The Orioles have nine players that are only signed through the end of the 2015 season. Those players include Bud Norris, Wei-Yin Chen, Darren O’Day, Tommy Hunter, Wesley Wright, Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, Steve Pearce and Delmon Young. Much of the contract talk, dating back last year, has been about whether the Orioles would even be players to sign Wieters and/or Davis. We’ll leave that speculation on the table for now and focus on pitching.
There are five pitchers who are playing for big money in 2016. Depending on their performances this summer and into fall, they Orioles may only be able to make a qualifying offer and let the rest of MLB duke it out over the big money contracts. Let’s take a more in-depth look.
The 30 year-old right-hander had a breakout year in 2014. He pitched to a 15-8 record in 28 games with a 3.65 ERA. He even got a win in the ALDS series against the Detroit Tigers. So far in 2015, he has had a disappointing performance. He has an inflated 9.88 ERA through six games with a 1-4 record. He was placed on the disabled list with Bronchitis and is scheduled to return to the team for the weekend series against the Indians in Cleveland. When he returns he’ll need to impress Buck Showalter if he wants to keep his starting role, otherwise he may be placed in the bullpen.
Current Contract: 1 yr/$8.8M
Chen is in his fourth year with the Orioles. The 29 year-old lefty has posted solid numbers in the last two seasons but hasn’t received the best run support. In 2014 he started 31 games with a 16-6 record and a 3.54 ERA. He might have been a 20-game winner if only he had bat support. He pitched in the 2012 ALDS against the Yankees and got a win. His start in the 2014 ALDS against the Tigers wasn’t as good. So far in 2015 he’s been consistent with a 3.21 ERA but again, lack of run support has his record at 1-4 in ten starts.
Current Contract: 4 yrs/$15.47M (2012-15) | 2015: $4,750,000
O’Day is a fan favorite for sure. Whether it’s his submariner style, his uni-cycle skills, or the fact that he just shuts down hitting, fans love to chant his name when he comes into the game. The 32 year-old righty is in his fourth year with Baltimore. In 2014, he posted a 1.70 ERA but wasn’t quite as successful in the postseason. So far in 2015 he’s entered 21 games and pitched 19.1 innings with a 0.93 ERA giving up 4 runs on 12 hits. He has potential to make a lot of money as a setup guy if he continues to be a dominant relief pitcher. His contract is dwarfed by Andrew Miller’s 4-year, $9M a year deal with the Yankees to be their closer. O’Day isn’t a closer but he could be up for a bigger deal.
Current Contract: 3 yrs/$9.65M (2013-15) | 2015: $4,250,000
Right-hander Tommy Hunter has been with the Orioles since 2011. “Big Game” Hunter currently has a 4.37 ERA in 22.2 IP in 22 games. He’s on of Buck’s go-to guys out of the bullpen and was even used as a closer early in 2014 (11 saves/ 6 blown) before Zach Britton took the role. Hunter has shown that he gets flustered at times and has been known to give up the long-ball from time to time (in 2012 he gave up 32). In 2013, Hunter was much more productive. He has already allowed almost half of the total runs and hits that he did all of last year.
Current Contract: 1 yr/$4.65M
Wesley Wright has only given a small sample size as far as numbers this year. The Orioles have high hopes for the 30 year old righty. He was placed on the 60-day disabled list while recovering from a strained left trapezius muscle. In the two games he posted a 5.40 ERA in just seven batters faced in 1.2 innings pitched. If he can come back and dominate the Orioles will of course be happy but may not be in play to re-sign him. He may be a good option for trade if the Orioles need to do so (they were willing to move him in Spring Training).
Current Contract: 1 yr/$1.7M