In the last two days of the Hot Stove, the Baltimore Orioles have not signed any Major League pitchers. But, other teams have.
The longer that the Baltimore Orioles Dan Duquette waits to sign arms, the prices of those Hot Stove arms are getting more expensive.
This will hurt the O’s simply because the team needs three of them, with at least two of them that can be leaders in the rotation.
The expensive mediocre arms
The signing that really could hurt the Orioles is Mike Minor, who is going to the Texas Rangers for a three-year deal valued at $28 million. He’s 29 years old and last started a game in 2014. He pitched 77.2 innings for the Kansas City Royals in 2017 and had an ERA of 2.55 with a WHIP of 1.017. Those are good numbers, but are those $9.3 million numbers? And the Rangers are planning on using him as a starting pitcher.
The next signing that could create issues for the Orioles is the newest one, Tyler Chatwood to the Chicago Cubs. He will be the fourth or fifth starter in the Cubs rotation and they are going to pay him $38 million for three years. Chatwood has had two Tommy John surgeries and his goofy delivery suggests that he could be at risk for a third.
As a starter for the Colorado Rockies, Chatwood made $4.4 million in 2017. He had an ERA of 4.69 and a WHIP of 1.442. Of course, his stats are affected by the altitude in Colorado. But, he did only throw 147 innings. A starter needs to be able to throw more than this to be truly effective. Yet, he will get more than $12 million annually for the next three years.
Why this is bad news for the Orioles
How is all of this going to affect the Orioles? It’s all about the Benjamins. The O’s need three pitchers. And as the early signs are showing, that position is not going to be cheap. These two pitchers are far from the best on the free agent market. The O’s will most likely not go for the best like Jake Arrieta and Yu Darvish. But, they need good ones. Will they have to fork over $40 million (or more?) to get three decent pitchers? There is a good chance that will be the case.
If the O’s are going to try to contend for the postseason, as Dan Duquette has said, they will need good arms. The bullpen is satisfactory, with the core of Zach Britton, Darren O’Day, Mychal Givens, and Brad Brach. But, the starting rotation is incomplete. Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy will be useful arms, but neither is a real first or second seat in the rotation with their ERAs over four.
The Orioles will need starting pitchers who can eat up 600 or so innings. Those innings are going to cost them. Keep in mind that the O’s are also upgrading arbitration deals to players like Manny Machado and Britton. The 2018 season could prove to be seriously expensive – hopefully, it’s all worth it.