3. Brady Anderson’s Contract Negotiations
As mentioned earlier, Anderson played a role in Darren O’Day’s contract and gave his reasoning to Rosenthal who had talked to former Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jake Arrieta about Anderson’s involvement:
"Anderson said he agreed with Arrieta that it might be awkward for him to mix business and baseball, “but to me, not as awkward as Darren playing for the Nationals.”"
So because he didn’t want to see O’Day play for the Nationals, it was worth signing him to a four year $31 million contract when the Baltimore Orioles let Andrew Miller walk away for only slightly more? I agreed with the Miller decision after 2014, so the O’Day re-signing left me scratching my head at the time because it wasn’t a move that Dan Duquette typically made.
Duquette always seemed to find low cost, controllable pitchers that other clubs didn’t value as much and turn them into valuable relievers, so he didn’t have to sign expensive ones like O’Day or Miller. Brad Brach is the perfect example. When it was reported that Anderson got involved, however, the reasoning for the contract became clear.
After the 2016 season, Mark Trumbo was also up for free agency and coming off a tremendous season statistic wise, but all of his performance was in the first half of the season. Trumbo hit .288 with a .923 OPS in the first half of the 2016 season and only .214 with a .754 OPS in the second half.
There’s a big difference there, yet the Orioles still extended a qualifying offer (QO) and another four-year offer to Trumbo early in the offseason after he rejected the QO, becoming a free agent. Trumbo also dismissed that four-year offer and waited in limbo for other teams to make better deals.
The Orioles could have walked away then, having made an extraordinary effort to bring him back and spent the resources on other players, like pitching which the team still badly needed. The DH spot was easy to fill and they already had candidates to hit right-handed pitching like Hyun Soo Kim. Furthermore, the Orioles could have brought back Pedro Alvarez and paired either with Trey Mancini to hit left-handed pitching.
However, in January 2017, the Orioles signed Trumbo to a 3 year $37.5 million deal which was bad enough, but as part of the deal, Trumbo got a limited no-trade clause.
A no-trade clause?
No other team wanted to sign him to a three-year deal, and he somehow gets a no-trade clause in the negotiations?
Trumbo’s contract is now an albatross when you look at the dismal performance he had in 2017. Comparing it to what they could have received for production from a minor league signing like Pedro Alvarez, it’s a terrible allocation of resources very reminiscent of the signings that were made in the years before Dan Duquette become GM.
Remember, Duquette signed Wilson Betemit to play third base and outfield for the Orioles before 2012 and then brought in Alvarez to DH before 2016. Both of those players exceeded their cost for the production they gave.
Rosenthal stated that Anderson was involved in the negotiation for Trumbo as well, but to the extent, fans don’t know. What we do know is that negotiation with Anderson included, and a no-trade clause as a result for a one-dimensional player like Mark Trumbo simply does not offer any reassurance of competency.
Now you have the news of Anderson becoming heavily involved in the deal for Andrew Cashner, and while it may seem like there’s little risk with a smaller base salary and the contract being incentive-laden, the majority of the incentives are only tied to innings pitched – meaning Cashner’s health, not performance.
Cashner may have had a 3.40 ERA for the Rangers last season but his independent fielding pitching (FIP) was 4.61, and his K/9 dropped from 7.7 in 2016 to only 4.6 in 2017. If that kind of sounds familiar, the Orioles in 2016 signed Yovani Gallardo, who had a 3.42 ERA also with the Rangers in 2015 with a 4.00 FIP and a smaller drop in K/9 going from 6.8 in 2016 to 5.9 in 2016.
The health of his shoulder was a concern, which shortened the original three-year deal to only two years with an option and he wound up on the disabled list for a shoulder injury with the Orioles and performed poorly for the only season he played with the club.
Cashner passed his Orioles physical, which is usually no easy task, so injury concerns should be on hold. However, with no incentives known for performance other than a Cy Young bonus (chuckle), this latest acquisition of Anderson’s is no lock to provide the performance the Orioles desperately need from their rotation.