Free-agent starters who make the most sense for the Orioles; Kline calls it quits - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Free-agent starters who make the most sense for the Orioles; Kline calls it quits

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

The Orioles would like to add starting pitching candidates and, according to MLBTradeRumors.com, there are a number of free-agent starters out there. Here’s a list:

Brett Anderson (33)
Tyler Anderson (31)
Chase Anderson (33)
Chris Archer (32)
Jake Arrieta (35)
Homer Bailey (35)
Trevor Bauer (30)
Trevor Cahill (33)
Tyler Chatwood (31)
Mike Fiers (36)
Mike Foltynewicz (29)
Zack Godley (31)
Gio Gonzalez (35)
Cole Hamels (37)
J.A. Happ (38)
Felix Hernandez (35)
Rich Hill (41)
Corey Kluber (35)
Mike Leake (33)
Wade LeBlanc (36)
Jon Lester (37)
Tommy Milone (34)
Matt Moore (32)
Jimmy Nelson (32)
Ivan Nova (34)
Jake Odorizzi (31)
James Paxton (32)
Martin Perez (30)
Rick Porcello (32)
Jose Quintana (32)
Garrett Richards (33)
Carlos Rodon (28)
Tyson Ross (34)
Jeff Samardzija (36)
Anibal Sanchez (37)
Matt Shoemaker (34)
Masahiro Tanaka (32)
Julio Teheran (30)
Adam Wainwright (39)
Taijuan Walker (28)
Trevor Williams (29)
Alex Wood (30)
Jordan Zimmermann (35)

A number aren’t realistic fits for the Orioles. They’ll command multi-year contracts or one-year contracts with high guarantees.

In the past two years, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias signed two free-agent pitchers to major league contracts — Nate Karns in 2019 and Kohl Stewart last season.

Karns pitched just four times for the Orioles in 2019. Stewart opted out in the early days of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Left-handers Wade LeBlanc and Tommy Milone, who were signed by the Orioles to minor league contracts last season, are back on the market.

Some of the most recognizable names wouldn’t be logical fits. Let’s take a look at some who might make sense:

Brett Anderson: He’s a 33-year-old left-hander who has pitched for six teams in a 12-year career that began in 2009. Anderson’s lifetime record is 63-65 with a 4.06 ERA.

In 2019, Anderson was 13-9 with a 3.89 ERA with Oakland. Last year, he was 4-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 10 starts with Milwaukee.

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Manager Brandon Hyde knows Anderson because because he spent the first four months of the season with the Chicago Cubs in 2017. He had a rough time in Chicago (8.18 ERA in six starts).

A year ago, Anderson had a $5 million contract with the Brewers. If the market continues to be soft and his price comes down,  the Orioles might be interested.

Tyler Anderson: The San Francisco Giants didn’t offer him a contract last month after he compiled a 4-3 record and a 4.71 ERA in 13 games, 11 starts.

Anderson was a first-round pick by Colorado in the 2011 draft and is familiar to Elias. Adding another left-hander for a reasonable salary — his contract was for $1.775 million in 2020 — might be attractive.

Trevor Cahill: Here’s another pitcher with whom Hyde is familiar. Cahill pitched for the Cubs in 2015 and 2016 as a reliever.

In his 12-year career for eight teams, Cahill has mostly started. Last year, he was 1-2 with a 3.24 ERA for the Giants in 11 games, six starts.

He had to settle for a minor league deal last season and may well have to again.

Zack Godley: The 30-year-old began his professional career in 2013 in the Cubs’ organization when Hyde was the team’s farm director. They traded him to Arizona after the 2014 season.

Godley had a big year with the Diamondbacks in 2018, going 15-11 with a 4.74 ERA, but he’s declined in the past two years.

Last year, Detroit let him go during summer camp, and he was 0-4 with an 8.18 ERA in four starts with Boston.

It’s likely he’ll have to settle for a minor league contract.

Ivan Nova: The Orioles know Nova, who pitched for the Yankees from 2010-2016. In recent years, some have speculated Nova could be a fit with the Orioles, but he was always out of their price range.

After a disappointing season –1-1 with an 8.53 ERA in four starts with Detroit — Nova is again a free agent and he might have to settle for a contract even less than the $1.5 million one he signed a year ago.

Tyson Ross: Over his 10-year career, Ross is 44-70 with a 4.04 ERA with five teams. Ross opted out of the 2020 season.

