Orioles have decisions to make as free agency begins

Orioles have decisions to make as free agency begins
October 31, 2013, 9:00 am
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The World Series is over, and free agency has begun. The Orioles have spent the first month of their offseason planning, hiring a new pitching coach and celebrating three Gold Gloves.

Now, it’s time for start getting ready for 2014. The season begins five months from today against the Boston Red Sox.

From now until Monday at midnight, the Orioles may re-sign their own free agents and express their interest, but not negotiate with others.

The Orioles have seven free agents: Scott Feldman, Jason Hammel, Nate McLouth, Michael Morse, Brian Roberts, Francisco Rodriguez and Chris Snyder.

They have the most interest in Feldman, McLouth and Roberts. Perhaps they can move aggressively to send Feldman. McLouth’s market will build a little slower, and they probably can wait Roberts out for a bit.

Three others, Tsuyoshi Wada ($5 million), Alexi Casilla ($3 million) and Dan Johnson ($800,000) have options which are likely to be declined.

Wada whose two-year $8.15 contract expired without pitching for the Orioles could re-sign at a much lower rate, but that probably won’t happen immediately.

Teams can extend one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offers to free agents. Offers must be extended by 5 p.m. Monday and players have a week to accept the offer. They’re considered signed if they accept it. The Orioles are not expected to extend any qualifying offers.

Eleven players are eligible for arbitration, and by Dec. 2, the Orioles must decide if they’ll offer contracts to them. Jim Johnson, Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, Bud Norris, Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter, Nolan Reimold, Troy Patton, Steve Pearce Chris Dickerson and Dan Johnson are all eligible.