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HHP: The Future of the Orioles' pitching


Crazysilver03

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The Incumbents

The 2015 Opening Day rotation featured 5 stalwarts - Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yen Chen, Bud Norris, and Ubaldo Jimenez. The rotation features two players who are free agents to be and three players with three years of control left. The two free agents to be - Bud Norris and Wei-Yen Chen - are unlikely to be Orioles after the 2015 season. Chen is in the final year of a $15.5M free agent deal that had been signed prior to the 2012 season. Chen has provided an excess of value against his contract and will be looking at $10M+ per year on the open market after the 2015 season. Norris will be a free agent, after earning $8.8M in his final year of arbitration. The Orioles will likely offer a Qualifying Offer (QO) to Chen, which will be approximately $16M for the 2016 season. Chen will not see an Annual Average Value (AAV) of $16M in a new deal but a team will likely part with a draft pick to land a 4 year contract in the realm of $50M. On a personal note, I see Chen signing with a team that has already forfeited their top pick for a front line starter and Chen will only cost their second pick. "Worst case," Chen (30) accepts the QO and the Orioles are paying him $16M on a one year deal. Norris (31) on the other hand, will not see a QO, as he will be too much of a risk of being the first player to accept a QO. Both pitchers will see their value diminished due to the other available options, not limited to Johnny Cueto (30), Doug Fister (32), Zack Greinke (32), Scott Kazmir (32), Ian Kennedy (31), Mat Latos (28), David Price (30), and Jordan Zimmerman (30).

On the controlled side, Ubaldo Jimenez is in the second year of a four year worth approximately $50M. Chris Tillman ($4.3M) and Miguel Gonzalez ($3.275M) are both in their first year of arbitration, with two more rounds of arbitration to go. All three are likely to remain with the Orioles in 2016, especially with the question marks of possibly losing two starting pitchers to free agencies. In the off chance Wei-Yen Chen were to accept the QO, the team could look to trade a pitcher, most likely Tillman or Chen, for a positional player.

The Opening Day bullpen consisted of 8 pitchers - Zach Britton ($3.2M), Tommy Hunter ($4.65M), Darren O?Day ($4.25M), Kevin Gausman (~510K), Brian Matusz ($3.2M), Wesley Wright ($1.7M), Brad Brach (~510K), and Jason Garcia (~510K). The Orioles have three agents to be - Tommy Hunter, Darren O'Day, and Wesley Wright - as well as a non-tender candidate in Brian Matusz. If there is one word to describe the bullpen it is inflexibility. Gausman is the only player with options remaining but is also one of the best pitchers on the team, though his handling has been controversial. Jason Garcia, the team's lone remaining Rule 5 pick, might not even make it through the season. Wesley Wright has been unable to provide any value to the Os, suffering an injury in ST and eventually falling on the DL after a few days during the season. Brian Matusz, who most believe shouldn't have been on the team in 2015, will face another tendering deadline.

The bullpen will likely be highly revamped in 2016. Hunter, Wright, and Matusz are all likely to let go and left unpursued by the team in free agency. O'Day is the most likely to return if he is willing to remain at his current $4M AAV, though the Orioles did acquire another sidearmer in Ben Rowen from the Dodgers. If Garcia is retained by the Orioles, he will likely be sent to AAA for more seasoning. Brad Brach is what he is, and while eligible for arbitration for the first time, he will most likely remain as a middle reliever, if he makes it through the 2015 season. Kevin Gausman should be stepping up to fill one of the two potential vacancies in the rotation, though there is a minor chance he could remain as a set-up man to Zach Britton. Britton will be in an interesting position, as a closer who scored big as a super two. He still has three rounds of arbitration left and may not be an Oriole for all three trips through arbitration. There are several minor league pitchers that could fill the holes left in the Orioles' bullpen for 2016, but DD has shown a tendency to pick up a middle reliever on the FA market, while also taking players in the rule 5 draft, so I highly doubt all openings are filled internally.

