As expected, the Baltimore Orioles did not extend qualifying offers to any of their free agents before today's 5 pm deadline. Fan-favorite shortstop, JJ Hardy, received a $2 million buyout, allowing him to either test free agency or retire. The team is still waiting to hear from catcher Wellington Castillo on whether he will exercise his player-option for next season.

Clearly, the Orioles will have to address pitching in the offseason. However, this team also has needs on offense. Most notably, left-handed batters.Players may begin signing with teams at 5 pm on Monday.

Two available left-handed options could bring much-needed tools to Baltimore.

John Jay can do what a lot of Orioles can't

If Wellington Castillo jumps ship, the Orioles will have only one left-handed batter in the starting lineup, Chris Davis. Rising catching prospect Chance Sisco could become the second, if the Orioles decide his defense is major league ready and go with the rookie over veteran Caleb Joseph. Signing former Chicago Cub John Jay would make a lot of sense.

Jay is a left-handed batter who can play all three outfield positions. His defense is far from a liability and will allow Austin Hays more development time in Norfolk. Jay committed zero errors in 138 chances in 2017, mainly playing in left and center for the Cubs.

John Jay also brings with him a high ability to get on base. His .374 on-base percentage was 34 points higher than that of Seth Smith, the 2017 leader for the Orioles in this category. As a team, the Orioles were fourth-worst in the majors, getting on base just 31% of the time.

From a financial standpoint, Jay should be a fairly cheap option.

He signed a one-year deal with the Cubs last offseason for just $8 million. Expect another one-year deal worth below that for the now 32-year-old outfielder.

Jarrod Dyson brings speed and doesn't strike out often

Another valuable option for the Orioles is outfielder Jarrod Dyson. Dyson played in 111 games for the Seattle Mariners last season after 7 seasons with the Kansas City Royals.

He hit a career-high 5 home runs while slashing .251/.324/.350/.674. The former 50th round draft choice had his 2017 season cut short in September after pelvic surgery.

Before landing on the disabled list, Dyson ranked third in major league baseball in outfield assists and fourth in the league in defensive runs saved. He has experience in all three outfield positions and could cost the Orioles as low as $3-5 million.

In 661 career games, Dyson has swiped 204 bases. The Orioles are desperate for someone who can steal bases and Dyson excels in that category, possibly more so than any other free agent available.

Other left-handed options include Colby Rasmus, Carlos Gonzalez, and Melky Cabrera. Rasmus is coming off season-ending surgery and brings a large number of home runs, but also a large number of strikeouts. I expect other teams to price the Orioles out of the Gonzalez and Cabrera markets.

Be patient Orioles' fans. It could be another long offseason.