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Orioles sign Eddie Gamboa, knuckleballer, to major league contract

Maybe the Orioles will get that knuckleballer after all. They signed Eddie Gamboa to a major league contract on Wednesday.

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A dream only truly dies when you give up on it. Dan Duquette has a dream that a knuckleball pitcher will appear in a game for the Orioles. I can only assume this is his dream, because he's now pursued it over multiple seasons. Wednesday afternoon brought the latest step as the O's signed knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa to a major league contract. This leaves the Orioles' 40-man roster full.

You might remember Gamboa because the Orioles added him to their major league roster last year in order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, only to remove him from the roster prior to the draft after all. They later signed him to a minor league deal, and while pitching in the minors last season he was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for a PED. That is quite a journey.

The Orioles were the ones who oversaw Gamboa's conversion to a knuckleballer to begin with. He started out in the organization after being a 21st round pick in the 2008 draft. They'll be free to option him to the minors and they will probably do so.

Baltimore Sun beat writer Eduardo Encina reports that the O's believed there were other teams out there interested in Gamboa. Accordingly, the O's would have to give him a big league deal in order to get him signed. This also may sound familiar to you because it's the same reasoning that applied for why the O's signed Oliver Drake to a major league contract. It could even be right.

Gamboa has been enjoying success recently in the Mexican Pacific Winter League, where he has a 1.33 ERA in 54 innings for Navajoa. What does this matter? I don't know, but the Orioles put it in the press release. Maybe there is a scout out there keeping tabs on him who suggested they pounce.

When he wasn't suspended, Gamboa split time between Bowie and Norfolk last season, striking out 104 batters in 108.2 innings.