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For the second straight year, the Orioles’ veteran leader of the pitching staff parlayed his time in Baltimore to a more lucrative deal.
In 2022, Jordan Lyles, who was 12-11 with a 4.42 earned-run average in 178 innings and a mentor to the younger pitchers, spun that year into a two-year, $17 million deal with the Kansas City Royals. He made $7 million in his year with the Orioles. Lyles had a rough year with the Royals with a 6-17 record and a 6.28 ERA. Those 17 losses led Major League Baseball.
On Tuesday, Kyle Gibson, who finished a one-year, $10 million contract and led the Orioles in wins (15) and innings pitched (192), signed a one-year, $12 million deal with an option for 2025 with the St. Louis Cardinals.
That is an obvious win-win for Gibson and the Cardinals. He can replace the retired Adam Wainwright as a mentor for a team that had a disappointing 2023, get more money and a possible extra year. The biggest bonus is that he gets to play at home for the first time in his career.
The 36-year-old Gibson began his career with seven seasons in Minnesota, played three seasons in Texas and Philadelphia, playing in his first World Series, before signing with the Orioles last December.
For the second straight year, Gibson didn’t wait long to sign. He turned down a similar offer, reportedly from the Toronto Blue Jays, to sign with the Orioles.
His impact is positive wherever he goes. Gibson and his wife are active in numerous charities, and he’ll be able to concentrate on helping those in need in the St. Louis area and get to play at home for the first time.
The Cardinals also signed another veteran starter on Tuesday, Lance Lynn, who began his career in St. Louis.
Gibson was always a stand-up guy in the clubhouse, accepting responsibility when he pitched poorly and not gloating when he pitched well.
The Cardinals, their fans and those who cover the team are fortunate to have him on the team for 2024.
Managerial trend: The San Diego Padres hired Mike Shildt as their manager on Tuesday. Shildt reportedly beat out Ryan Flaherty, who was a valuable utility player with the Orioles from 2012-2017 and was a Padres coach the last four seasons.
Shildt managed St. Louis from 2018-2021 and continues a trend among big league managers. Twelve of the 30 current managers, an all-time high, never played in the major leagues. Shildt is one of the few who didn’t even play professional ball.
Shildt joins Joe Espada (Houston), Carlos Mendoza (New York Mets) and Pat Murphy (Milwaukee) as newly hired managers without big league playing experience.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde had a brief minor league career as a catcher, playing 183 games in four seasons. However, it’s obvious from his success that major league playing experience isn’t a prerequisite or even an advantage.
Neither of the Orioles’ longest tenured managers, Earl Weaver and Buck Showalter, played in the majors. Dave Trembley, who managed the team from 2007-2010, was one of the rare managers who didn’t play pro ball.
No game times yet: The Orioles haven’t announced their game times for 2024 season, and here’s hoping that two trends from 2023 continue.
Last season, the Orioles began Monday-Thursday night games before Memorial Day and after Labor Day at 6:35 p.m. They also increased the number of weekday afternoon games.
I’d like to see all Monday-Thursday games begin at 6:35 throughout the season and more weekday afternoon games. I’d also like to see the Orioles try a few 1:05 p.m. games on Saturday, particularly early in the season when the weather is more likely to be cooler.
The 4:05 p.m. Saturday games seem to be popular, and I know we’ll continue to see more of them in 2024.
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