Good morning, Camden Chatters.
Well, for those fans who were upset that the Orioles had spent only $10 million for free agents this winter, I’m happy to announce that that figure has ballooned to a whopping...$18 million. OK, that’s still hardly anything. But the Birds did make their second major league FA signing of the offseason, inking veteran second baseman Adam Frazier to a one-year, $8 million deal.
It’s a curious move on the surface. The O’s already seemed to have a glut of major league or near MLB-ready infielders, including presumed starters Gunnar Henderson and Jorge Mateo on the left side and reigning Gold Glove winner Ramón Urías the frontrunner at second base, plus prospects Terrin Vavra, Jordan Westburg, Joey Ortiz, and Connor Norby on the horizon. The addition of Frazier probably means that Westburg, Ortiz, and Norby will return to Triple-A Norfolk to start 2023, possibly along with Vavra, while Urías and Frazier platoon at second or serve in super-sub roles. And that’s only if none of that group ends up getting traded.
Is Frazier worth wedging into that crowded group? His 2022 performance would say no. He posted a meager .238/.301/.311 batting line in 156 games for the Mariners. Still, he was just one year removed from an All-Star 2021 campaign with the Pirates, in which he batted .324/.388/.448 in 98 games, after which he was traded to the Padres and his performance collapsed. If Frazier can get back to that 2021 offensive form, he’s a worthwhile pickup. He does at least provide quality defense at second, with the ability to play outfield on occasion as well. If he can’t get his hitting up to snuff, though, the O’s should have the roster flexibility to cut ties with him midseason. (Of course, we thought the same thing about the last second baseman the O’s signed, Rougned Odor, and he ended up sticking around all season despite unproductive stats.)
Just as with Kyle Gibson before him, let’s hope Frazier doesn’t mark the last or most high-profile of the Orioles’ acquisitions this winter. An offseason with nothing to show but Gibson and Frazier would be an uninspiring one indeed, especially considering that the Orioles’ division rival Yankees just landed the best remaining free agent starter, Carlos Rodón, on a six-year, $162 million deal. The Yankees signing Aaron Judge and Rodón to massive contracts while the O’s dole out one-year deals to the likes of Gibson and Frazier doesn’t exactly inspire confidence about the Orioles’ chances of winning the AL East, but I suppose stranger things have happened.
Signing Adam Frazier: Why it fits and what it means for the Orioles in free agency - The Athletic
Dan Connolly “wouldn’t be surprised if Frazier is the Orioles’ most expensive free-agent bat this offseason.” Great. Just great. This offseason’s going super, you guys.
How does Hall fit on Orioles’ pitching staff? - School of Roch
Until he gets his walks under control, I would guess Hall is bullpen-bound for now. But you can’t give up on an arm like that as a starting pitcher until you absolutely have to.
After big 2022 season on farm, the majors await Jordan Westburg - Steve Melewski
This was written before the signing of Frazier, which all but eliminates any chance of Westburg breaking camp with the Orioles. But if if he’s as good as Buck Britton describes him in this article, Westburg could claim that O’s second base job sooner rather than later.
Orioles watch as free-agent starters sign elsewhere - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Let’s do a little less watching and a little more signing, OK, guys?
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Today would have been the 71st birthday of Orioles Hall of Famer Mike Flanagan (b. 1951, d. 2011), who spent more than three decades with the organization as a player, coach, executive, and broadcaster. Flanagan is fifth on the Birds’ all-time wins list with 141 victories during his 15 years in Baltimore, and won the 1979 AL Cy Young after going 23-9 with a 3.08 ERA.
Other ex-Orioles born on this day include infielder and noted brother Billy Ripken (58); right-hander Chris Britton (40); and knuckleballer Mickey Jannis (35), who made it to the majors for one game in 2021.
The Orioles have made a few free agent signings on this day in history, most recently in 2016, when they signed veteran catcher Welington Castillo to replace longtime backstop Matt Wieters. And on this day in 2015, the O’s signed outfielder Hyun Soo Kim out of the Korea Baseball Organization. Though Kim’s O’s career started rough, with a terrible spring training that led the Birds to try to option him to the minors (which Kim refused), he eventually worked his way off the bench and turned into one of the Orioles’ best hitters in 2016, batting .302. His MLB career lasted just one more year, though, and ever since then he’s been back in the KBO tearing it up.