LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Ryan Webb was surprised when the Miami Marlins let him go last week. He was even more surprised when he got the call from Baltimore just hours later, offering him a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Orioles.
“They were one of the first ones to reach out to me and my agent," said Webb. "That's always a good sign. And it was literally hours after I was non-tendered by the Marlins. It's a good feeling when somebody's on you that quick. They've paid attention to me and probably wanted me for awhile.”
Webb’s a ground ball pitcher, and the team’s infield was a draw.
“Obviously, the defense there is amazing and that was a big part of my decision in the end. You always want to play behind a very good defense like the Orioles have. Their lineup is incredible. I think they're going to compete in that division and I want to help make them a playoff team,” Webb said.
Webb won’t be a closer with Baltimore. He'll most likely be a sixth or seventh inning pitcher. He doesn’t have a save in 266 big league appearances over five seasons with San Diego and Miami.
“Looking at Jim Johnson obviously leaving and the type of pitcher he was, it's always good to see sinker ball guys like that that are kind of looked upon favorably by the front office and the manager, " Webb said. "He was obviously an excellent closer there for the last few years, and there's lots of similarities with the types of pitchers we are. I think going into an atmosphere where the manager looks at sinkerballers as a positive, good thing, made me more comfortable with my decision.”
The 27-year-old Webb is the son of Hank Webb, who pitched for the Mets and Dodgers in the 1970s.
“I want to play on a winning team. I don't want to go in and be the best guy on the worst bullpen. I want to be a guy in one of the best bullpens in the league. I learned that a long time ago. It's a lot more fun to win and have a good bullpen and a good group of guys behind you than stick out for being one good guy in a bullpen that falters. So, I'm just looking forward to having guys around me who are competing just as hard," Webb said.
Webb has yet to pitch in Baltimore, and says he’s looking forward to it.
"I hear it's a beautiful ballpark. I've never been there. I've been to a few of the stadiums in that league. I know it's a tough division, but that kind of stuff really excites me. I want to pitch against the best, I want to pitch in games that matter. I want to pitch when every pitch counts. That kind of stuff really gets me going. So, I'm excited to come to a team where every inning is going to matter. I think as long as I keep the ball down in the zone and do what I've done, I don't have to worry about the ballpark so much," Webb said.
Webb didn’t expect the Marlins to let him go.
“I was surprised at the non-tender. It was definitely not expected. Before I had time to even process what happened, I got calls from 14 or 15 teams, according to my agent, and Baltimore was one of the first and they were one of the most successful, so I was real comfortable with making that decision kind of early. The timing is right, I think, and I was very happy with my decision and I'm really excited to be with the Orioles,” Webb said.