Now that the
And over the next week, we will begin seeing the Orioles' direction in constructing their 2013 roster
The day after the end of the World Series begins a five-day window in which the Orioles can exclusively negotiate with their seven unrestricted free agents:
The Orioles are likely to pursue McLouth, Saunders and Thome. They will hit the open market on Saturday if terms aren't reached.
All three expressed interest in returning. McLouth blossomed into one of the team’s most important players down the stretch and throughout the postseason after taking over the leadoff spot for
Saunders proved to be a big-game postseason pitcher – he had a 1.59 ERA in two playoff starts – and has local ties having grown up in northern Virginia. Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette covets opportunities to secure pitching depth.
Thome, because he's limited to DH duties, seems to be a less-likely fit, but he gave the Orioles some key hits in September and offers an intangible clubhouse presence.
A new rule forces teams to make free agents a qualifying offer – which is $13.3 million – in order to receive a compensation draft pick if the player signs with another team. Each of the three players the Orioles will likely pursue would be had for cheaper, but that won't come into play regardless because none of the three spent the entire season with the team.
Today is also be the first day of a three-day window in which the Orioles must decide whether to exercise options on first baseman
The decision on Reynolds – and his $11 million option – might be the club's toughest decision of the offseason. But since Reynolds still has one year of arbitration eligibility, the Orioles could buy out his 2013 option for $500,000 and keep him under team control for next season. However, since Reynolds made $7.5 million last season, he would likely make around $9 million in arbitration. They could also non-tender him and attempt to work a new deal with him.
On the other hand, Ayala's $1 million option will likely be picked up after he made 66 appearances and had a 2.64 ERA last season.
The Orioles have until Wednesday evening to decide on those options.