By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
7:00 AM EST, December 2, 2012
I’m about to board a flight to Nashville in a bit to cover the Winter Meetings, where Dan Connolly and I will be spending countless hours inside the Opryland Hotel reporting on all things regarding the Orioles.
You’ll hear a lot of names this week. You may hear about the Orioles’ revived interest in Josh Hamilton. Don’t believe it.
Covering my first Winter Meetings in Dallas, I don’t think I left the hotel once. It’s that hectic chasing down all the rumors.
So while I’m on my way to Nashville, here’s some hot stove breakfast. Several players joined the free-agent crop Friday after they were non-tendered contracts.
Here are my thoughts on a few and whether they’d fit into the Orioles plans:
Jair Jurrjens, RHP: The Orioles kicked the tires on Jurrjens this time last season when the Braves were showing interest in Adam Jones. It’s a good thing the Orioles didn’t bite. Jurrjens has battled groin and knee injuries over the past two seasons. Last year, he was horrible, going 3-4 with a 6.89 ERA in 11 starts, even receiving a midseason demotion to Triple-A. While the Orioles believe that changes of scenery can do some good, they won’t touch Jurrjens. They already saw regression last season -- a drop in velocity, a lower strikeout-per-nine innings ratio and a shaky walk total -- that indicated he wasn’t a pitcher with some risk.
Jeff Karstens, RHP: Karstens is intriguing because he’s a veteran arm who could replace the likes of Joe Saunders if the Orioles are unable to resign him. But Karstens also suffered from some injuries in 2012. He hit the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation and also had a hip flexor injury, limiting him to 90 innings last season and ending the season in the bullpen. Still, Karstens threw 162 1/3 innings and pitched to a 3.38 ERA in 2011. Still, he’s a fly-ball pitcher who gives up a lot of homers. He will come cheap, but the Orioles don’t know if he’s better than the pitching depth they already have.
John Lannan, LHP: Lannan is very interesting. He’s left-handed and only 28. Despite losing his rotation spot in the Nats’ pitching-rich rotation, he stood to make around $5 million in arbitration. He spent most of the season in Triple-A (9-11, 4.30), but was 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA in six big league starts. He’s a proven innings eater who would be a nice addition to the Orioles rotation. The Orioles are interested, but Lannan figures to draw a lot of interest and could even draw a multi-year deal, which the Orioles likely aren’t willing to offer.
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