It’s been a rough offseason for the Baltimore Orioles. The team’s elected not to pursue many of the players who’d help augment a roster that was expected to compete in 2013, many because of payroll concerns. The moves they have made have mostly been minor in nature. There are also the health concerns.
Baltimore reached an agreement with Grant Balfour in December on a two year deal believed to be worth around $15 Million. Concerns popped up in his physical about his shoulder – concerns that Balfour and his private physician didn’t quite agree with – and the Orioles ended up backing out of the deal before it could be finalized. Balfour has since landed in Tampa Bay for $12 Million over two years.
Just over a week ago we first learned that the Orioles had come to an agreement with Tyler Colvin on a one year deal, presumed to be a Major League contract. All that remained was a physical before the deal could be finalized. It would seem that concerns have once again popped up in Colvin’s physical and now, according to multiple sources, the agreement could be in jeopardy. It remains unclear what exactly the team’s doctors see in Colvin that is causing the holdup.
From the “not this again” department: Source says #orioles are claiming there are issues with OF Tyler Colvin’s physical.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 22, 2014
Colvin is coming off a far from ideal season. He’d see time in just 27 games for the Colorado Rockies, all coming between June 9 and July 9, and struggled to a .160/.192/.280 line while striking out once per game. He’d produce much better down at Triple-A, hitting .275/.377/.480 over 272 PA. This was all one year removed from posting some impressive numbers (.290/.327/.531, 27 2B, 10 3B, 18 HR) in his first season with the Rockies in 2012.
Baltimore has been “taking a two-fisted beating” on the reputation front this offseason, as MASN’s Roch Kubatko puts it, due to what is now a second physical issue that could pre-emptively end an agreement before it is even signed. Kubatko also goes back to last year, reminding us that the Orioles went through this same type of situation with Jair Jurrjens. The team had reached an agreement with him once he was non-tendered by the Atlanta Braves, only to uncover enough of a concern to force Jurrjens into re-negotiating his deal into a minor league one.
With Colvin’s deal now seemingly falling apart, the Orioles will still head into Spring Training with a tough competition brewing. The team will be bringing 11 outfielders to camp with potentially just one spot on the roster up for grabs.
It’s tough to see many free agents actually want to sign in Baltimore now, given the track record that they’ve established over the past now two offseasons. Money will often trump such concerns but in an increasingly competitive AL East it won’t be the lone answer to this team solving their issues.