CATCHER: With Welington Castillo declining his option, Baltimore could bring in a stop- gap until Chance Sisco is ready, or they could hope Caleb Joseph is up for the task. Either way, another receiver will likely be signed.
INFIELD: Jonathan Schoop and Manny Machado are among the best at their positions. Chris Davis is coming off a terrible campaign, but is still the incumbent at first base. The club declined J.J. Hardy's option, leaving last season's second half sensation, Tim Beckham, to handle shortstop.
OUTFIELD: Adam Jones is a given, though he's not as durable as his salad days. Trey Mancini earned full-time run at a corner spot. Mark Trumbo could take the other, though he's better suited for designated hitter. Joey Rickard is a capable reserve. Austin Hays and Anthony Santander are both promising prospects, with Hays more likely to contribute this season. That said, I expect the Orioles to fortify their offense in an effort to slug their way to victory, seeing as their pitching is suspect and there isn't much in the way of available reinforcements.
DESIGNATED HITTER: Trumbo should again receive the lion-share of DH at bats.
BENCH: Especially with Trumbo able to dabble in the corner, outfield depth is OK. Infield, however, is in need of at least one utility type, though the starters are generally durable and won't need much rest.
ROTATION: Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy are the only sure things to be in the opening-day rotation. Gabriel Ynoa, Miguel Castro, Mike Wright and Alec Asher are all on the O's roster, but none are enticing option so look for Baltimore to bring in several starters, though the inventory of quality arms is thin.
BULLPEN: Zach Britton is the man, for now, there's still a chance he's moved in the off-season. Even if healthy, don't expect Britton to approach the 40 saves he averaged from 2014-2016 as saves track closely with team ERA, which looks to be a problem. The rest of the bullpen is solid with Brad Brach, Mychal Givens and Darren O'Day all being fantasy-worthy.
PROSPECTS TO WATCH: There's a chance the club trusts Hays from opening day, spending more on pitching, so he could be a major contributor this season. It's just my sense is they'll look to win games 10-8. Sisco should also see some big-league action, perhaps from opening day. Keep an eye on what the club does with backstops in free agency. On the pitching side, Tanner Scott could get a look with the rest of their starters a few years away.
POSSIBLE ACQUISITIONS: As alluded to, I anticipate at least one, probably two big bats coming on board, with whatever pitching they can muster as well.
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