Over the past two offseasons, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has made a point to retain the club's free agents, making the group that will head to Sarasota, Fla., in a few days awfully familiar to fans and one another.
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"It's looked like a couple times that I've been here that we were going to lose some important guys," said setup man Darren O'Day, who re-signed last winter. "Continuity is always good. Guys are known factors, so we know what they can do…it's nice to have the same guys every day. You are together a lot over those 6 months. Kinda nice to have some known quantities."
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This winter's big move was Mark Trumbo, a signing that keeps the heart of the Orioles' order intact and ensures Trumbo and Chris Davis -- last winter's big re-sign -- will again form a pretty formidable pair.
The infield returns and the same starting rotation -- minus Yovani Gallardo, who was traded to Seattle on Jan. 6 -- will be relied upon to build on an improved second half. There are some new additions: Gallardo's deal brought outfielder Seth Smith, and the O's signed catcher Wellington Castillo. For the most part though, this 2017 team -- with a large chunk of free agents at the end of this year or next -- is anxious to get back to the postseason and fulfill some unfinished business.
"I think any time you get close to something with a good group, you want to see it through a little bit more, at least," Trumbo said of an Orioles team that lost in extra innings in the American League Wild Card Game. "I think the team and the season we put together last year was really incredible. We ultimately didn't get as far as we wanted, but when you look at the bulk of what we did, it was quite impressive."
The front office hopes keeping the O's core intact -- including a solid bullpen -- will keep them competitive as the window to win is now.
A large amount of their success will rely on the rotation, though the Orioles should benefit from having a full season of Dylan Bundy, and the further maturation of guys like Kevin Gausman and Chris Tillman.
"We're still a middleweight in a heavyweight division," Duquette told fans at FanFest, "but we're still trying to slug it out every night."
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.