I’ve been pleading with the Orioles to do something this week. Trade a player. Sign a player. Announce their minor league staffs. Release the names of all the six-year minor league free agents that are under contract. Anything to make my job a little easier.
Purely for selfish reasons. I admit it.
Perhaps we’ll find out today that outfielder Coco Crisp has signed with the Orioles. That’s the hot rumor, which I couldn’t get confirmed late last night. If it’s true, executive vice president Dan Duquette is keeping a lot of people in the dark.
Also, Scott Swaim of MLBInsideNews tweeted around midnight that the Orioles and Braves are making progress on an Adam Jones trade, according to a source. Pitcher Jair Jurrjens would be involved.
So much for building around Jones.
I have mixed feelings about parting with Jones. He’s a prime trade chip who would bring plenty in return and hopefully speed up the rebuilding process, but his departure would leave a gaping hole in center field. Crisp can’t fill those spikes.
Jones is exactly the kind of player this organization has been unable to develop. His arrival in the Erik Bedard trade was celebrated for that reason. But if he’s going to leave as a free agent in two years, this is the right time to move him - while his value is at its highest.
Pitching remains the top priority for Duquette, and it’s understandable if you consider the stats I passed along yesterday regarding the rotation.
Don’t bother hitting the refresh button on your memory. I’ll do it for you:
Orioles starting pitchers led the majors by allowing five runs or more in 56 games - five more than Houston and Minnesota. The Orioles had 60 quality starts, the fewest in the majors and 11 fewer than Boston and Colorado.
Two free agent starters who seem unlikely to sign here are Roy Oswalt and Edwin Jackson, and for different reasons.
Oswalt reportedly is willing to take a one-year deal and re-enter the market next winter. His demands have been lowered, which normally would work in the Orioles’ favor. However, they’re not a team that brings a lot of appeal to a pitcher who’s trying to put up big numbers and raise his value.
They’re in the wrong division, with plenty of games scheduled against the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays. They’ve been the worst team in that division. And the ball tends to fly out of Camden Yards.
The Orioles aren’t a favorable destination for Oswalt.
So what about Jackson?
Well, he reportedly is seeking a five-year deal. I find it hard to believe that he’ll get it, but that’s his current mission.
MLBTradeRumor’s Tim Dierkes speculated that Jackson will sign a contract closer to four years and $44 million. That’s still a length that stretches beyond Duquette’s comfort zone. He’s stated that three years has always been his limit for a free agent pitcher.
Jackson, 28, has played for six teams in nine years - four in the last three years and three in the last two. He’s 60-60 with a 4.46 ERA and 1.476 WHIP. But he’s totaled 183 1/3, 214, 209 1/3 and 199 2/3 innings in the past four seasons, and he went a combined 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA with the White Sox and Cardinals in 2011.
Teams in pursuit will need to overlook the postseason. Jackson allowed six runs and 11 hits, including four homers, in 6 1/3 innings over two starts in the National League Championship Series, and three runs and three hits, with seven walks, in 5 1/3 innings in his only World Series start.
A few other Jackson tidbits:
* He has a career 5.60 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in September, and opponents are batting .301 against him.
* He’s 2-4 with a 5.49 ERA in 13 games (10 starts) against the Red Sox, and they’re batting .307 against him.
* He’s 2-6 with a 5.35 ERA in 16 games (12 starts) against the Yankees.
* He’s 5-1 with a 3.61 ERA in nine games (seven starts) against the Orioles, who are batting .222 against him.
He won’t be pitching for the Orioles in 2012. You can take it to the bank.
You might be standing behind him in line when he’s cashing that fat check. And if I’m wrong, it’s only because he has direct deposit.