There is unique pressure on the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Starved for success for a long period of time, they have both emerged as contenders in recent seasons. They reached the postseason. Neither team would trade that success, of course, but with it comes the pressure to repeat those winning ways. One winning season won’t be good enough: it needs to be sustained.
Faced with the prospect of contending in crowded divisions and having not made moves this off-season, the Orioles and Pirates might be among the teams that find themselves at the mercy of the draft pick compensation program as Spring Training approaches.
There are FA’s who could help Bal or Pitt etc get over the top. Lose draft picks to do it? The system forces tough decisions. That’s good
— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) February 10, 2014
Will urgency meet urgency? Will the Orioles give in and pay Santana or Jimenez to provide much-needed rotation help? Will the Pirates, who insist they are happy with their roster as it stands now, end up snagging Morales to play first base and lengthen their lineup?
Both teams might prefer to hold onto their pick and play the long game, but they would do so at the risk of falling back to the bottom of the standings in 2014 without no off-season activity to point to in defense of their efforts. That pressure might force one or both of them to give in and sign one of these free agents.