Even though the 2023 playoffs ended with disappointment for the Baltimore Orioles, there is still a lot to be excited about if you are a fan of the team.
They have one of the best cores of young talent in baseball and seem to be set up for long-term contention.
There would be even more excitement and potential if ownership were willing to open the checkbooks and spend a little more money to help get them over the top. The problem is Orioles ownership never really seems willing to do that, and on Thursday, general manager Mike Elias did not have an encouraging answer when asked about the possibility of an increased payroll next season.
That might seem like a non-answer (because it is), but it also seems like a PR-friendly way of telling the fans to not get their hopes up.
The Orioles’ 2023 payroll came in at just over $71 million, which was the third-lowest payroll in baseball, ahead of only the Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland A’s, according to Spotrac.
When it comes to finances, those are not the teams you want to be sharing company with, especially when playing in a division that has big-money teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays, not to mention one of the smartest teams in Tampa Bay.
The Orioles front office on the baseball side has done a great job rebuilding the organization into a contender, and with players like Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson serving as the core players, there is a stable foundation in place.
But winning a World Series takes more than just having smart baseball people and good player development.
It also takes some money to help put a team over the top.
That is one of the biggest reasons Tampa Bay has consistently flamed out in the playoffs. Until the Orioles are willing to join the big spenders — or at least get out of the bottom10 in major league Baseball — there is going to be a serious question toward the commitment of ownership and what the team’s ceiling will ultimately be.
History is not on the Orioles’ side here, and if there truly were more plans to increase the spending, Elias would probably already be aware of that and happy to share that news on Thursday. The fact he gave a non-answer seems to be a pretty strong answer on its own.