The Minors

For the first time in a long time, there is a logjam in the upper minors. The Orioles? 40 man roster is flooded with options (and their remaining options after this year) - Mike Wright (2), Tyler Wilson (2), TJ McFarland (1), Oliver Drake (1), Eddie Gamboa (2), Dylan Bundy (0), and Tim Berry (1). There are also non-roster options - Steve Johnson (0), Zach Davies, Cesar Cabral (2), Pat McCoy (2), Mychal Givens, Chris Jones, Ben Rowen (2), and Brandon Kline - knocking on the door. And you have former major leaguers in Michael Bowden, Pedro Beato, Dane De La Rosa, and Chaz Roe that could serve in an emergency.

At the moment, there are no immediate openings in the bullpen or rotation and Wesley Wright will eventually be back. Gamboa was already called up for a few days this year but didn't appear in a game. The Orioles added him to the 40 man roster a second time this past winter as a minor league free agent, but have already removed him once, during the prior off-season, shortly after adding him. Dylan Bundy will be out of options and must be on the Opening Day roster 2016 barring any injuries.

While the 40 man roster is currently full, the team will lose Chen, Hunter, Norris, O'Day, W. Wright, Wieters, Pearce, Davis, DeAza, and Young will all come off the roster for free agency in early November. During the season, Garcia, Lavarnway, Clevenger, Navarro, Drake, and Gamboa could all risk losing their spots. As for this off-season, Davies, Kline, and Givens will be added to the 40 man roster. If not already added, I think Rowen, McCoy, and Johnson will also be added. From a pure depth standpoint, Bridwell and Hobgood will be left exposed to the Rule 5. Jason Esposito is the only positional prospect that might warrant protection. There will be an abundance of spots to add/protect players that could help in 2016, but I doubt we see many additions to the 40 man roster during the season, perhaps for Steve Johnson.

2016 Outlook

If there is a word to describe the 2016 club, it is flexibility. The team will be shedding up to ~$28M in current payroll, with $10-12M going to Britton, Tillman, and Gonzalez in arbitration raises. The team could have up to 2 rotation spots and 5 bullpen spots available and most of the answers will have options, providing flexibility to change as the season wears on. The nice thing is we have viable options for all roles that will be available. The Opening Day rotation will likely feature Tillman, Gonzalez, Jimenez, Gausman, and Bundy, with Wright, Wilson, Davies, or McFarland as backup options. The bullpen will likely feature Britton and Brach as the only stalwarts, with a whole new cast of characters, possibly including a free agent signing or Rule 5 pitcher. Needless to say, the Orioles are deep in pitching and aren't in a position to lose much of it for several years, though a trade might be necessary to clear out some of the logjam for the next wave of pitching led by Hunter Harvey.

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What are the chances that O'Day will sign for 4M/year. Slight or none?

I have to think the O's will have no more than two rookies in the pen to start the 2016 season. To have more sounds like a way to fail IMO.

I had hoped they could or can find a way to get a new arm up this year so they can get adjusted now.

I think SJohnson will find a way into the bullpen, one less rookie.

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I think you underestimate how much Chen could make. It very well could be over 16 mil. Career ERA 3.81, Porcello has a career ERA of 4.33 and is getting 20mil a year. A bad contract, probably, but Chen could easily get more than 16 a year.

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Excellent post. I don't think you will find a better summary of the Orioles situation even in the professional baseball press.

KG will join Tillman, Ubaldo, and Miguel in the rotation. Of course the O's will do everything possible to have Bundy pitching in the big leagues hopefully as a starter, but maybe he starts in the pen in Gausman's role.

I also really like Tyler Wilson as a starter if Bundy falters. If not, he can take a spot as a long man.

I would be dollars to donuts we will have another Rule 5 guy in the mix.

The one thing we don't have in the system is a dependable LOOGY type to replace Matusz. Who knows, he may stick yet another year. With some payroll flexibility I could see us re-signing Wesley Wright if he has a good year, or going after somebody like Bastardo who will not get closer money.

