The Baltimore Orioles have at the very least started the process of filling out the back end of their bullpen now that Jim Johnson’s gone. Yesterday they signed former Florida/Miami Marlin Ryan Webb to a two-year, $4.5 million contract. Webb had a decent 2013 season, posting a a 2.91 ERA and 54/27 K/BB ratio in 66 innings. For his career, he has an ERA of 3.29 through 276 innings pitched.
Orioles fans were a bit tiffed at the fact that the franchise didn’t want to spend $10 million on Jim Johnson in 2014. So get this – Webb was non-tendered by Miami because they didn’t want to pay his $1.5 million salary in 2014! I would agree that a reliever shouldn’t be making $10 million, contrary to the views of some folks around town. However not wanting to pony up $1.5 million for a reliever that gave you some good innings in 2013 comes across as fairly weak on Miami’s part.
It’s unclear how the Orioles will use Webb, although I’m sure he might be in the mix to close out some games or at the very least be a part of the back end of the ‘pen. My prediction is that Tommy Hunter moves into the closer role, with Webb taking Hunter’s spot as a set up guy of sorts in the bullpen. But ultimately it’s still too early to tell.
In other news, former Oriole Scott Feldman signed a three-year deal to pitch for the Houston Astros yesterday as well. The O’s of course traded Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop to the ChiSox last summer for Feldman, who never really panned into the front-line starter that the Orioles felt they needed at the time. Unfortunately for Feldman, he’ll be vacating the best defense in baseball to play with one of the worst, so odds are his stick will go down once he gets acclimated in Houston. However I would hope O’s fans will wish him well.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, the Washington Nationals have inked former Oriole Nate McLouth to a two-year contract. McLouth was a fan favorite for his one year plus in Baltimore, however O’s fans will still be able to see him play – right down the pike in Washington.