Exploring Four Free Agent Outfield Options for the Baltimore Orioles

If the Orioles decide to trade one of their outfielders, they might consider signing one of these four free agents. Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins, and Anthony Santander not only survived the team’s rebuilding phase but thrived during the Orioles’ best season in almost a decade. In 2023, these three outfielders combined for 59 home runs and an 8.4 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), as per Baseball Reference.

However, their time in Baltimore is limited. Hays and Mullins will become free agents after the 2025 season, and 2024 is Santander’s final year under contract. General Manager and Executive Vice President Mike Elias might be inclined to trade one or more of them this winter to acquire a pitcher.

If the Orioles trade one of their starting outfielders, Heston Kjerstad, Colton Cowser, and Kyle Stowers, all left-handed hitters, could see increased playing time. But Elias has shown a willingness to add a veteran presence, as seen when he signed Aaron Hicks in May.

Here are four free agent outfielders the Orioles could consider targeting this offseason:

  1. Adam Duvall
    • A seasoned player with ten seasons in the league, Duvall joined the Red Sox for a one-year deal last offseason. He primarily played in center field and contributed 21 home runs with a .247 batting average and an .834 on-base-plus-slugging (OPS).
    • Duvall, a 35-year-old right-handed hitter, has nearly identical career performance against both left-handed and right-handed pitchers. His above-average arm strength could be valuable in Camden Yards’ spacious left field if Hays is traded.
    • A one- or two-year deal with Duvall could be a reasonable option as the Orioles assess Kjerstad and Cowser.
  2. Jason Heyward
    • After a disappointing 2022 season with the Cubs, Heyward rejuvenated his career with the Dodgers in 2023, batting .269 with 15 home runs and an .813 OPS.
    • Heyward is known for his elite defense, ranking in the 91st percentile among outfielders in outs above average, according to Statcast.
    • His left-handed swing and excellent plate discipline make him a good fit for Camden Yards.
  3. Joc Pederson
    • If Pederson had become a free agent last offseason instead of accepting the Giants’ qualifying offer, he would have been a compelling addition for the Orioles.
    • Pederson, a left-handed power hitter, hit 15 home runs in 2023, but he has the potential for more based on his impressive exit velocities and barrel percentage.
    • With two All-Star appearances and an .800 career OPS, the 31-year-old has extensive playoff experience and could provide DH flexibility.
    • However, Elias would need to weigh the decision to add Pederson against the development of Kjerstad and Cowser.
  4. Tommy Pham
    • Having played for seven different MLB teams, including four in the last two seasons, Pham is a versatile player. The Orioles are familiar with him from his stints with the Rays and Red Sox, as he has a .929 OPS in 18 career games at Camden Yards.
    • Pham had a strong first half of the 2023 season with the Mets before joining the Diamondbacks. Overall, he hit .256 with a .774 OPS and stole 22 bases.
    • With a career .834 OPS against left-handed pitchers and the ability to lead off, Pham could be a potential replacement for Hays.”

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