Sep 14, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman (30) throws a pitch in the eighth inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: Comparing A.J. Burnett, Bronson Arroyo, Ervin Santana, Ubaldo Jimenez


 

Looking back at my writing notes, I see that we have been talking for well over a month now about the Baltimore Orioles possibly signing one of the big four remaining free agent pitchers – A.J. Burnett, Bronson Arroyo, Ervin Santana, or Ubaldo Jimenez. Yes, I know – talk, talk, talk … is all the Orioles do, while fans for some of that “reallocation of resources” to happen.

As I’ve written on a number of occasions, it has to happen with one of these guys. I believe it will, and if it doesn’t, well, I guess I’ll grab a choir robe and join the BOFFC – the Baltimore Orioles’ Fan Frustration Chorus.

In previous articles, I have looked at these free agents and talked about their stats and what they have to offer. But here is the first time I’ve taken their 2013 numbers and put them in a list with the four other presumed, most likely rotation candidates for the 2014 Orioles.

Name

Age

W

L

ERA

G

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

WHIP

H/9

HR/9

BB/9

SO/9

SO/BB

Santana

30

9

10

3.24

32

211.0

190

85

76

26

51

161

1.142

8.1

1.1

2.2

6.9

3.16

Jimenez

29

13

9

3.30

32

182.2

163

76

67

16

80

194

1.330

8.0

0.8

3.9

9.6

2.43

Arroyo

36

14

12

3.79

32

202.0

199

88

85

32

34

124

1.153

8.9

1.4

1.5

5.5

3.65

Burnett

36

10

11

3.30

30

191.0

165

79

70

11

67

209

1.215

7.8

0.5

3.2

9.8

3.12

Tillman

25

16

7

3.71

33

206.1

184

87

85

33

68

179

1.221

8.0

1.4

3.0

7.8

2.63

Chen

27

7

7

4.07

23

137.0

142

62

62

17

39

104

1.321

9.3

1.1

2.6

6.8

2.67

Gonzalez

29

11

8

3.78

30

171.1

157

81

72

24

53

120

1.226

8.2

1.3

2.8

6.3

2.26

Norris

28

10

12

4.18

32

176.2

196

89

82

17

67

147

1.489

10.0

0.9

3.4

7.5

2.19

 

When these numbers are laid out in this fashion, one can see why these pitchers are attractive. As Orioles fans, we (rightly) tend to look at 2013 as a fantastic season for Chris Tillman – one where he should have likely won 20 games. But in the big picture of things, each of these four free agents had similar sorts of stats – though not with the number of wins. Only Arroyo had a slightly worse ERA than Tillman, and only Jimenez had a poorer WHIP – due to his propensity to give up walks.

It is likely a true statement that any of these four pitchers would have had better won/loss records with the defense and run support of the Orioles.

Despite the struggles Burnett had with the Yankees a few years ago, A.J. is by many sabermetrical analyses the best of the four. He should also be the easiest to sign to a one-year deal without loss of a draft choice. I have written about this quite a bit here on The Baltimore Wire, including this argument TO HIM that he should play for the Birds. In a MLBTR article last night, it noted however of the Phillies’ interests as well, and that their Assistant GM Scott Proefrock is friends with Burnett and resides in the same neighborhood. Ugh – it is never easy for the Orioles.

The second best choice for the Birds is Arroyo. He too does not demand a draft pick to be forfeited. Though approaching age 37, he has remained effective in throwing 200-inning seasons. Jayson Stark of ESPN.com wrote last night in quoting Arroyo, “I am a guy who’s performed for the last 10 years as consistently as anybody in the game, and for some reason, nobody’s thrown me an offer yet.” This seems to contradict a whole host of reports, but in any event, it is going to take probably a two-year, $12 million-per-season contract to get it done.

The third and fourth choices in order would be Ervin Santana and Jimenez. Each costs a draft pick and each will be expensive, even if the price is dropping as time goes by. Jimenez would be the better choice were it not for the 80 walks in 183 innings. But make no mistake about it, both are very good pitchers.

Really, just one of these guys secured for the Orioles would make a horrific offseason look suddenly a whole lot better. The rotation would be enhanced, and there are enough pieces in place to cobble together a pretty decent bullpen. It is difficult to imagine that the options available in LF, 2B, and DH are not going to be better than the past couple years.

So just this one move would make the Baltimore Orioles look much more formidable. “It has to happen.”

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: A.J. Burnett Baltimore Orioles Bronson Arroyo Chris Tillman Ervin Santana Ubaldo Jimenez

  • PJ Herbst

    Ervin Santana is my choice, should DD happen to ask me. 200+ innings 5 of the last 8 seasons; plenty of AL experience. At age 31, should have a lot of thread left on the tires. Does give up the long ball, though. Second choice – Jimenez. Pitched very effectively for the Tribe last year, only 16 taters surrendered. Thought he was very impressive while with the Rockies, and is a year younger than Santana.

    • Randy Buchman

      I could learn to like any of them, but am afraid Santana will cost too much. Money is such an annoyance! Thanks for reading and writing.