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Baltimore Orioles architect Mike Elias was named Major League Baseball's executive of the year on Tuesday, as part of the annual general manager meetings. Elias' recognition comes after he transformed a group that had lost 110 games as recently as 2021 into a 101-win unit in 2023. Voting was conducted before the playoffs, so the bosses of the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks -- each who reached the World Series within two years of a 100-loss season -- did not receive credit for their brilliant October runs.

MLB's executive of the year designation tends to be awarded to general managers who overcome either a small budget and/or low expectations. Only twice in six years has the honor been given to a large-market GM -- and one of those times, Farhan Zaidi of the 2021 San Francisco Giants, still met the "unexpected" qualifier. Elias checked both. Few picked the Orioles to win the American League East, in part because of one of the lowest payrolls in MLB.

Now, for the first time, Elias will enter the winter with a sense of anticipation. Just how will the upstart Orioles finetune their roster between now and the spring? Below, we've highlighted three matters of importance. 

1. Figure out rotation

If there's an area where Elias struggled last season, it was with the rotation. Baltimore still finished the year ranked 11th in unit ERA, but several of Elias' additions scuffled. Free-agent signing Kyle Gibson posted an 87 ERA+; trade acquisition Cole Irvin fared better (93 ERA+), albeit while splitting the year between the rotation and the bullpen, the minors and the majors; and deadline get Jack Flaherty, supposedly a difference maker come October, had fallen so far out of favor that his lone playoff appearance came in a low-leverage spot.

Elias already has most of a rotation in place heading into the winter. He could roll into spring training with Kyle Bradish, Grayson Rodriguez, John Means, Dean Kremer, and even Irvin and feel decent about the group. Still, we would like to see the Orioles be aggressive in adding another above-average arm.

That doesn't mean Elias has to give out a long-term deal to a free-agent hurler. There are plenty of those on the market, but it's a defensible decision if the Orioles opt instead to set their sights on the trade front. Corbin Burnes, Tyler Glasnow, Shane Bieber, and Dylan Cease are just four names who could be made available this offseason. 

The Orioles would have to give up some promising young players in return (more on that in a bit), but pursuing a trade for one of the above names would spare them from having to hand out a lucrative and long-term commitment that their internal analysis may deem overly risky.

2. Sort out positional player glut

One veteran talent evaluator has told CBS Sports on multiple occasions over the last two years that the Orioles have the best front office in baseball, a belief stemming from how well they've been able to draft and develop under Elias. That's especially true on the position player side of things. 

The Orioles have established stars in place like catcher Adley Rutschman and infielder Gunnar Henderson. They have three of CBS Sports' upcoming top-25 prospects, in shortstop Jackson Holliday, outfielder Colton Cowser, and corner infielder Coby Mayo. And they have a slew of other intriguing contributors, ranging from infielders Jordan Westburg, Connor Norby, and Joey Ortiz, to outfielders Heston Kjerstad, Dylan Beavers, and Jud Fabian.

At some point in time, Elias will have to thin his collection. In part because it's an inefficient use of the players, and in part because rules against talent-hoarding will force his hand. This offseason could be a good occasion for Elias to figure out who he likes best and to spin off some of the others.

3. Extend the core

We'll end with something that might be beyond Elias' control: signing Rutschman, Henderson, or heck, even Holliday to a long-term extension that keeps them in Baltimore for the next decade. 

The Orioles have a good team in place. They have the potential to build this group into a great team -- one that legitimately threatens for the franchise's first World Series title since 1983. Ownership's willingness to pony up might end up determining if that happens. To be clear: the Orioles don't have to follow in the Rangers' cleatprints and sign a bunch of star players (though it would be cooler if they did); there's just no excuse for a franchise that has ranked 27th or lower in Opening Day payroll five years running to fail to employ Rutschman or Henderson beyond their initial years of control.

Why wait, then? This winter seems like the opportune time to check in with their agents and see what it would take to get a deal done. Chances like these don't come around often. It's on Elias and company to make the most of it.