The Orioles have acquired pitcher Logan Verrett again. They took the right-hander as one of two Rule 5 picks they added in December 2014. Verrett was selected from the Mets. He eventually made it back to New York and the O's added him in a deal yesterday from the Mets for cash considerations.
In this space Wednesday, we wondered if the Orioles could part with right-hander Vance Worley, who is arbitration-eligible, and Verrett's addition would seem to make it tougher for the O's to now keep Worley.
They now have several candidates for a long-relief, spot-starter type of role that Worley filled so well in 2016. Those candidates include at least Verrett, Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright, Joe Gunkel, Jason Garcia, Jayson Aquino, Chris Lee and Parker Bridwell, all of whom are on the 40-man roster.
Verrett went 1-2 with a 3.59 ERA in the majors in 2015 between Texas and New York. Last year for the Mets, he was 3-8 with a 5.20 ERA over 91 2/3 innings. He went 1-6 with a 6.45 ERA in 12 starts and 2-2 with a 2.84 ERA in 23 games out of the bullpen.
Verrett will be making at or near the major league minimum in 2017 and is not even arbitration-eligible until at least the end of the 2018 season. He also has one option left, which could be important for a pitcher on the bubble between Triple-A and the majors.
Verrett was ranked by Baseball America among a team's top 30 prospects list for five straight years:
* No. 26 for Mets before 2012
* No. 26 for Mets before 2013
* No. 20 for Mets before 2014
* No. 24 for Orioles before 2015
* No. 18 for Mets before 2016
Here is an excerpt of the writeup on Verrett from the last ranking:
"Verrett spent most of the 2015 season at Triple-A Las Vegas but made the most of his big league looks, especially in August and September when he helped patch holes in a six-man rotation designed to provide a breather for the Mets' young starters. However, he probably fits best in a middle relief or swingman role.
"Verrett pitches at 90 mph as a starter but can top out at 94 in short bursts, and his above-average, mid-80s slider features tight rotation and is his best swing-and-miss pitch. He throws an average changeup in both roles and adds a fringy curveball when he starts. Without a plus pitch, Verrett has a small margin for error, but used in the right role he can be a valuable member of a pitching staff."
One difference between Verrett on the farm and in the big leagues has been in walk rate. While he averaged just 1.94 walks per nine innings in the minors, his walk rate has been 3.75 in the big leagues.
New team and new league: New Orioles pitching coach Roger McDowell was a guest on MLB Network's "Hot Stove" show yesterday.
He was Atlanta's pitching coach from 2006-2016. During that time, the Braves pitching staff went 905-876 and ranked fourth among major league clubs with a 3.88 ERA. McDowell was asked about now coaching in the American League.
"The difference in the lineup is really a big point where you don't have the pitcher hitting," he said. "Now you have a full lineup. The American League East is a very difficult division, one I had experience with as a player at the end of my career.
"But in the big picture, it comes down to execution of pitches. Lineups are going to change. We are going to play and pitch to the lineup. Hopefully, we execute our pitches on a consistent basis and at the end of the day come out with a W."
New CBA: Major League Baseball's players union and owners repesentatives reached agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement last night, hours ahead of the deadline to get that done. There will be no lockout and the business of baseball - including signings, trades and next week's Winter Meetings - goes on. The new deal will run for five years starting with the 2017 season.
Until we get some further extensive details and MLB's announcement of the new agreement, here were a few aspects of it reported last night through various national reporters and on MLB Network:
* There will be no addition of a 26th roster spot. The roster size for September remains 40.
* There will be no international draft. There is expected to be a cap on the amount teams can spend on the signings of international amateurs.
* The luxury tax threshold will increase to about $195 million (up from $189 million) and increase to $210 million over five years. Teams that have payrolls that go over those amounts pay a tax on the overage. The previous highest tax rate was 50 percent, but now that number may climb into the 60-to-70 percent rate for clubs whose payroll ranges into the $250 million mark.
* The compensation for teams signing free agents is going to change. Right now teams signing a free agent that turned down a qualifying offer lose a first-round pick. Starting with next offseason, free agent compensation will be handled differently.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, a team that signs a qualifying offer free agent, if it exceeds the luxury tax threshold, will lose second-round and fifth-round picks and $1 million in international bonus signing money. A team that signs a qualifying offer free agent, if it does not exceed the luxury tax threshold, will lose a third-round pick.
The current rules will stay in effect for these free agents for this offseason. That means a team signing a player that turned down a qualifying offer (like Mark Trumbo) must still lose a first-round pick. The team losing those players will get a compensation pick between the first and second rounds.