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Monday Bird Droppings: The pitching market continues to take shape

A lower-tier pitcher, Kenta Maeda, came off the board on Sunday

Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Three
Kenta Maeda was not on my list of hopeful Orioles free agent signings.
Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 122 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day 2024.

Baseball’s winter meetings are still a week away. This is no barrier to teams signing players before that. The Orioles haven’t done anything, of course, but another free agent pitcher who might have been in their readily-accessible price range has come off the board. Kenta Maeda is reportedly in agreement with the Tigers for a two year contract guaranteeing $24 million.

Maeda, who will turn 36 shortly after next Opening Day, is a veteran of seven MLB seasons after having played eight years in NPB before coming across the Pacific. He was roughly an average pitcher in 2023, posting a 4.23 ERA (102 ERA+), but he only threw 104.1 innings this past season and hasn’t started more than 25 since the 2019 season.

This is a contract roughly in line with what FanGraphs projected, and much less than what MLB Trade Rumors predicted. It also feels like a lot, in terms of AAV, for a guy without much of a track record for durability. There are going to be signings where I’m annoyed that the Orioles didn’t make it at the price that the player signed. This is not one of those signings. I think the Orioles need more of a sure thing than Maeda, and someone who’s going to get better results than Maeda even if he had a track record for durability.

The Maeda contract is a reminder that if the Orioles are going to get someone good and durable on the free agent market, it’s going to cost them. He’s not even the bottom of the market. He’s a decent pitcher. All you can get for $12 million per year is someone who should be OK when he pitches.

Perhaps I should say instead that it’s going to cost John Angelos for the Orioles to get quality. We simply have no idea if he will actually make the investments that the team needs in order to maximize its success over both the short- and long-term. He has given no reason to believe he will do this up to this point. He has not even managed to get a lease signed for 2024 within the first 321 days of 2023. There is no reason to panic about the lease business, but it is dumb and it doesn’t lead one towards optimism about the current generation of Angelos ownership.

Around the blogO’sphere

Reviewing three more unexpected developments in the 2023 Orioles season (School of Roch)
You know it’s getting close to the bottom of the barrel when it’s time to talk about Logan Gillaspie, Terrin Vavra, and Anthony Bemboom, none of whom made much of an impact for the team this year. One reason they won 101 games is probably because those guys didn’t stick around to make an impact.

Appreciating Kyle Gibson’s time as an Oriole (Steve Melewski)
I’ve said this before and will say it again: I wasn’t excited when the Orioles signed Gibson, but he did exactly what they needed him to do and that’s worth something. Now I hope they can find someone better than him.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

There are several former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2009-12 pitcher Jason Berken, 1997 catcher Tim Laker, 1989-92 first baseman Randy Milligan, 1962/66 pitcher Bill Short, and 1956 pitcher Johnny Schmitz.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Declaration of Independence committee member Robert R. Livingston (1746), Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Agee (1909), actor/martial artist Bruce Lee (1940), musician Jimi Hendrix (1942), Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow (1951), science guy Bill Nye (1955), baseball Hall of Famer Iván Rodriguez (1971), and violinist Hilary Han (1978).

On this day in history...

In 1896, Richard Strauss’s piece Also sprach Zarathustra, the beginning fanfare of which was famously used in 2001: A Space Odyssey, had its debut performance.

In 1924, Macy’s hosted a Thanksgiving Parade in New York City for the first time.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on November 27. Have a safe Monday.