Orioles Sign Nick Johnson and Luis Ayala

The Orioles continue to make signings as the conclusion off the offseason slowly approaches. While none of these players are superstars, they have the potential to impact the team in 2012.

The first signing was Nick Johnson, as many of you may have already heard rumors about. As reported by Roch Kubatko (Twitter link), it was a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.  Johnson has been active in MLB since 2002, but did not play at the major league level in 2011.  He has spent time with the Yankees, Nationals/Expos, Marlins, and the Indians minor league affiliate.  As his statistics show, he hit for average; but was never a real big power threat.  He has patience at the plate leading to a great career OBP.  The one issue with Johnson has always been staying on the field.  If healthy, he presents a solid backup at first base. Random fact, Nick Johnson is also the nephew of former major league manager and coach, Larry Bowa.

Even with all these international signings, Dan Duquette was not finished signing pitchers.  Pitcher Luis Ayala has finally decided his employer for 2012, after weighing multiple offers.  Ayala will sign a 1 year deal worth $925K with an option year, pending a physical.  Thanks to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, Ken Rosenthal, Dan Connolly, and Roch Kubatko for reporting.  Ayala just came off his age 33 season, with a sparkling 2.09 ERA in 52 appearances out of the pen for the Yankees.  Luis Ayala’s career numbers can be found here at The Baseball Cube.  His career shows that the ERA from 2011 may not be as much of an outlier as people think.

With all these pitching signings, plus the recent trade of Jeremy Guthrie, where will all these pitchers slot in the rotation/bullpen?  Could Jim Johnson still be heading to the rotation? Should we bring in back Justin Duchscherer or take a chance on Brandon Webb? Hopefully, answers to some of these questions will be made known during Spring Training.

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Brian Hradsky

The owner of MSB, I created this website while in college and it has never died.

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