The Orioles have a bit of flexibility in their payroll. In 2012, they are obligated to pay five players 42.4MM: Nick Markakis (12.35MM), Brian Roberts (10MM), Mark Reynolds (7.833MM), J.J. Hardy (7.417MM), and Kevin Gregg (5.8MM). They also have several players in line for arbitration for 28MM: Luke Scott (3rd arb; est. 6.2MM), Jeremy Guthrie (3rd arb; est. 7MM), Adam Jones (2nd arb; est. 7MM), Darren O'Day (2nd arb; est. 1.2MM), Jim Johnson (2nd arb; est. 2MM), Jeremy Accardo (2nd arb; 1.1MM), JoJo Reyes (1st arb, est. 1MM), Brad Bergesen (1st arb., est. 1MM), and Robert Andino (1st arb., est. 1.5MM). That commits roughly 70.4MM for the 2012 season and leaves around 17MM left to improve the team.
This tells us two things:
- There is supposedly not much money left over to improve the team.
- 70.4MM does not get you much to start with.
As Dan Duquette has mentioned, the Orioles are going t have to be able to make the most of the non-premier free agent market. That includes finding potential players like Mike Antonelli. However, this model is more and more difficult because other teams are doing and have done the same thing. Somehow, Duquette has to make up for lost ground and then become an industry leader in finding what others are overlooking.