Now that the Yankees have signed Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to a reported seven-year, $155 million deal, the rest of the free agent market should open wide for business. Isn't that the theory? Or maybe we should stick to the domino analogy.
As far as the Orioles are concerned, it doesn't suddenly increase their interest in Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez, who would cost a first-round pick.
It doesn't suddenly make Matt Garza more affordable. Or Bronson Arroyo more inclined to accept a two-year deal. Or A.J. Burnett more inclined to make a quick decision on whether to retire.
That ship has sailed anyway. Check the date.
Does Jason Hammel suddenly find the appeal in signing a one-year deal to come back to the Orioles? Probably not.
Teams that lost out on Tanaka could be forced to dig deeper into their wallets, which leaves the Orioles in their usual predicament.
Acquiring a veteran innings-eater remains their top priority. Doing so without spending for it? As I've written many times... good luck.
Tanaka was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA for the Rakuten Golden Eagles. He's only 25. And the Orioles never stood a chance in the bidding, since they refused to pony up the $20 million posting fee and weren't getting anywhere near a seven-year commitment.
The door to the international market is open wider than in previous years, but it still swings shut. Watch your fingers.
Tanaka's contract includes an opt-out clause after the fourth year. Maybe the Orioles...
Anyway, the Yankees rotation now includes Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova. The Red Sox counter with Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy and John Lackey. The Rays rotation includes David Price, Alex Cobb, Matt Moore and Chris Archer. The Blue Jays counter with Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, Brandon Morrow, maybe J.A. Happ and whichever free agent innings-eater signs with them.
The Orioles rotation currently stacks up as Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Bud Norris. The fifth spot is wide open.
The wallet is not.
Jack Cust update: It doesn't appear that the Orioles will sign Cust to a minor league deal, according to a few people I've contacted. However, there's still a chance that he could be invited to the minor league mini-camp to be held on Feb. 22. Depends whether he's still available and interested.
Of course, things can change quickly. Heck, I remember when outfielder Tyler Colvin took his physical exactly one week ago and the Orioles were expected to announce his signing the following day.
Any chance that they decided to negotiate a minor league deal, similar to the situation last winter with Jair Jurrjens? I'm just floating an idea. I have no idea and have lost all interest.
Note: Individual tickets for all 15 of the Orioles' spring training games at Ed Smith Stadium will go on sale Saturday, Jan. 25 at 10 a.m. It's recommended that fans purchase tickets online or by phone.
Fans interested in season tickets, five game flex-plans or group tickets, or those wishing to receive additional spring training ticket information may call the Orioles spring training office at 941-893-6300.
Spring training tickets for Orioles home games at Ed Smith Stadium may be purchased in the following ways:
THROUGH THE INTERNET: Tickets can be purchased at the Orioles' official website, www.orioles.com/spring.
BY PHONE: Individual game tickets can be purchased by phone by calling 877-222-2802. Season, five game flex-plans, group tickets, suites and other specialty areas are available by calling 941-893-6300.
BY FAX OR MAIL: Individual game ticket orders can be faxed or mailed to the Orioles Box Office in Sarasota. The fax number is 941-893-6375. The mailing address is 2700 12th St., Sarasota, 34237. To request a ticket order form, call the Orioles at 941-893-6300 or download the order form at www.orioles.com/spring.
AT THE BALLPARK: Individual game tickets can be purchased in person at Ed Smith Stadium in the Left Field Ticket Office, located at 12th St. and Tuttle Ave. The box office will be open on Jan. 25 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. and will then be open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., from Jan. 27 until Feb. 7. From Feb. 10 to March 27, the box office will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking is available in the East Lot, located on 12th St. and Tuttle Ave.
TRAVEL PACKAGE: The Orioles are offering the official Spring Training Travel Package that includes hotel accommodations, rental car, game tickets, optional airfare through Southwest Airlines and other amenities. For more information or to order travel packages, fans should visit www.orioles.com/springtravel or call 1-800-892-7687.
The Orioles will play their first exhibition games on March 1 at 1:05 p.m. against the Blue Jays.