Despite having Tommy John surgery in May, RHP Gavin Floyd has drawn some interest from MLB clubs willing to play the waiting game.
The Baltimore Orioles were one of those teams interested in the 30-year-old’s services, but he reportedly is close to signing a one-year deal elsewhere according to the Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo Encina. While the club remains undisclosed according to an unnamed source, the Orioles are not considered out of the running just yet.
Baltimore has shown interest in the local product in year’s past, but have not found ways to either acquire the Mount St. Joseph alumna via trade nor by inking him to the right deal worth a respectable amount of money. Back when the Severna Park, Md. native was playing high school ball, the Orioles were one of the teams interested in his services, yet his 10-year career has taken him to Philadelphia and Chicago to play for the Phillies and White Sox respectively. Philadelphia selected Floyd in the 2001 MLB Draft just three picks ahead of the Orioles at No. 4 overall; Baltimore’s pursuit of Floyd has been a series of “close, but no cigar” type of pursuits.
With the Orioles already tied to a pitcher who is coming off of a major injury in LHP Johan Santana, it may seem strange to some as to why Baltimore would look to add a guy like Floyd. Floyd is not Santana in terms of the clout he brings along with his name. Floyd went 0-4 with a 5.18 ERA and with just 25 strikeouts and a 1.60 WHIP in just five starts in 2013. Before his injury-riddled season last year, Floyd had won at least 10 games five years in a row dating back to 2008 where he saw his best season as a pro — Floyd went 17-8 with a 3.84 ERA in 206.1 innings pitched (all career highs). Also during that five-year span, Floyd had struck out at least 144 batters each season. That total would put Floyd second on the Orioles behind ace RHP Chris Tillman (179). In a rotation where Ks aren’t a plenty, adding a guy who flirts with 150 year in and year out, when healthy, is a step in the right direction.
Still, chasing after a guy like Floyd is risky and investing what potentially could be dead money in him is as well. Floyd has pitched above .500 in qualified years just twice — in 2012 he went 12-11 in 29 starts and in 2008 he went 17-8 in 33 starts. Hoping that Floyd can return to form after a surgery that can make or break a career is risky, but the Orioles need to take these kind of risks if they want to show that contending does matter.
When healthy, Floyd likely fits in to the middle of the rotation going as high as No. 2 and low as No. 4. Baltimore is already banking on the potential of RHP Miguel Gonzalez and LHP Wei-Yin Chen to provides consistent options after Tillman, but they have yet to show they can put together a full campaign from start to finish.
For the right price, Floyd is not a bad addition. His injury and rehabilitation period will scare teams away, but some pitchers have come back better and elevated their games to elite status. If the Orioles have been coveting his services as bad as they advertise, they will match and exceed whatever the competitors are offering.
Sometimes in baseball, talk is cheap. Other times, the wallet has to be broken open.