1. Orioles should double down with Dylan Cease trade
The Orioles still have the MLB's deepest farm system after the Corbin Burnes trade. Retaining all their newly acquired assets in free agency is a concern in this scenario, but Cease doesn't hit the open market until 2025. The Orioles can, in theory, add Cease and still focus their 2024 free-agency efforts on Burnes. Cease can cook on the back burner until Baltimore alleviates their more immediate concerns.
Burnes elevates Baltimore's competitive standing in the AL East, but there's still a stark lack of experience in the Orioles' rotation. Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez profile much better as No. 2 and No. 3, rather than No. 1 and No. 2, but the Orioles could be one elite starter away from truly cementing their status as contenders. The Texas Rangers needed Nathan Eovaldi, Max Scherzer, and Jordan Montgomery to take off last season. Cease can help Baltimore follow a similar arc in 2024.
Cease's ceiling rests near the top of his positional hierarchy, but as the 2023 campaign showed, he still demands time and patience. The Orioles can situate Cease comfortably as the No. 2 starter, removing the pressure currently on his shoulders in Chicago. He's relatively young, too, which should appeal to a Baltimore team whose success is still rooted in player development. If the Orioles can improve on last season's 101-win finish, it will largely be due to internal growth. Baltimore is the rare winner still focused on cultivation. That's a great environment for Cease to unlock his potential.
Even with new owners in the mix, nobody expected the Orioles to so suddenly announce their arrival at the big kid's table with the Burnes trade. It's exciting to see Baltimore building on the magic of last season and finally maneuvering like a contender. Why not make one more splash to really make the Yankees (and the rest of the MLB) sweat?