Grayson Rodriguez, DL Hall, and others.
He could be a good fit.
2. Travis Shaw
The Orioles could actually field a surprisingly good offense in 2022.
Additionally, Adley Rutschman should be up at some point.
Wow. Almost cements Rutschman as the opening day catcher in 2022 https://t.co/G5EYYb5vrV
— Zack Goodman (@oriolesfan68) November 4, 2021
But they do need help at third base.
Travis Shaw is a solid veteran who may look for regular playing time to resurrect his career.
He had consecutive 30-homer seasons in 2017-18, and could be lured into Baltimore if offered a starting role.
In 2021, he was a disaster with the Milwaukee Brewers, but with the Boston Red Sox, he slashed .238/.319/.524 with a .843 OPS in 28 games and 42 at-bats.
With regular at-bats, he could potentially regain top form.
He is still young at 31, so there is time to get those numbers up and land a bigger contract elsewhere eventually.
1. Dellin Betances
Dellin Betances was a beast with the New York Yankees from 2014 to 2018: five seasons of utter dominance from the bullpen.
He has been affected by all kinds of injuries in the last two years, though.
He underwent shoulder surgery this year, but is scheduled to throw this month and plans to play winter ball.
(Some had been confused about Betances' 2022 option. It was a vesting option, which he obviously didn't trigger in 2021.) https://t.co/vxfWDVMrkL
— Tim Britton (@TimBritton) November 3, 2021
He is the perfect rebound candidate, but needs health.
The 33-year-old has a career 2.53 ERA, and was dominant as recently as 2018.
He could try to relive his career on a low-risk deal with the Orioles, in a low-stress environment.