Breaking news: The Orioles aren’t expected to sign Edwin Jackson.
In other news, Rhode Island isn’t a road or an island, and Billy Cundiff isn’t automatic from inside the 35.
The Orioles weren’t going to give Jackson more than three guaranteed years for the money he’s been seeking, and he wasn’t going to sign with them for one year and re-enter the free-agent market next winter. Not when he’s looking to pitch for a contender and improve his value. That’s been the case all along.
I think it’s time to wish him the best and stop trying to force him into the rotation.
(If I’m wrong, we never had this conversation. The Orioles did apparently make an offer. So ... we’ll see. But it would be quite an upset if it happened.)
We made it through January, and it’s fair to question whether the Orioles have added an impact player to their roster. They’ve improved the depth - and I’ll stress again that it’s been sorely lacking in previous years - but have they gained any ground in the American League East?
Perhaps Taiwanese left-hander Wei-Yin Chen becomes an impact pitcher. We don’t know how he’ll adapt to major league competition and working on shorter rest. It’s a gamble. Same with Japanese lefty Tsuyoshi Wada.
Dana Eveland is rotation depth, and he’s going to have a hard time fitting into it with all the competition. He’s also out of minor league options, so he can’t be sent down without passing through waivers and coming off the 40-man roster.
Endy Chavez is an extra outfielder. He’s a useful bench player. He shouldn’t be starting six times a week.
Wilson Betemit is a versatile player who can be an effective hitter from the left side of the plate. He’s not an impact player, but he’s - yes - a useful one.
Taylor Teagarden is an upgrade behind the plate and he’ll give manager Buck Showalter the confidence to rest Matt Wieters more often - but backup catchers don’t qualify as impact players in my book.
Matt Antonelli? Ryan Flaherty? Potential starters at second base if Brian Roberts isn’t healthy. I’m especially curious about Flaherty, the Rule 5 selection who’s regarded as the organization’s seventh-best prospect by Baseball America. But I can’t hang the “impact” label on him. I’m more comfortable with “potential steal.”
Jai Miller? He’s got tools and will be given the chance to win a backup job in the outfield.
There’s also a bunch of minor league free agents, including pitcher Armando Galarraga, who will forever be known as the guy who was robbed of a perfect game.
Improved depth, greater competition.
Now that we’ve entered a new month, I’ll remind you that arbitration hearings can be scheduled between now and Feb. 21 in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Orioles have three unsigned players: Jeremy Guthrie, Adam Jones and Brad Bergesen.
Guthrie is requesting $10.25 million, and the Orioles countered at $7.25 million. He’s the most interesting case because of the gap between the two figures, and there’s a strong possibility that the Orioles will have their first hearing since 2006 (Rodrigo Lopez.)
Otherwise, it’s still an overblown story. A media obsession. Most fans don’t care how much these guys earn. They’re under contract. They won’t tank it because they didn’t get their full raise.
Jones submitted a figure of $7.4 million, and the Orioles countered at $5 million. Bergesen, a non-tender candidate earlier this winter, is seeking $1.2 million. The Orioles are offering $800,000.
I passed along this quote from executive vice president Dan Duquette back on Jan. 17, and it’s appropriate here:
“I’m not afraid to go to arbitration. I’ve gone to arbitration a few times with the Expos and a couple times with the Red Sox. I’m not afraid to go. I think it’s good for the club to go sometimes. Sometimes, you just can’t reach agreement because there’s a difference in evaluation. But for the most part, I’d prefer to settle a contract between the parties.”