4 big-name moves Orioles could make if new ownership is ready to spend

Don't look now, but the Baltimore Orioles are on the financial upswing.

Sep 25, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4)
Sep 25, 2023; San Francisco, California, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) / Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
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Baltimore Orioles ownership is changing hands. According to Puck's John Ourand, private equity billionaires David Rubenstein and Mike Arougheti are purchasing the Orioles for $1.725 billion. That means Peter Angelos is stepping down. It's an exciting day for the Baltimore franchise.

Few success stories surpassed the Orioles' stunning ascent to the No. 1 seed in the American League last season. The Orioles are home to the most robust farm system in baseball, brimming with affordable young talent under long-term team control. That said, Baltimore's season ended with an abrupt 3-0 AL Division Series loss to the Texas Rangers.

There were several factors at play, but the Orioles ran into a wall primarily because of their longstanding front office philosophy. Baltimore's payroll has been in the MLB basement for years. Developing young talent is one thing. Actually keeping that talent in free agency and landing bonafide star power is another matter entirely. It's hard to win at the highest level without driving up the cost at least a little bit. The Orioles need more experience, especially on the mound. There's generally no way to land true experience without dishing out lucrative contracts.

If the Orioles want to take the next step — and few rosters are better positioned for the "next step" — it will require a less stingy approach to free agency and trades. Perhaps with new ownership, the Orioles' pockets open up a bit.

Here are a few splashy moves Baltimore should explore to cement their powerhouse status in the year(s) to come.

4. Orioles can plant Blake Snell atop their rotation

Blake Snell won his second Cy Young award last season, so naturally he has... one lowball offer a couple weeks before spring training? That doesn't sound right, but it's the truth. Snell reportedly wants nine years and $270 million. The New York Yankees offered him five years and $150 million. It would appear that valley is too vast to cross at the moment.

Enter Baltimore... maybe? The Orioles won 101 games last season, but the Yankees added Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo, and Marcus Stroman in free agency. New York is gunning for the postseason — and for Baltimore's AL East crown. It takes fire to conquer fire in the MLB. The Orioles can't stand idly while the Yankees leapfrog them. Internal development will go a long way in Baltimore, but pitching is a serious weakness. Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez simply are not ready to lead a postseason rotation.

While there are valid concerns about Snell's consistency and health year-to-year, few pitchers are better at full strength. Snell led the National League in ERA last season (2.25), going 14-9 for the wayward San Diego Padres. He punches it past hitters with high-90s heat and ranks near the top of the league in both strikeout rate (31.5 percent, 94th percentile) and whiff rate (37.3 percent, 98th percentile). The southpaw, when healthy, is often peerless.

The Orioles probably shouldn't give Snell nine fully guaranteed years, but the 31-year-old deserves a hefty investment and the full confidence of his next franchise. He would meaningfully move the needle for an Orioles team ready to win a lot of baseball games. One has to imagine he would leap at the right opportunity to join a true contender.