In what seems like an absolute necessity, the Baltimore Orioles and Kevin Gausman have agreed to a one-year contract for the 2018 season.
This agreement keeps the Baltimore Orioles and one of their two starting pitchers out of arbitration.
Despite writing about the lack of pitching for the entire off-season, which is over as of today, it still feels very odd to consider that a professional baseball team only has two starting pitchers with any notable experience.
And, today, the Orioles pitchers and catchers reported for duty in Sarasota, Florida at Ed Smith Stadium.
The deal with Gausman
The Orioles and Gausman agreed to a deal for $5.6 million. According to MLBTradeRumors.com, Gausman was asking for $6.2 million, but the O’s wanted to pay him $5.3 million.
Predicting the Opening Day starter
Gausman will be the top pitcher entering the season. His second-in-command will be Dylan Bundy. MLB.com’s Andrew Simon made a not-so-bold prediction that Gausman will be the Opening Day starter for the Orioles. Ironically, he included this prediction in the “Split Decision” section of his article where he predicted the starters for each team. Since Gausman has more experience than Bundy, it only makes sense that the veteran would get then Opening Day start. It’s too bad that Simon couldn’t be a little more secure in his choice – especially when there are only two to choose from for the O’s.
It’s a little disheartening to see the Orioles start their first day of spring training with so many unanswered questions about the pitching rotation. Pitchers are available and ready to be signed.
What’s even more maddening is the reasoning why no pitchers were signed. According to a Tweet from Jerry Crasnick:
The sign of a weak owner
As the owner of a baseball team, it seems incredibly irresponsible to let a player who is no longer with the team affect the future of the team in this way. Ubaldo Jimenez is one pitcher in the entire scope of the MLB and he’s gotten his due for his pathetic performance with the O’s. No one is showing interest in the train-wreck of a pitcher.
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There is no rule that says Peter Angelos needs to sign any free agent pitchers to four-year deals. They can sign two-year deals or three-year deals. They can even sign one-year deals. Angelos’s excuse is weak.
Of course, no one wants to relive the Jimenez era, but having only TWO starting pitchers is not the sign of a strong team. The Orioles will face some serious competitors rather soon. And, clearly, the team is ill-prepared for the caliber of hitters they will be seeing. Angelos’s inability to pull the trigger puts excessive pressure on two young kids. One who is all of 25 and another who is only two years old.
The Orioles and their fans deserve a real rotation. The fans didn’t enjoy the Jimenez era, but they’re going to enjoy this lack-of-pitching era even less. It is difficult to win a baseball game without getting hits. But it is practically impossible to win a baseball game without MLB-caliber pitching.