Oakland Athletics v Baltimore Orioles

Bronson Arroyo signed a two-year contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks this weekend. This we know. Despite his early protests, it appears Arroyo did, in fact, field offers from multiple teams interested in his services.

One team that was in hot and heavy for Arroyo was the Baltimore Orioles, a team in dire need for some pitching assistance to go with their high-powered offense. They wanted Arroyo for his reliability, the number one selling feature in the Arroyo portfolio.

The Orioles, as they do, offered Arroyo very similar terms to those he reached with Arizona. The Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests the total guaranteed dollars Baltimore offered were slightly lower but the option allowed for more total money over the three year term.

In the end, Arroyo considered a host of options and signed in Arizona. Pitching in the NL West tends to be a little more appetizing than running the AL East gauntlet for three years, it stands to reason. But there was another reason, according to Connolly, that Arroyo stayed away from Baltimore. The Orioles less than enticing business practices may have finally come home to roost.

But, according to one source, another serious factor was that the Orioles had failed two players’ physicals this offseason — outfielder Tyler Colvin‘s one-year deal and the high-profile decision to walk away from Balfour and his two-year, $15 million agreement due to concerns about his right shoulder.

The ripples from little things like walking away from two deals in one offseason fan out quickly. There is a price to pay, it seems. Arroyo’s reservations seem more self-interested than anything. No 37-year old wants a scarlet letter on his resume when your most marketable skill is dutifully taking the ball every five days come hell or high water. A suspect bill of health, even from the Orioles in-house quack, is just the sort of blow a player looking for his final contract cannot afford to take.

So blame can’t entirely fall on the Orioles but it sure looks like a factor. Baltimore might not care but little things like this are why it always pays to be a good “corporate citizen.” The Orioles now face a reality where overpaying is required in future to overcome the blow to their reputation.

Or maybe not. It is a fine line to walk, is all. Maybe it didn’t factor in at all in this instance and Connolly’s source is connecting dots all on his own. But, if we connect our own dots, it isn’t hard to imagine this very scenario.

Maybe, like in Miami, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Treat potential free agents poorly and they won’t want to sign, therefore you never get to spend big bucks in free agency? It’s a genius plan! Why throw money around willy nilly when you can’t get anyone to take the money you don’t really have any intention of parting with in the first place?! That Angelos, what a sly fox. Always one step ahead in the despot game. Admirable, really.

Comments (3)

  1. Great article, Drew. It’s stuff like this, the behind-the-scenes actions and reactions that many don’t consider, that makes the offseason so fun to follow and ruminate upon. Also, seeing stodgy old Greek millionaires getting spurned by their own ridiculous business practices. Always a joy.

  2. Re: “But, if we connect our own dots, it isn’t hard to imagine this very scenario.”

    Yeah, but you’re still imagining.

    For a salty dog veteran NL West baseball would be my choice after a career of 71 million plus in career earnings.

    Spacious parks and no DH adds to ones quality of work experience. He could even see another couple one year deals in his future if all goes even just reasonably well.

    I understand your urge to get back at Angelos after you stood on a mountain top and decreed “Somewhere along the way, the Baltimore Orioles turned themselves into a very smart team”

    http://blogs.thescore.com/mlb/?s=Balfour

    However, this isn’t it.

  3. This is from Feb 10. Now that we start March, we can say that my O’s definitely reaped what they sowed. I don’t know who will turn out better, Arroyo or Jimenez, but I think the O’s are pretty happy how this winter ended up. Just like your first article about Balfour was premature, so was this one.

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