Roster Trimming, New Contracts, Team Rebrands and Prepares for Free Agency
Orioles ownership has been busy in this early offseason, wrapping up all personnel evaluations, signing several players to new deals and receiving the go ahead on a club rebrand.
Moving forward into 2019 the team will take on the Athletics moniker, a name they were incorrectly deprived of as noobs in 2018 at the winter meeting. Additionally, sources report that with the imminent onset of Free Agency, the team braintrust has huddled on several occasions to discuss strategy and the mission moving forward.
“We’ve finished with all the player evals and signed our mainstays”, reports ownership, “The team has trimmed the roster significantly and informed the unsigned they’ve been placed on the free agent market. We have several prospects from outside the league but would really love to dip our toe in the free agent pool.”
With Wifftoberfest well in the books and free agency opening soon it’s being reported that only a few of 2018’s once Oriole players and now Athletics will escape the realities of the free agent market. “Everyone with the exception of Kong (rumored to be quite intimate with ownership) was acquired and employed under the pretense of one year deals”, Athletics brass reports, “The team came together so quickly last season. It was the only way to field a squad without having to make or ask for long-term commitments”.
As expected, Kong signed the first ever lifetime contract in team history though its reported he does retain options. He is prevalent in several statistical categories. It’s anticipated that he’ll make great strides next season. The owner appears to appreciate what she has in her face of the franchise. “He’s probably our purest athlete right now, has retained that athleticism into his later years, and has proven that he’ll do whatever it takes to defend the virtues of the club.”
Also inking deals were Neutron and newcomer Toe Jam.
Neutron, freshly adorned with the prestigious Eagan Rookie of the Year Award, took the hill often and was second in pitching starts as well as leading his team with 12 home runs. He is expected to make huge improvements at the rink and have a gigantic sophomore campaign following his ROY season. He was signed to a multi-year deal with all terms undisclosed.
Finishing up the early offseason contract dealings was the signing of newcomer Toe Jam who arrived very late in the season to help out with staffing issues. The team has big plans for this short season rookie. “He made good swings right out of the gate, sees the ball well, is competent in the field and could be developed as part of our pitching rotation. We see him as a potential Eagan ROY contender next season as he arrived so late this past season he was unavailable to us come WifflePalooza.” There were no terms disclosed on his multi-year contract.
All three signees had noteworthy outings at Wifftoberfest 2018 hitting a combined 10 home runs, making Sticky Paw-like plays in the field and taking the mound in respectable fashion. “It was nice to see our young talent represent” said team patriarch Kong, “This team truly does have a plan for 2019”.
Speaking of plans, the organization is raising the bar for themselves next season and are hoping to take a huge step forward. Kong was able to tip the teams hand a bit sharing; “Of course we are actively reviewing the talent pool available in the community at large but are more interested in seeing which players wind up in the free agency. The learning curve is so elevated and the need for a committed athlete so important that we’d just as soon sign two or three free agents and call it a day”.
The team is reportedly looking to keep the roster at about 6 players. They were quick to add that pitching experience is not mandatory but would be helpful. “We’d love to sign an experienced pitcher to rely on and teach the rest of the staff but we’re only really looking for committed players that either know the game or are willing to learn it”.
The team has been working hard on developing talking points as they head into free agency.
“We want newcomers to the sport to know what a treat it is to be involved in something as special as organized wiffle and the HRL. We want in-league free agents to know that despite the apparent hair trigger management came equipped with in the teams first season, everyone will be expected to be a part of and have a say in the team and its operations for multiple seasons”.
The A’s concept moving forward is involvement; all players having a role in the organization.“One guy might be our pitching ace, he’s our pitching coach, one guy might be the purest hitter and he would be our batting coach. A game strategist, there’s your bench coach and so on. It’s all about everyone having a role and knowing that the team relies on them. We move together as a unit in 2019”.
It has been reported that other Orioles had already been considering shopping themselves around the league a bit. The team lost one player who resigned after an emotional Wifflepalooza. Another former Bird is reportedly interested in taking a franchise of his own in 2019.
“They’ll either declare themselves as free agents, look to start a team of their own, take a year off, or retire. What the entire squad, and the league has to remember is that all those Oriole initial deals were of the one year variety”.
The franchise is learning first hand that that’s how the game is played.
“Not our big three though”, said team spokesman Kong, lifetime contract in hand, “We sewed up the foundation of this squad. We’ll be fine no matter what happens with the rest of us”.
Free agency is reportedly set to open at the end of October with details forthcoming.
The Orioles clawed their way to a 2 win campaign in 2018 highlighted by a FunStar nomination for Kong and ROY honors for Neutron. The team is looking to combine the concepts of having fun and improving for 2019.
Kong summed up the teams overall philosophy, “Hey, we had two high tables in 2018 and we’re doubling that for next season. We own a couple of tents and have multiple grills. There’s no way you can accuse us of not being fun even if we do find a way to scrape out double digit wins next season. There’s just no way.”
Watch for the team, newly adorned with the Athletics handle to be active and vocal this offseason.