Even though they haven't made any signings in that department this offseason, the Orioles have been searching the market for starting pitching options, most recently looking at the trade market as they try to land a top of the rotation arm to complement Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez.
However, don't expect the Orioles to look at every pitcher. On Thursday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that Baltimore is not expected to be involved in the bidding for Japanese star pitcher Shota Imanaga, with Rosenthal also putting the Yankees and Mets in the same spot as the Orioles. He does expect the Red Sox and Giants to be among the teams in the mix to secure his services.
Orioles not expected to pursue Japanese star Shota Imanaga
There is a bit of a ticking clock to sign Imanaga, as his posting window expires on January 11. He must sign by then or return to Japan and play another season before attempting to make the jump again next offseason.
With his posting window almost closed and a high demand for pitching, Rosenthal adds that Imanaga is expected to land a contract of over $100 million, which is probably what is keeping the Orioles away, as they have famously been reluctant to shell out big contracts.
Imanaga has a career 2.96 ERA while pitching in Japan, with his ERA in the last three seasons being 38 percent higher than the NPB average, according to Rosenthal's article. Imanaga was also a star of Japan's loaded WBC roster that took home the championship, with Imanaga even starting the clincher against Team USA.
With the pedigree that Imanaga has built up in Japan, it's not a surprise that he could be in line for $100 million. While that's something that shouldn't inhibit the Orioles after a 101 win season in 2023, it's something that is inhibiting them this offseason, so we can count the Orioles out in the sweepstakes for Shota Imanaga.