Now that the Orioles have officially signed veteran pitcher Yovani Gallardo to a restructured two-year deal and have agreed to terms with outfielder Dexter Fowler (pending a physical), the reaction to the club's latest February free-agent blitz has been varied.
The difference in opinions has less to do with whether the Orioles are now better -- most believe they are, on paper -- but with the team's handling of Gallardo, forcing a renegotiation after the latest incident of being dissatisfied with the results of its hyper-strict physical.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale tweeted praise for the Orioles' moves after they finished their two-year, $22 million deal with Gallardo:
The #Orioles come up huge again by staying patient in FA market, getting Fowler and Gallardo for only $55 million in guaranteed contracts— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) February 25, 2016
WJZ-TV's Mark Viviano tweeted similar sentiments about executive vice president Dan Duquette getting the Gallardo deal done:
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal fell on the other side of the aisle. After forecasting another contract fight between the Orioles and a free agent, Rosenthal writes that Gallardo had little choice but to take the club's restructured deal:
OK, I was wrong. There will be no case of the Orioles vs. Yovani Gallardo. The Orioles got what they wanted Wednesday night, persuading Gallardo to accept a restructured two-year deal with an option rather than his original three-year, $35 million free-agent contract, according to major-league sources.
Gallardo was trapped, and the Orioles knew it. The qualifying offer already had diminished Gallardo’s value, forcing a team to lose a high draft pick to sign him. The Orioles’ concerns over his shoulder, as reported by The Baltimore Sun, would have made him even less appealing if he went back into the market.
By agreeing to the restructured deal, Gallardo either is unwilling to fight, conceding the Orioles’ point or both. Whether the team’s concerns prove valid, well, we’ll find out over the next two years; Gallardo is guaranteed $22 million over that time, with a chance to make $33 million over three years if his option is exercised, sources said. ...
If not for the Orioles’ history, few would question their additional scrutiny of Gallardo; other teams also void trades and signings because of medical concerns. But again: Was Gallardo’s reported shoulder issue an actual threat to his future health or merely an excuse for [Peter] Angelos to change a deal that some have already criticized, mostly because it would cost the team a pick?
Former major leaguer Mike Cameron took to Twitter to criticize the Orioles' handling of Gallardo and congratulate Fowler:
I still hope D fowler win the MVP have everybody scratching their head like he was this whole damn offseason #ohjusbaseballtalk— Cameron (@_darkman44) February 24, 2016
ESPN's Jayson Stark focused more on the results of the acquisitions than on the process it took to land Gallardo. Stark writes that it will take more than the Orioles' offseason spending to get them the World Series they crave.
But how realistic is it to look at this group as a win-the-World-Series kind of team? It would take a lot of dreaming. And a lot better starting pitching, even with the addition of Gallardo.
These Orioles can still mash. That was true before they closed in on Fowler. And it’s still true. They cranked 217 home runs last season, the third most in the major leagues. They've since traded for that famous home run derby winner waiting to happen, Mark Trumbo. And then there's Fowler, coming off a career-best 17-homer season for the Cubs. ...
The bottom line is, with or without Gallardo, this isn't a win-the-World-Series rotation unless Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez rediscover their past magic and [Kevin] Gausman finally achieves the greatness that has long been predicted for him.