If I had to pick today, assuming no free agents, with next man up in parentheses:

Rotation: Tillman, Ubaldo, Gausman, Gonzo, Wilson (Bundy)

Closer: Britton

LHP: Matusz???

Middle: Brach, Davies (Mike Wright)

7th/8th: Bundy, Drake

Longman: Rule 5 (TJ)

Late innings will be scary, at least until we get a couple guys locked in!

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What are the chances that O'Day will sign for 4M/year. Slight or none?

I have to think the O's will have no more than two rookies in the pen to start the 2016 season. To have more sounds like a way to fail IMO.

If O'Day produces in 2015 like he has the last three years, he's looking at something in the 3/$20 mm range.

I think Buck will use September to audition a few guys for spots in the 2016 bullpen. That's what he did in September 2011 with Troy Patton and Pedro Strop, then they picked up O'Day and Ayala cheaply in the offseason and obtained Lindstrom in the Guthrie trade. So, 5 of the 7 relievers on the 2012 Opening Day staff were relatively new to the team. I think you'll see a similar approach in 2016.

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If O'Day produces in 2015 like he has the last three years, he's looking at something in the 3/$20 mm range.

I think Buck will use September to audition a few guys for spots in the 2016 bullpen. That's what he did in September 2011 with Troy Patton and Pedro Strop, then they picked up O'Day and Ayala cheaply in the offseason and obtained Lindstrom in the Guthrie trade. So, 5 of the 7 relievers on the 2012 Opening Day staff were relatively new to the team. I think you'll see a similar approach in 2016.

If the O's are in the the pennant race in September Buck will not be doing much auditioning. Yes, they will call up some minor leaguers but the amount of playing time they will get will be minimized.

I agree that O'Day could get 3/20 if he has a good year. I don't think it will be from the O's though. DD is going to have to be a little creative to build the 2016 team and contend. He should have some money to work with.

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The great thing is we are in position to replace SP for cheap. Usually SP costs quite a bit. We should be okay, but if Chen accepts the QO, we can easily absorb it. I wouldn't spend too much on the bullpen, you can find replacements easily (Oday, Brach). We also have ALOT of minor arms that could easily fill in. I love how this has been set up.

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The OP is pretty much the same way I had things laid out in a previous thread. I'm sure, assuming DD is still here, that we'll get the usual glut of depth signings. He'll go for a cheap bullpen arm or two or four to supplement the other candidates. I suspect we see Cesar Cabral and about 2 or 3 other LHP signings competing for one or tw roles next year. McFarland will probably still be around. The biggest question will be who are the 7th and 8th inning guys. It would be hard to believe that rookies like Wright and Givens would go into the season with those roles.

I do remember reading your post a while back, but couldn't find it. I do credit you with bringing Cabral to the attention of the board. I would have never thought to look him up but he could be valuable. The two option years help.

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If O'Day produces in 2015 like he has the last three years, he's looking at something in the 3/$20 mm range.

I think Buck will use September to audition a few guys for spots in the 2016 bullpen. That's what he did in September 2011 with Troy Patton and Pedro Strop, then they picked up O'Day and Ayala cheaply in the offseason and obtained Lindstrom in the Guthrie trade. So, 5 of the 7 relievers on the 2012 Opening Day staff were relatively new to the team. I think you'll see a similar approach in 2016.

I can see O'Day getting that contract. I suggested the lower AAV after a previous post had suggested that sidearmers don't usually don't get as much as regular bullpen arms. I am not against having O'Day back but not sure it is the best usage of resources.

