Karns expected to compete for Orioles' rotation spot - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Karns expected to compete for Orioles’ rotation spot

With pitchers and catchers set to report on Tuesday, the Orioles signed their first major league free agent of the offseason. Nate Karns, who didn’t pitch at all last season because of an elbow injury, agreed to a one-year, $800,000 contract.

Karns’ deal includes $200,000 in performance bonuses. He can earn $50,000 each for working 25, 50, 75 and 100 innings. If he makes the All-Star team, Karns would earn $50,000 and $25,000 if he’s voted Comeback Player of the Year.

The 31-year-old right-hander will presumably contend for the back end of the rotation. Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb are set as the top three starters while David Hess and Yefry Ramirez finished last season in the rotation, too.

At his best, Karns gives the Orioles something they’ve lacked from a starter, a strikeout artist. In his best two seasons, 2015 with Tampa Bay and 2016 with Seattle, Karns struck out roughly a batter an inning.

Overall, Karns is 16-11 with a 4.37 ERA in 63 games, 54 starts in five seasons with Washington, the Rays, Mariners and Kansas City.

In 2015, Karns was 7-5 with a 3.67 ERA in 147 innings. He struck out 145 batters for Tampa Bay. He made a career-high 27 appearances, all but one of them starts.

In two lifetime starts in Baltimore, Karns has allowed just one run on five hits in 11 innings for an 0.82 ERA.

Not only will Karns be competing with Hess and Ramirez, but he’ll likely also face competition from John Means, Luis Ortiz, Josh Rogers and Jimmy Yacabonis, all of whom appeared with the Orioles last season. Dillon Tate, who along with Rogers was acquired from the New York Yankees in the trade for Zack Britton last July, could also compete.

In order to make room for Karns on the 40-man roster, infielder Jack Reinheimer, a Jan. 28 waiver acquisition, was designated for assignment.


Changing names and terminology

The pitcher long known as Zach Britton announced on Twitter that he will now be known as Zack. He explained that Zack is his correct name, and Zach isn’t. His tweet: Breaking News: I will be going by my legal name “Zack” instead of my stage name “Zach”….. everyone continue to breath normally…


While Major League Baseball and the Players Association are discussing major changes in rules and regulations, one term has been discarded.

Because of objections by advocacy groups for the disabled, MLB will no longer use disabled list. It is being replaced by injured list. The rule takes effect immediately.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. bmorebirds

    February 8, 2019 at 7:34 am

    Let’s hope Karns’ Orioles physical is okayed by June. Don’t know why, I but I think Yacabonis will pleasantly surprise this spring.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 8, 2019 at 10:25 am

      He passed the physical and signed already, bmorebirds.

    • Ekim

      February 8, 2019 at 5:04 pm

      I’m with you, bmorebirds, on Yacabonis. He’s done everything asked of him and I thought his confidence had improved by the end of the year.

  2. DevoTion

    February 8, 2019 at 8:55 am

    It feels as though anyone who the O’s bring in this year is just filling space, and hoping that they have a good first half of the season so they can trade for younger players. If it works it’s a good philosophy, but it won’t work in a few years when the team needs good players to fill out needed areas

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 8, 2019 at 10:26 am

      This will be a fascinating season, Devo.

  3. ClyOs

    February 8, 2019 at 9:52 am

    I like this deal. If Karns doesn’t work out Oriole lose $800k . If Karns has a so so season like- 20 starts, 105k in 105 innings, an 4.75era, and goes 5-5,? it cost $1 mil. Not bad! I really don’t think All-Star or Come Back Player are going to be in the equation.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 8, 2019 at 10:27 am

      That’s what you pay agents for, ClyOs.

    • cedar

      February 8, 2019 at 2:27 pm

      I agree ClyOs. There is little downside to this deal being made. If he does make the all-star team then maybe he’s a major trade chip.

    • Disco Stupid

      February 10, 2019 at 2:52 am

      Ya it’s kinda hilarious these all star and comeback player award bonuses are included. 50,000$ for all star? If he is an all star that means he is worth millions to the big league club. Likewise 25k for come back player of the year means the orioles (and the team he is traded to) get TONS of surplus value and he gets a minor league salary as a bonus. But ok. Lol.
      Anyway I’m happy to have him.

  4. Orial

    February 8, 2019 at 10:21 am

    I guess I’m showing that after 58 years of obsessively following MLB I’m starting to slip off the mainstream of the present day game–I’ve never heard of Karns. Oh well. I love Elias(at least hope I do)but couldn’t he have at least added a lefty. Yes as previously mentioned these guys are all stop gaps/pieces as the “cavalry” arrives in 2020–2021.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 8, 2019 at 10:27 am

      Not many decent lefties out there, Orial.

  5. PC in OC

    February 8, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    What’s next

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 8, 2019 at 5:01 pm


    • Ekim

      February 8, 2019 at 5:09 pm

      Christmas, in 319 days… just sayin…


    February 9, 2019 at 9:34 am

    Right player, right price. Meaning he works CHEAP!!!

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