Archive for the ‘Baltimore Orioles’ Category

MLB: Texas Rangers at Oakland Athletics

The path leading Nelson Cruz to the Baltimore Orioles was both long and winding. It took a series of very strange circumstances to arrive at this conclusions, with the slugger inking a one-year contract worth a mere $8 million, as reported by Enrique Rojas.

Mere is, of course, relative. But considering the $14MM qualifying offer Cruz received, and promptly turned down, from the Texas Rangers, it seems like Cruz misread the market.

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MLB: Houston Astros at Cleveland Indians

Which Ubaldo Jimenez is for real? Is the guy who pitched well below replacement level for the better part of a year for real? Is the guy who nearly walked away with the National League Cy Young award in the first half of 2009 for real?

Is the guy who nearly lost his roster spot for the 2013 Indians for real? Is that guy, the guy who had his spot in the rotation skipped as the team looked to integrate Danny Salazar into their mix, is that who the Baltimore Orioles just signed for a reported four years and $50 million?

Or did they sign the guy who dug down and learned to live at 93 mph, instead of the 97 mph of his youth? The guy who learned that pitching inside is okay even if your fastball ain’t what it used to be, that getting ahead works wonders when your stuff is still pretty good. That guy? Because that guy was downright nasty in his final 13 starts of the year. He struck out 100 batters against just 27 walks in 84 innings. He allowed just three home runs and posted a 1.84 ERA.

If that guy’s real, the Orioles got a bargain. They got a number two style-starter at Ricky Nolasco prices. That’s nice work if you can get it.

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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.

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MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Texas Rangers

Nelson Cruz is still a baseball player, I assume. He’s a free agent awaiting a contract, so technically he’s unemployed. When you’re sitting on a big payday — even if that payday might be less than you first imagined — you can probably call it “funemployed.”

This period of funemployment won’t last much longer for Cruz. When the winter started and his lofty contract expectations became public, many fans feared giving a player like Cruz the kind of commitment he expected. A few months later, he is still out there. It is important to recognize that, while Cruz isn’t a star by any means, he remains a valuable player who can help the right team in 2014.

Who are these right teams that can tackle the risk of adding Nelson Cruz knowing that the back half of his deal (like just about every other FA contract) won’t look as attractive?

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Oakland Athletics v Baltimore Orioles

A few weeks ago, I posed a simple question: Why would anybody want to work for Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos? The only possible answer is he has money, and he is one of 30 people in the entire world willing to pay top dollar for major league baseball talent. And so people, like former Rockies and Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin, still want to work for Peter Angelos.

Unfortunately for Colvin, the Orioles don’t want him any more. The Orioles reportedly reached a major league deal for Colvin roughly two weeks ago, and an official announcement was expected to take place last week. But no announcement came, and on Wednesday ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported the Orioles claimed there was an issue with Colvin’s physical.

Because of course there was. Colvin, according to one of Crasnick’s sources, has spent the offseason “working out 5 days a week in Arizona and hasn’t had any problems,” but the Orioles were apparently worried about a back injury that hampered Colvin late last season. The injury was bad enough for the Orioles to revoke their offer of a major league deal, but the club was still happy to offer a minor league — non-guaranteed — deal.

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Who in their right mind would ever want to work for Peter Angelos?

The preceding question was buried a bit in the wake of Baltimore’s extraordinary 2012 season, in which Buck Showalter led a roster almost entirely constructed by fired GM Andy MacPhail to a wild card berth and the club’s first playoff appearance since 1997.

Last week, the Orioles agreed to terms with closer Grant Balfour, but backed out. According to Ken Rosenthal, “their doctors were not satisfied with the physical.” These things happen, especially in a league like MLB where the commissioner’s office routinely reveals agreed upon contracts before completion. But was anything actually wrong with Balfour?

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Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics

Somewhere along the way, the Baltimore Orioles turned themselves into a very smart team. Facing the expensive prospect of giving a reliever coming off a down year, they improved their second base depth, signed another Proven Closer and added a nice setup guy for good measure – today signing Grant Balfour to a two-year deal reportedly worth $14MM.

Grant Balfour is a legit power pitching stud, with gaudy strikeout totals and a big time fastball, brings his spastic show east to Baltimore. His strikeout rate has grown each of the last three years, all while keeping his walks in check and keeping the ball in the park.

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