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Saturday Bird Droppings: The Orioles are chasing veteran pitching

The underwhelming offseason continues, Frazier is excited to join the O’s, and Vespi to place in the WBC.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Boston Red Sox Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

Oh, you thought the Orioles were done with their exciting off-season? How very foolish of you. You see, signing Adam Frazier and...(checks notes) Kyle Gibson was just the start of the master plan. Now, Mike Elias can move on to the real prize: Other aging pitchers.

Boston-based reporter Rob Bradford tweeted on Friday that the Orioles were “showing interest” in both Michael Wacha and Rich Hill. Both pitchers spent 2022 with the Red Sox.

To be fair, Wacha was rather effective last season. Over 127.1 innings, the righty had a 3.32 ERA, 1.115 WHIP, and 4.14 FIP. The right-handed pitcher was particularly effective against left-handed hitters, who had a .188/.252/.345 batting line against him.

Hill got knocked around a bit more with his 4.27 ERA, 1.303 WHIP, and 3.92 FIP over 124.1 innings. But his track record of success is rather long, having pitched in 18 big league seasons. That includes a 14-game stint with the Orioles in 2009. The numbers were bad (7.80 ERA, 57.2 innings), but that was before the southpaw reinvented himself mid-career.

Signing either player (or both) won’t be earth-shaking for the Orioles. However, the roster does need more veteran options on the mound. While it would be great to see a repeat performance from Austin Voth, continued improvement from Dean Kremer and Kyle Bradish, a rock solid debut from Grayson Rodriguez, and a healthy rehab for John Means, that is an awful lot to count on. Something is likely to go wrong, so an insurance policy of Wacha and/or Hill is a fine idea.

However, a better idea would be to add a legitimate top-of-the-rotation arm via trade. That takes the pressure off of every other member of the staff, and it would go farther towards putting the Orioles in a playoff position.

Of course, they can do both things. Wacha and Hill are better than a few names currently on the Orioles’ 40-man roster. But once again, it will be disappointing if the big additions to a pitching staff in need of high-end talent is a trio of underwhelming veteran stopgaps.


Frazier embraces O’s: ‘They’ve done their homework’ |
I do genuinely enjoy learning about the ways in which the Orioles try to woo potential free agents. In this instance, it seems like they showed Frazier that he has the ability to get better with them, and so this deal with the O’s should be viewed as a “show me” opportunity that allows him to snag a long-term contract next winter.

A handful of Orioles questions that remain unanswered | Roch Kubatko
Roch says that the impressions he gets from the Orioles is that they would prefer to trade prospects than someone off of their MLB roster. That makes it seem like Anthony Santander will stick around while you shouldn’t get too attached to Jordan Westburg, Connor Norby, or Joey Ortiz.

Orioles reliever Nick Vespi to play for Team Italy in World Baseball Classic | The Baltimore Sun
What a cool honor for Vespi! He was another fun story in the Orioles bullpen that got lost in the dominance of others around him. Vespi was an 18th-round pick that pitched six seasons in the minor leagues before the O’s gave him a big league chance last season. His Triple-A numbers were immaculate, and he looks like a factor for the relief corps again in 2023.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Fernando Abad turns 37 today. The journeyman reliever appeared in 16 games for the 2021 Orioles.
  • Stu Pomeranz celebrates his 38th birthday. The three games he pitched in for the 2012 Orioles represents the entirety of his MLB career.
  • Álex Cintón is 44. During the 2008 season he spent time at every position on the infield for the O’s, although he was most-oft used as a shortstop.
  • The late Jerry Adair (b. 1936, d. 1987) was born on this day. He played all over the infield for the Orioles from 1958 through ‘66 before he was dealt to the White Sox for Eddie Fisher.

This day in O’s history

1995 - The O’s acquire pitcher Kent Mercker from the Braves in a trade for pitchers Joe Borowski and Rachaad Stewart.

1998 - Free agent pitcher Xavier Hernandez signs a two-year contract with the Orioles.

1999 - The Orioles add free agent catcher Greg Myers on a two-year deal.

2013 - All-star reliever Grant Balfour signs a two-year, $15 million deal with the Orioles, but the contract will be voided on December 20th when Balfour fails his physical.