Can the Orioles afford the "Vanimal?"
Regular readers around here know that one of my favorite additions to the 2016 Orioles was Vance Worley, and he wasn’t only one of my favorites. Many of my colleagues on the Oriole beat also grew to like him.
It wasn’t just his colorful nickname, which doubles as his Twitter handle. Actually, it’s @Vanimal_46.
He got his nickname from his fervent workouts in college, and it’s a great one.
Worley came to the Orioles almost exactly a year ago, on Oct. 20 2015 when he was claimed on waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
He was no sure thing to make the team, but did and stayed with the team throughout the season except for a brief time on the disabled list with a groin injury.
Worley was useful as a starter, but mostly as a long reliever. He would often come into games when the starter was knocked out early, and his job was to eat innings and keep the score within hand.
He won one of his four starts and earned his first career save on Aug. 23, something he didn’t realize until after the game. He pitched three effective innings.
Worley entered 11 games in the fourth inning or earlier. Sometimes the Orioles caught up in his appearances, most time not.
In his 35 games (four starts), the Orioles won just 11 of them.
For his 3.53 ERA, Worley earned $2.6 million. According to an estimate by MLBTradeRumors.com, Worley could receive a salary of $3.3 million, which is $400,000 higher than their $2.9 million estimate for Brad Brach, an All-Star who has about the same amount of service time.
The Orioles may be reluctant to pay Worley $3.3 million to be a long man. With six starters already on the docket, Worley is unlikely to get a chance to start again, and his numbers (1.373 WHIP) and his unsightly strikeout to walk ratio (1.6) are pedestrian.
It seems likely the Vanimal will have a major league job in 2017. It just doesn’t seem likely there will be many Vanimal sightings in Baltimore.