The Baltimore Orioles, like all of baseball, are waiting on the Masahiro Tanaka traffic jam on Free Agency Avenue to break loose. The next tier of pitchers is not going to be going anywhere until this is resolved. And it would seem that the jam has to break this week, as Tanaka has until Friday to make a deal.
Where will that be? It is the knee-jerk reaction of O’s fans to assume it will be in the AL East with the Yankees. That could happen of course. The Cubs are most talked about suitor at the moment, though even if their offer is the best, there is some doubt Tanaka will take it. The Cubs are … well … they’re the Cubs, and winning is not something that goes along with that franchise. They simply are not a good team, and with Tanaka they will be a better bad team featuring a probable great pitcher.
So, is it annoying that a person like Tanaka, who has never pitched a baseball in this country on any level, is able to gum up the works like this? I know, 24-0 is a great record on any level of baseball anywhere, and there is every reason to think he should be a top-of-the-line starter in MLB.
But still, wanting to play for a winner and be in a location and climate of his choosing – like Los Angeles most preferably – just hits me as a bit arrogant. Yet I suppose it could be said that if a guy is going to give up his entire culture and homeland, and he has the opportunity to choose where that is going to be, why would he, you, or anyone not make the most pleasant personal choice. But I don’t know – it just rubs me the wrong way on some levels.
But once this jam finally breaks, we should see some of the other pitchers come off the board in some of the places who are losers in the Tanaka sweepstakes. There will be a trickledown effect should in some way result in a starter candidate getting picked up by the Orioles. Will it be someone like Bronson Arroyo – a name most often associated with the Birds? Or will he (and others in his category) find a more lucrative offer elsewhere after the roadway clears?
So Who Wrote The Following?
Do these statements sound familiar?
“But based on what was said by team officials … the team’s actions in recent years … a picture emerges of a wealthy team pinching baseball pennies to compete even within its rebuilding plan.”
“… it became increasingly apparent there exists a sizable gap between available resources and baseball spending that could help assure the success of the rebuild.”
“So where’s the money going if it’s not going to baseball?”
If I told you that this was written about the Baltimore Orioles, you would believe it, right? But actually it is from an article by Gordon Wittenmyer in the Chicago Sun-Times expressing frustration with the efforts of the Cubs organization. The article goes on to list a number of highs and lows for that franchise – of top value and income, yet with industry high debt obligations as well. It is complicated, and I presume there are mitigating factors within the Orioles as well that are not immediately obvious to the fan on the outside. Yet it can certainly be stated that the Birds are not over-spending on salaries.
But hopefully we can see some spending on some pitching … even just one starter, and I can be good with everything else heading into spring training.