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Answering the 10 key offseason questions

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BALTIMORE -- The National League playoff field is just about set, if not the seeding, and the American League chase has narrowed. So evaluators of non-contenders have turned their attention to the offseason work ahead, such as examining the potential free-agent field.

This will be shaped, in part, by whether teams or players pick up contractual options for next season or whether veterans will be given qualifying offers by their current teams and are attached to draft-pick compensation.

A look at some of these looming decisions, based on conversations with evaluators and agents:

Should the Orioles give a qualifying offer to Matt Wieters?

In watching Wieters throw on Sunday, it's evident that he's still working his way back from Tommy John (elbow) surgery. Offensively, he has six home runs and a .301 on-base percentage in 64 games this season -- hardly numbers that typically fuel the market value of someone headed to free agency.

But Wieters is 29 years old, right in the prime of his career, and he is a switch-hitter with a couple of Gold Glove awards in his portfolio. He's going to get good offers from other teams because he'll be the only free agent at his position who could address the spot for years to come.

What follows is total speculation: He'd be a terrific fit for the Atlanta Braves, who have money to spend as they prepare to move into their new ballpark in 2017, and they might be attracted to the idea of signing a Georgia Tech product. Also, keep in mind that if the Orioles give Wieters a qualifying offer, the Braves wouldn't have to give up their first-round pick to sign him. He could also be attractive to the Astros, Mariners and a handful of other teams.

Another thing to keep in mind: Wieters is represented by Scott Boras, an agent who believes strongly in the concept of taking his clients into the open market. So even if the Orioles tender a qualifying offer to Wieters, Boras may well plow ahead and advise Wieters to reject the offer like he has for his other clients.

And even if Wieters were to surprise the Orioles and accept the qualifying offer, having him on a one-year deal might feel like an overpay for Baltimore, though it's just a short-term obligation.

Survey says: It should be a no-brainer for the Orioles to give Wieters a qualifying offer as they look to land draft-pick compensation.


What to do with Clay Buchholz's $13 million team option for 2016?

Buchholz's injuries have been frustrating for the Red Sox and the right-hander -- he has pitched 664 innings over the past five seasons (around 133 innings per season) -- and with a new front office in place, there isn't necessarily an emotional attachment to the pitcher.

But Buchholz showed again this season that when he's on the mound, he's more than capable.