Showalter, Duquette reflect on 2017 season

Showalter, Duquette reflect on 2017 season

ST. PETERSBURG -- While the Orioles will undoubtedly reflect on what went wrong in 2017, the plan for '18 remains pretty clear.

"This is the big leagues. I don't know who rebuilds in the American League East," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "In the American League East you reload, OK? And then you try to have as good a team as you can the next season, as you did the past season. Everybody has a certain level of talent, and our talent base here is still pretty good."

Reloading will likely require the O's to spend some significant money to upgrade their starting rotation, which struggled mightily in 2017. While Dylan Bundy had a solid year, emerging as a frontline guy, Kevin Gausman was inconsistent and the O's will need to fill several slots just to complete their rotation. Ubaldo Jimenez and Jeremy Hellickson will depart for free agency, and it's unlikely the team will pick up Wade Miley's $12 million option.

"Anything I say [about this season's issues] sounds like an excuse. I'm more interested in attacking the things that are self-inflicted," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It's one thing to identify problems. I talk to you all the time and say, 'Well, how do you correct them? What's your solution?' I'm not saying it's easy to identify the problem. There's certain things you can see statistically, but there's so much more that goes into it. We weren't a perfect club in '13, '14, '15, '16, but we overcame some of the challenges that ballclubs face.

"You look at Cleveland and some of these teams that have had big years, and they aren't perfect. But they've been able to identify and attack the problems. That's what we've got ahead of us."

The Orioles also have some important decisions ahead of them. Duquette and Showalter have contracts that run through 2018, as do several key players, including Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Zach Britton and Brad Brach.

Of potentially trading Machado and Britton this winter, Duquette said he planned on still having the pair with Baltimore come spring.

"We like those guys. They've had good careers with the Orioles and we're planning on having them on the club," Duquette said. "We're building a club with them on it, and we'll see where it takes us."

Machado's contract in particular is a hot-button topic. Duquette wouldn't offer specifics on if the club plans to engage in active extension talks with the third baseman this winter. Machado is projecting to get a record contract if he waits until free agency.

"It's something that's under consideration, but I don't think I have the answer to that question today," Duquette said. "But there's plenty of time where you can discuss that, talk about that."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.