The Orioles have exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents for a five-day period after the World Series ends, and they would like to retain Markakis and Cruz the most, along with Miller -- a key part of the bullpen -- if he fits within the club's budget. Cruz, who declined his qualifying offer from Texas last year, got one this year -- at $15.3 million -- but Markakis did not. Cruz has until Nov. 10 to decline or accept the offer. If he declines, he is free to negotiate with any big league club, including the O's.
The Orioles should get back the trio they missed in the postseason in Matt Wieters, Manny Machado and Chris Davis. But there are still areas to address this winter -- foremost a starting pitcher to put atop the rotation. The O's could also use a player who specializes in on-base percentage, which was a glaring hole in the lineup this October.
There are aces to be had in the market, with the two most sought-after targets expected to be Max Scherzer and Jon Lester. There aren't a whole lot of big-name OBP players floating around in free agency, and that looks more like a need executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette could fill with a trade or one of his trademark under-the-radar signings. Duquette has said the expectation is the team will raise payroll for 2015.
With Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy expected to be in play for next year's rotation, the Orioles could move some starting pitching to swing a big deal. Duquette has made it a point to accumulate pitching depth in his tenure, but he has yet to deal a Major League starter.
The O's season ended in the American League Championship Series, and a few big winter moves could go a long way in helping Baltimore reach the World Series.