Baltimore Orioles: Three Bounce-Back Free Agent Pitching Options
The Baltimore Orioles can always use a groundball pitcher.
Last offseason, the Baltimore Orioles signed one free agent to a major league contract, RHP Nate Karns. Karns hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2017, but many believed he still had quality stuff and could provide valuable innings for a young O’s staff.
Unfortunately, the Karns experiment was a complete bust as he logged just 5.1 innings at the major league level. Instead of going after guys who haven’t seen a big league mound in two years, how about we shorten that one year?
Kendall Gravemann logged his first full season of work back in 2015 with the Oakland A’s, going 6-9 with a 4.05 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 115 innings. He followed that up with a 10 win season in 2016 and a 1.9 fWAR year. Despite low strikeout totals, he kept the ball in the yard and had a noted improvement in his walk rate.
In 2018, Graveman was named Oakland’s Opening Day starter, but made just seven starts (1-5, 7.60 ERA) before being sent to the minor leagues and ultimately going under the knife for Tommy John Surgery. He would miss the rest of 2018 and all of 2019, minus three rehab innings in rookie ball and three in Triple-A at the end of the season.
The Chicago Cubs decided to look towards 2020 when they signed Graveman last offseason, know ing he would miss 2019 recovering from surgery. It now appears they have changed their mind after declining to pick up Graveman’s $3 million option.
Chicago could still look to bring him back on a new, cheaper deal as they try and clear some payroll for free agency, or were they looking to go ahead and part ways now, knowing Graveman wasn’t progressing as expected from Tommy John?
If healthy, Graveman is a groundball pitcher with a decent track record of limiting home runs, an effective changeup (35% whiff rate, .253 wOBA in 2018) and high-spin fastball, and a history of producing a lot of weak contact.