The Orioles got their guys, but in a way only the Orioles can.
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The club agreed to terms with Dexter Fowler and Yovani Gallardo in recent days, agreeing to terms with Fowler on Tuesday before locking up Gallardo on Wednesday. Fowler got a three-year deal worth roughly $35 million; for Gallardo, he and the team agreed on a two-year, $22 million contract.
It wasn't without its complications, though. The Orioles and Gallardo had reportedly agreed Saturday to a three-year deal paying him $35 million, but his physical on Monday raised some concerns. According to the Baltimore Sun, questions about the health of his right shoulder -- a shoulder that has never publicly given him any problems -- were the cause of the snag. The reworked contract includes a $13 million option for a third year that could push the total value to $33 million; if the Orioles decline the option, they'll pay him a $2 million buyout.
Concerns with physicals aren't an issue -- it's why deals are often announced pending a physical, so teams have an out in the event of a red flag -- but the Orioles are infamous for discovering physical concerns with players to void multi-year contracts. Grant Balfour famously had his deal voided by the club two years ago, and according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, former Orioles general manager Jim Duquette had deals with high-profile players such as Mike Lowell, Paul Konerko and Frank Thomas scuttled by meddling owner Peter Angelos.
“That’s how Peter plays general manager,” another former Orioles GM, Frank Wren, told The New York Times in 2006 when he was Braves GM (Wren now is the Red Sox’s senior vice-president of baseball operations). “He uses medical reasons to kill or change a deal if he doesn’t like it.”
With Gallardo's physical out of the way, his deal is all but official. Given recent events, perhaps we should wait on speculating any further until the ink is dry, on both contracts.
Bruce On The Way Out?
The deal fell through, but it might be just a matter of time before Jay Bruce is the latest ex-Reds player.
A three-team trade sending Bruce to the Blue Jays was nixed due to medical concerns about one of the players the Reds would be receiving in the deal, per reports, but it has created an awkward situation in which Bruce is set to participate in spring training for a team that tried to get rid of him just days earlier. As such, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported Wednesday that the Reds would prefer to deal Bruce within the next week to avoid just that situation.
It's no fault of either side. The Reds, clearly rebuilding, have no use for a 28-year-old outfielder set to make $12.5 million this year and would do well to get something in return. And Bruce is doing and saying all the right things despite the strange circumstances.
“There’s a lot of emotions that go through with this, I think the best thing – I tell myself all the time – is don’t listen or pay attention the rumors, but it’s hard,” Bruce said Tuesday, after the trade negotiations were made public and subsequently fell apart. “I’m a human being. I pay attention to the stuff. It is what it is. It hasn’t happened yet. That’s the bottom line. I’m here until I’m not. We’ll see what happens.”
The real interest for fantasy owners is what happens if Bruce is dealt. Outfield prospect Jesse Winker is already being considered for the left field job, but Bruce's departure could open up even more opportunity for the 22-year-old. He should debut in Cincinnati at some point this season regardless, and although his best years may not start until 2017 at the least, he'll be one to watch, possibly as soon as April.
Wilson Sidelined By Shoulder Tendinitis
C.J. Wilson doesn't seem concerned about his left shoulder. He might be the only one.
The southpaw is taking a few days off from throwing after feeling discomfort in the shoulder during a bullpen session. An MRI showed mild tendinitis, prompting the slowdown.
"It's fairly normal," Wilson said Tuesday. "Just like everybody else."
Perhaps, but any time a pitcher is taking days off in February it's not a great start to the year. It's even more concerning considering Wilson's 2015 season ended in August due to injury, albeit to his left elbow. Wilson had surgery to remove bone chips and spurs.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he feels the two injuries are related but didn't brush off the most recent setback as quickly and casually as Wilson did.
"You're always concerned when a pitcher isn't quite where he should be, but these little setbacks are not uncommon," Scioscia said. "I think it's just a process of C.J. rehabbing his elbow."
Wilson is a far cry from the pitcher he was just a few years ago, but the Angels are counting on him to be a productive member of an underwhelming starting rotation. He maintains he'll be ready for Opening Day, but it's a situation that bears watching at the least.
Quick Hits: Josh Hamilton (knee) will begin the season on the disabled list. An early May debut is a best-case scenario at this point, but with Hamilton nothing is certain when it comes to health ... Freddie Freeman (wrist) reported no issues after taking batting practice Wednesday. How his wrist responds to the session will go a long way toward telling when he might get into a spring game and, ultimately, whether he'll be 100 percent healthy for Opening Day ... There are questions about how much Jose Bautista is seeking in an extension from the Blue Jays, but the simple answer seems to be "a lot." MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported that Joey Bats is looking for something north of five years and $150 million, which, uh, isn't going to happen ... despite not being an accomplished on-base man, Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton still has the confidence of manager Bryan Price as the team's leadoff hitter. As long as he does, Hamilton should also have the confidence of fantasy owners everywhere ... Mike Trout is no Hamilton, but he stole 82 bases over a two-year span in 2012 and 2013, and the outfielder has said he wants to run more in 2016. Trout stole just 11 bases in 18 attempts last season as he focused on merely doing everything else ridiculously well ... An announcement regarding Aroldis Chapman's potential suspension is still awaited from the MLB office. A ruling should come down sometime in the next week, before Grapefruit League games start next week ... Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said Miguel Cabrera could play third base during the team's two-game series against the Marlins to open the season. In leagues where a player needs just one game at a position to gain eligibility, it could be a huge development for the slugger ... Nelson Cruz will likely see more time at designated hitter in 2016, manager Scott Servais indicated ... Miguel Sano, meanwhile, won't see any time at third base this year, playing right field and likely seeing some time at DH as well ... Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said he and agent Scott Boras have had informal talks about an extension for Bryce Harper. Considering the kind of terms that are being thrown around regarding Harper's free agency in 2018 -- $500 million or thereabouts -- it's hard to see the 23-year-old sign anything before hitting the open market.