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  • 4 weeks later...
The Incumbents

The 2015 Opening Day rotation featured 5 stalwarts ? Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yen Chen, Bud Norris, and Ubaldo Jimenez. The rotation features two players who are free agents to be and three players with three years of control left. The two free agents to be ? Bud Norris and Wie-Yen Chen ? are unlikely to be Orioles after the 2015 season. Chen is in the final year of a $15.5M free agent deal that had been signed prior to the 2012 season. Chen has provided an excess of value against his contract and will be looking at $10M+ per year on the open market after the 2015 season. Norris will be a free agent, after earning $8.8M in his final year of arbitration. The Orioles will likely offer a Qualifying Offer (QO) to Chen, which will be approximately $16M for the 2016 season. Chen will not see an Annual Average Value (AAV) of $16M in a new deal but a team will likely part with a draft pick to land a 4 year contract in the realm of $50M. On a personal note, I see Chen signing with a team that has already forfeited their top pick for a front line starter and Chen will only cost their second pick. ?Worst case,? Chen (30) accepts the QO and the Orioles are paying him $16M on a one year deal. Norris (31) on the other hand, will not see a QO, as he will be too much of a risk of being the first player to accept a QO. Both pitchers will see their value diminished due to the other available options, not limited to Johnny Cueto (30), Doug Fister (32), Zack Greinke (32), Scott Kazmir (32), Ian Kennedy (31), Mat Latos (28), David Price (30), and Jordan Zimmerman (30).

On the controlled side, Ubaldo Jimenez is in the second year of a four year worth approximately $50M. Chris Tillman ($4.3M) and Miguel Gonzalez ($3.275M) are both in their first year of arbitration, with two more rounds of arbitration to go. All three are likely to remain with the Orioles in 2016, especially with the question marks of possibly losing two starting pitchers to free agencies. In the off chance Wei-Yen Chen were to accept the QO, the team could look to trade a pitcher, most likely Tillman or Chen, for a positional player.

The Opening Day bullpen consisted of 8 pitchers ? Zach Britton ($3.2M), Tommy Hunter ($4.65M), Darren O?Day ($4.25M), Kevin Gausman (~510K), Brian Matusz ($3.2M), Wesley Wright ($1.7M), Brad Brach (~510K), and Jason Garcia (~510K). The Orioles have three agents to be ? Tommy Hunter, Darren O?Day, and Wesley Wright ? as well as a non-tender candidate in Brian Matusz. If there is one word to describe the bullpen it is inflexibility. Gausman is the only player with options remaining but is also one of the best pitchers on the team, though his handling has been controversial. Jason Garcia, the team?s lone remaining Rule 5 pick, might not even make it through the season. Wesley Wright has been unable to provide any value to the Os, suffering an injury in ST and eventually falling on the DL after a few days during the season. Brian Matusz, who most believe shouldn?t have been on the team in 2015, will face another tendering deadline.

The bullpen will likely be highly revamped in 2016. Hunter, Wright, and Matusz are all likely to let go and left unpursued by the team in free agency. O?Day is the most likely to return if he is willing to remain at his current $4M AAV, though the Orioles did acquire another sidearmer in Ben Rowen from the Dodgers. If Garcia is retained by the Orioles, he will likely be sent to AAA for more seasoning. Brad Brach is what he is, and while eligible for arbitration for the first time, he will most likely remain as a middle reliever, if he makes it through the 2015 season. Kevin Gausman should be stepping up to fill one of the two potential vacancies in the rotation, though there is a minor chance he could remain as a set-up man to Zach Britton. Britton will be in an interesting position, as a closer who scored big as a super two. He still has three rounds of arbitration left and may not be an Oriole for all three trips through arbitration. There are several minor league pitchers that could fill the holes left in the Orioles? bullpen for 2016, but DD has shown a tendency to pick up a middle reliever on the FA market, while also taking players in the rule 5 draft, so I highly doubt all openings are filled internally.

The Minors

For the first time in a long time, there is a logjam in the upper minors. The Orioles? 40 man roster is flooded with options (and their remaining options after this year) ? Mike Wright (2), Tyler Wilson (2), TJ McFarland (1), Oliver Drake (1), Eddie Gamboa (2), Dylan Bundy (0), and Tim Berry (1). There are also non-roster options ? Steve Johnson (0), Zach Davies, Cesar Cabral (2), Pat McCoy (2), Mychal Givens, Chris Jones, Ben Rowen (2), and Brandon Kline ? knocking on the door. And you have former major leaguers in Michael Bowden, Pedro Beato, Dane De La Rosa, and Chaz Roe that could serve in an emergency.

