With potential gaps to fill, O's at crossroads

Club would like to bring back Trumbo, Wieters

With potential gaps to fill, O's at crossroads

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles head to next week's Winter Meetings in quite an interesting position. On the heels of an offseason in which they spent very, very big -- namely for first baseman Chris Davis -- Baltimore has some sizable holes on its roster heading into 2017.

MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2016 Winter Meetings from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. The Meetings begin next Monday. Fans can watch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, including the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 8 at 9 a.m. ET.

Hot Stove Tracker

A team that advanced to the American League Wild Card Game notably lost Mark Trumbo and Matt Wieters to free agency, leaving it without a catcher and a power bat in Trumbo, who led the Majors in homers with 47. The O's will have to fill both corner-outfield spots alongside center fielder Adam Jones and, while executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has said otherwise, there should be at least some trepidation regarding the rotation.

Baltimore has just under $96 million committed to eight players next season, plus the arbitration salaries of 10 more players could top another $50 million, depending on various factors.

Trumbo declines offer

That puts Duquette in an interesting position, unless he's given the go-ahead for another big spending winter, to get creative in plugging some of Baltimore's holes. The O's have historically been quiet at the Winter Meetings, save for the expected Rule 5 Draft selection, but there shouldn't be a shortage of rumors.

With three pitchers in a contract year -- Ubaldo Jimenez, Yovani Gallardo and Wade Miley -- Duquette could dangle one as trade bait. Though that would put even more pressure on the current rotation group to deliver.

And there's some debate about whether closer Zach Britton should be on the trade block, though Duquette has publicly stated he'd prefer to keep the All-Star closer.

The O's Minor League system doesn't present a flux of talent to make an impact trade with, nor does it have players likely to push to make the Opening Day roster. But Duquette has been savvy in making deals before and he was encouraged with early conversations at the General Managers Meetings, including potential trade talks to land a catcher.

The O's would ideally like to have a left-handed-hitting corner outfielder and their search to better their on-base percentage -- given a lineup of high power, high strikeouts -- again will come into play this offseason.

Baltimore has interest in Wieters (for a lower price than the qualifying offer) and would like to bring back Trumbo, but both will be prominent in Hot Stove rumors.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.