As Jon discussed last night, the Orioles have reached an agreement (pending the O's physical and all the hyperbole surrounding it) with Korean outfielder Hyun-soo Kim. Jon also correctly noted that Kim's two-year, $7 million deal doesn't limit the team from pursuing a more expensive free agent. And the Orioles continue to be active in that market.
The O's are justifiably playing hardball with Chris Davis and Scott Boras. Whether their previous offer of seven years and around $150 million is off the table for good, the O's will remain, at the very least, a potential landing spot for Davis until they move on with a big signing or a few noteworthy ones. The Orioles can't and shouldn't wait around for Davis. And you could logically argue anyway (which we've certainly done) that a massive deal for a 30-year-old first baseman is both exorbitant and a poor use of resources for a mid-market team with several holes to fill. But home runs are thrilling, and the O's lineup could still use a big bat.
The O's realistically could get by with using Mark Trumbo primarily at first base and then acquiring a first baseman in the future or using Trumbo as a bridge to a 2017 that features Christian Walker and/or Trey Mancini. That might not be the best strategy, but it's a possibility.
For now, there are plenty of free agent options -- not necessarily at first base, but overall. The Orioles could still use a corner outfielder, a starting pitcher, and a designated hitter. The best of the outfield market includes: Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Dexter Fowler, and Denard Span. Austin Jackson, Gerardo Parra, Marlon Byrd, Will Venable, Shane Victorino, Alejandro De Aza, Steve Pearce, Alex Rios, and some others are also still out there.
Now that Jason Heyward has been signed, action on the rest of the outfield market should start heating up. Cespedes, Upton, or Gordon would be tremendous fits for most teams. Of those three, the O's have been linked most to Upton and have been described as an admirer of Gordon. Does Kim's signing slam the door on players like Span or Parra? Span could still make some sense and is a proven top-of-the-order bat, but he also has a medical history that typically scares the Orioles off. With other corner outfield options on the roster including Nolan Reimold, Dariel Alvarez, L.J. Hoes, Henry Urrutia, and Joey Rickard, clearly the O's could use another outfielder. And it's most likely an overreaction, but seeing Trumbo listed as an outfielder on the team website's roster is maybe somewhat disconcerting.
The Orioles also need a starting pitcher, unless you're confident, for some reason, in a potential rotation of Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Ubaldo Jimenez, Miguel Gonzalez, and Mike Wright/Tyler Wilson/Vance Worley. Remaining options include: Yovani Gallardo, Scott Kazmir, Mike Leake, Wei-Yin Chen, and Ian Kennedy. Mat Latos, Mark Buehrle, and Doug Fister are also available.
The Chen ship has sailed, leaving Kazmir as probably the option (of the expensive group, at least) that makes the most sense. Not only is he left-handed, but he's not tied to any draft pick compensation since he was acquired by the Astros in a trade last summer. Still, the market is picking up for his services, and the O's may also be wary of his injury concerns. As discussed numerous times, the Orioles do not like handing out long-term deals to pitchers (even though they've done so recently with Jimenez and Darren O'Day). But I wouldn't count on that as something they're going to start doing routinely.
Roch Kubatko mentioned last night that the Orioles "are still interested in getting another left-handed hitting outfielder," so pairing someone like Span with Kazmir would likely appease the fan base. Trading for Trumbo, re-signing O'Day, and signing Kim/Span/Kazmir (or something similar) would represent a busy and interesting offseason. But that still wouldn't address the team's DH issues; the money might not be there to add someone like Pedro Alvarez or another decent bat if the O's make a bold move or two. That's been a concern all along: whether the Orioles are willing to shell out the funds to upgrade a number of positions. That's also a big reason why the Orioles are also scouring the trade market.
One looming question is whether this offseason turns into a bunch of Kim-like signings. I like the Kim move, so that's not necessarily a terrible thing. But while the cost is low, the ceiling isn't high. So will the O's pursue a bunch of mid-level signings or trades and try to upgrade in a number of areas instead of making a major signing? That may depend on what you consider "mid-level." Either way, that could be a better option than sending over a dump truck full of money to Davis. Rational decisions aren't always popular ones.