There is still a lot of help needed, especially in the rotation. Do you get the feeling the Orioles are done spending?
-- Kevin K., Greensboro, N.C.
I think there's still funds available to upgrade the 2016 team, and if the report that the Orioles were still pursuing Yoenis Cespedes after signing Chris Davis is true, it's further proof that ownership is willing to spend this offseason. MLB Network's Jon Heyman tweeted Wednesday that, according to sources, Baltimore had put a five-year offer on the table to Cespedes (who agreed to the Mets' three-year, $75 million pact with an opt-out instead).
sources: Orioles were a 3rd team in on cespedes Friday. (unsure if there were more). Like nats, O's had 5-yr bid on table.
The Orioles' offer, as well as their interest after signing Davis, is encouraging. But even if they've been given the green light to keep adding, there's nothing to suggest they're willing to give up a Draft pick (for signing a pitcher like Yovani Gallardo) or adding a contract that has an early opt-out, like Scott Kazmir's deal with the Dodgers. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette noted during Davis' news conference that the money for free-agent starters hasn't matched what the organization is looking for, and it has also been looking into trades. The O's know the rotation remains a glaring hole heading into camp.
Where do you see the toughest competition shaping up on the roster?
-- Ben, Baltimore
If the Orioles add another pitcher or two, the back-of-the-rotation battle could get fun. But as it stands today, I think watching the corner-outfield situation unfold will be fascinating, as will be how the team plans to use Mark Trumbo. Will Trumbo get to see some first-base time with Davis in the fold, moving the slugger to right field? Will manager Buck Showalter want to work Trumbo in with the corner outfielders? That group already includes Hyun Soo Kim, Dariel Alvarez, Nolan Reimold, Henry Urrutia and Efren Navarro. Assuming there aren't any injuries, it will be an intriguing competition as the O's look for production in the outfield to complement All-Star Adam Jones.
Even if the O's don't add a big-name pitcher, I'd expect Duquette to try to find some more depth, whether it's via a late-spring trade or trying out a bounce-back candidate. Otherwise, they'll run into the same situation they were often in last year: scrambling to find a spot starter when needed.
Any bold predictions for the upcoming season?
-- Kevin G., Arlington, Va.
That will be much easier (and potentially more accurate) after Spring Training, but here's one anyway: Jonathan Schoop is poised for a monster year. If you don't believe me, look at his numbers over a shortened season. Schoop hit some of the team's biggest home runs, and if he stays healthy, he could have a career year similar to his buddy Manny Machado a year ago.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.