Yesterday, one of the top free-agent starting pitchers came off the board. The remaining starters on the market could find themselves a home rather quickly. But, will the Baltimore Orioles capitalize on any of them?
Pitchers and catchers will begin trickling into Ed Smith Stadium in two days. One guarantee the Baltimore Orioles have at the moment is who their numbers one-and-two are. The other is that their lack of starting pitching will be covered most frequently throughout the spring.
A highly covered topic indeed, and rightfully so.
Dating back as far as I can remember, there have always been questions and concerns about the rotation. As much as they enjoy waiting out the market, it’s an oddity that the front office sits two days before camp opening, with two guaranteed starters.
I’m an advocate for holding out hope until the last second, though. There’s still plenty of starting pitching on the market right now. And, who knows, maybe an in-house candidate or two will have a semi-decent season. However, there’s no doubt the rotation would drastically improve with a free-agent signing – or two.
The key here is the length of any potential deal.
The length of the contract
We could begin to see pitchers start accepting deals after Yu Darvish‘s six-year, $126MM deal was agreed upon yesterday. That deal could potentially cause the domino effect. Although, it may not mean anything for a team that doesn’t enjoy handing out long-term contracts.
It’s no secret that the Orioles frown upon signing free-agents to long-term deals. Over the last ten years, only two free-agents have signed a three-year or longer contract.
More from Orioles News
- Baltimore Orioles Sign RP Mychal Givens
- Gunnar Henderson: Destroyer of Four-Seam Fastballs
- Which Current Baltimore Orioles Pitchers Have the Best Curveballs?
- Orioles News: Should the O’s Pursue Eovaldi? + More MLB News
- Should the Baltimore Orioles Consider Signing Nathan Eovaldi?
What’s even rarer is a four-year deal for a starting pitcher.
In franchise history, only two free-agent starters signed four-year deals with the club. One, of course, is Jimenez. The other is right-hander Steve Stone.
On November 29, 1978, Stone signed a four-year, $760K contract with the Orioles. Stone only played out three-of-the-four years, though. After dealing with tendinitis in 1981, Stone retired the following season. Although, he was a Cy-Young winner in 1980, pitching to a 25-7 record and an ERA of 3.23.
Long-term contract demands
Of the top starting pitchers on the market, they all have at least one thing in common. They all want long-term deals.
Because of the length of those potential contracts, I’d expect the Orioles to stay far, far away. However, there are a few names on the market that wouldn’t mind a lesser deal.
Not to mention, the team wouldn’t have to pay a pitcher $20MM+ per year.
The latter mentioned aren’t flashy guys by any means. They probably won’t throw a no-hitter anytime soon, and they more than likely won’t win 20 games. But, they come with a cheaper salary, for a shorter period. They have the potential to improve a rotation that was abysmal in 2017 and they – at the very least – give the team a fighting chance. Trying and failing is much better than not trying and failing.