At the moment, there are no immediate openings in the bullpen or rotation and Wesley Wright will eventually be back. Gamboa was already called up for a few days this year but didn?t appear in a game. The Orioles added him to the 40 man roster a second time this past winter as a minor league free agent, but have already removed him once, during the prior off-season, shortly after adding him. Dylan Bundy will be out of options and must be on the Opening Day roster 2016 barring any injuries.

While the 40 man roster is currently full, the team will lose Chen, Hunter, Norris, O?Day, WWright, Wieters, Pearce, Davis, DeAza, and Young will all come off the roster for free agency in early November. During the season, Garcia, Lavarnway, Clevenger, Navarro, Drake, and Gamboa could all risk losing their spots. As for this off-season, Davies, Kline, and Givens will be added to the 40 man roster. If not already added, I think Rowen, McCoy, and Johnson will also be added. From a pure depth standpoint, Bridwell and Hobgood will be left exposed to the Rule 5. Jason Esposito is the only positional prospect that might warrant protection. There will be an abundance of spots to add/protect players that could help in 2016, but I doubt we see many additions to the 40 man roster during the season, perhaps for Steve Johnson.

2016 Outlook

If there is a word to describe the 2016 club, it is flexibility. The team will be shedding up to ~$28M in current payroll, with $10-12M going to Britton, Tillman, and Gonzalez in arbitration raises. The team could have up to 2 rotation spots and 5 bullpen spots available and most of the answers will have options, providing flexibility to change as the season wears on. The nice thing is we have viable options for all roles that will be available. The Opening Day rotation will likely feature Tillman, Gonzalez, Jimenez, Gausman, and Bundy, with Wright, Wilson, Davies, or McFarland as backup options. The bullpen will likely feature Britton and Brach as the only stalwarts, with a whole new cast of characters, possibly including a free agent signing or Rule 5 pitcher. Needless to say, the Orioles are deep in pitching and aren?t in a position to lose much of it for several years, though a trade might be necessary to clear out some of the logjam for the next wave of pitching led by Hunter Harvey.

We have seen Drake, Wilson, and Wright (along with Roe and McFarland.)

It would be great if those 3 wound up having a good, long future with the Orioles.

We'll see what happens.

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Thanks for all the hard work and thought that went into this.

I hope Chen is around next year, whether via the QO or otherwise. The only other lefties on the current 40-man are Britton, TJ, Matusz, Berry and Wesley Wright. I think it's valuable to have a lefty starter at Camden Yards and even more so at Yankee Stadium. Without Chen, it's pretty clear we won't have one.

I think O'Day and Britton are an effective combination for the back of the pen, and I think there would be value in preserving that for another couple of years while working in the new guys. I don't see O'Day closing for another team, and if that's right it should put a ceiling on his salary. He's not Andrew Miller.

I'm curious what others' thoughts are about spending for next year. I expect to see some combination of Parmalee, Walker, Parades and Pearce at 1B, so I don't anticipate a big-dollar signing for the IF as long as Hardy seems fit (Schoop too, I guess). More likely we draft a SS this year or next, I think. I doubt Buck wants a full-time DH. I think we have our catcher, and I'm encouraged by what I see so far in Clevenger as a back-up. So we're back to a big bat corner outfielder/DH who won't hurt us too much on defense, and possibly some help for the pen, while being on the lookout for an opportunity that presents itself (like Cruz last year). What else will we be looking for?

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I don't see Chen as being around in 2016.

Not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but with Boras as an agent and the guy is a LH SP, its pretty given that some team will overpay and thats not something DD will likely do.

Again, just my opinion.

And I agree about the need for at least 1 lefty starter in the lineup, and it wasnt a popular opinion in OH.

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