The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a one-year deal with RHP Kyle Gibson, per Ken Rosenthal. The amount of the deal is currently unknown.
Gibson is coming off one of his worst years, in which he posted a 5.05 ERA in 31 starts and 167.2 IP. His 1.336 WHIP and 7.7 K/9 are also underwhelming. He’s about average (54th percentile) when it comes to hard hit rate. He is, however, just one year removed from an All-Star appearance with the Texas Rangers, but he fell apart after being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies at the 2021 trade deadline.
Now that the Baltimore Orioles are shifting into contender mode, some young players who featured in 2022 may not get the same chance in 2023.
At first glance, Kyle Gibson is the obvious replacement for Jordan Lyles. They’re comparable below-average innings eaters, but Gibson provides more upside than Lyles. Gibson’s FIP was significantly lower, at 4.28, thanks to his ability to limit walks (2.6 BB/9). His xFIP was even lower at 3.94, thanks to a 13.9 HR/FB%, a bit higher than the league average.
The interesting part about the new left field at Oriole Park is that the park factors actually turned to the pitcher’s favor in 2022. Statcast features a statistic of expected home runs by ballpark, which accounts for wall height, fence distance, and park environment. Gibson actually allowed 24 HR in 2022 (23 expected home runs at Citizen’s Bank in Philadelphia), but allowed just 18 expected runs at Oriole Park.
It’s fair to think Gibson could see some regression in his HR/FB% in 2022. It’s also fair to think his H/9 could fall in 2022. He had a .308 BABIP on a 45.9 GB% in 2022. The Phillies’ infield of Rhys Hoskins, Jean Segura, Bryson Stott, and Alec Bohm was well below average, but Gibson now moves to an infield of Ryan Mountcastle, Jorge Mateo, Gunnar Henderson, and an unknown middle infielder. Gibson could see a lower BABIP thanks to improved infield defense. (It’s worth noting that the effect of the shift ban in 2023 could affect all pitchers negatively).
Don’t expect this to be a signing that sets the Orioles over the top in 2023, but depth signings are important. Kyle Gibson is more of a #5 starter in a rotation that features Dean Kremer, Kyle Bradish, and Grayson Rodriguez, but he’s another stable innings eater in a rotation that will rely on younger pitchers. Assuming this isn’t the last move the Orioles make for a starting pitcher, it’s a solid, low-risk addition.