If Ross would elects to play again in 2021, an incentive-laden contract could work for him.

NOTE: Branden Kline, 29, who was the Orioles’ second-round draft choice in 2012, announced his retirement on Wednesday morning on his Instagram account, saying he wanted to spend more time with family and on spiritual matters. Kline was 1-4 with a 5.48 ERA in 37 games with the Orioles in 2019 and 2020. The Frederick native was removed from the 40-man roster after the season.

Here’s what Kline wrote:

Dear Baseball,
We both knew this day would eventually come……Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, and my family, over the past 25 years! You’ve given me great friends, life-changing experiences, as well as a career that I’ve cherished for the last 8 years. I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family and being more involved in spiritual matters. One of my favorite scriptures throughout this whole process has been Matthew 6:33- “ Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” I especially want to thank @thisistomfoolery and the team at @caabaseball for taking care of me over the last decade, as well as @orioles for taking a chance on a local boy! I’m happy to officially announce my retirement from this wonderful game. It’s been a fun ride ✌🏽

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. schusscg26

    January 13, 2021 at 8:26 am

    Good morning, Rich. Nice article, and I agree with those possible matches you listed with the possible exception of Ivan Nova. A couple of these pitchers at the right price would definitely benefit the rotation depth. Depending on final agreed roster size, might allow Brandon Hyde to go with 6-man rotation in order to better manage innings for the young guys who haven’t pitched over 100 innings in the majors before. Thanks, and have a wonderful Wednesday,

    Chip

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 13, 2021 at 9:09 am

      Thank you, Chip.

  2. mmcmillan1123

    January 13, 2021 at 9:51 am

    It would be nice if the O’s could get a good veteran to mentor a young pitching staff. Alex Cobb could have been that guy but he has been hurt thru much of his tenure here. The O’s went out and got Robin Roberts in 1963 and we won the World Series the year after he left. We may not be quite there yet but at least we now have good young pitching to mentor.

    • Orial

      January 13, 2021 at 12:07 pm

      Stick to what you’ve got. Lopez,Means,Cobb are enough veteran leadership. Build around them with the “so- called” you guns. I guess Kline’s heart isn’t in to it. A lot of young pitchers would keep trying/hoping to latch on somewhere. Hey to each their own.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      January 13, 2021 at 12:08 pm

      Who’s to say that Cobb hasn’t been a mentor already? And who’s to say he won’t be this year?

  3. VICTORTEE

    January 13, 2021 at 10:35 am

    I hear Elias went to the Family Dollar yesterday. He is going to Ollies Bargain Store today. He is looking for a shortstop and a starting pitcher in the bargain bin.

  4. willmiranda

    January 13, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    I’m amazed at the sheer number of free agent pitchers and appreciate Rich’s paring down the list with some significant details. I also enjoyed mmc’s reference to Robin Roberts, one of my all-time favorites although his best years were behind him when he came to Baltimore. Maybe it’s that bias that makes me think that no one on the current list would be a mentor of Roberts’ caliber. Although two of the existing four are still untested, maybe bringing up another young arm for baptism by fire might not be a bad idea. Or maybe rotate a couple in and out over the course of the season.

    • Bancells Moustache

      January 13, 2021 at 12:12 pm

      Exactly. “Here’s the ball, kid. You got 7 innings to earn a lucrative career doing what you love. Show me something”

  5. Bancells Moustache

    January 13, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    Meh. Whoever they get will just be a random arm. I’m fine with rolling with Cobb, Means, Kremer, Akin and whoever wants it more in Sarasota. Give me youth. If they are rebuilding, then rebuild, don’t roll out some 33 year old dude with a 4 era because you need a warm body to throw the ball.

    • CalsPals

      January 13, 2021 at 12:15 pm

      Again, couldn’t have said it better, spot on…play the youngens…go O’s…

    • Bhoffman1

      January 13, 2021 at 3:47 pm

      Said perfectly if you can’t sign a Archer or someone with else with a lot of upside potential then go with the youth instead of a retread just because they come cheap and Elias is familiar with them

    • CalsPals

      January 13, 2021 at 5:15 pm

      I’d stay away from Archer, he’s not been decent since the Rays traded him…go O’s…

  6. Boog Robinson Robinson

    January 13, 2021 at 4:23 pm

    I don’t see anything is that list that excites me. Besides, it just doesn’t matter. Anybody that pitches in our park is going to get hammered.

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