Spring training starts in two weeks, and it can’t come soon enough. The weather will be warmer, and the Orioles will have signed another starting pitcher. Well, at the least the endless speculation about the Fearsome Foursome: Bronson Arroyo, A.J. Burnett, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana will stop.
Is it possible that at least one or two of these desirable pitchers will still be unsigned when spring training begins?
Last year, Kyle Lohse, who like Jimenez and Santana, required compensation, didn’t sign with Milwaukee until March 25.
It’s natural that teams don’t want to give up draft picks. Obviously, the Orioles aren’t eager to do so, but what’s stopping Arroyo from signing?
Burnett didn’t decide he wanted to pitch this year until this week. You would think he’d now make a decision quickly.
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Arroyo said he has received no hard offers from teams despite 12 of them sending feelers his way. That’s kind of hard to believe. Arroyo has never been on the disabled list, and even at 37 should be good for another two or perhaps three seasons.
Conventional wisdom was that after Masahiro Tanaka’s signing, the other marketable names would be taken off the market quickly. It hasn’t happened.
The Orioles would love to him Burnett—or Arroyo. Burnett would come on a one-year deal, Arroyo for more, but the way this bizarre offseason is moving, perhaps neither will sign until spring training is underway.
Other than Fernando Rodney, who may well be overvaluing himself, there are few other quality free agents available. Nelson Cruz, Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales are unsigned, but like Jimenez and Santana, they require compensation.
A few other former boldfaced names are still available, too: Vernon Wells and Michael Young as well as starting pitchers Bruce Chen, Jason Hammel, Tommy Hanson, Aaron Harang, Roy Oswalt, Johan Sanata, Joe Saunders and Barry Zito.
There are also more than a few recognizable relievers around: Luis Ayala, Kyle Farnsworth, Frank Francisco, Phil Humber, Carlos Marmo, Pat Neshek, Oliver Perez and Francisco Rodriguez.