Top five worst Orioles signings
In the late 1990’s the Orioles were big spenders. Before the Washington Nationals came to town just 40 minutes away the Orioles were a top market team with a wide spreading fan base. In recent years it seemed like more often then not the big contracts have weighed on the Orioles. The Orioles have become one of the lowest payroll teams during their current rebuild.
With the 2022-2023 free agency period about to be underway the Orioles are looking to expand their payroll. Lets take a look back at some of the big mistakes. Some of these contracts held the Orioles down more than they helped them.
- Danys Baez: The Orioles once upon a time spent some big money for some relief pitchers. Baez signed a pretty big three-year $19 million contract with the Orioles in 2007. Baez lasted two seasons, the first of which he had a 6.44 era with a 0 and 6 record. This was by no means a franchise changing signing but it did not help. Baez second season with the Orioles he had a 4.02 era and a 4 and 6 record. The Orioles signed Baez to help stabilize the bullpen, he did not.
2. Ubaldo Jimenez: The Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez right before the 2014 season to a four-year $50,000,000 contract. At the time it was a big contract for a pitcher and the Orioles seemingly got a former All-Star at a decent rate. That was not the case however as Jimenez could never find consistency with the Orioles.
Jimenez’s era for with the Orioles averaged out to be 5.29 which is not good at all. Jimenez was supposed to be a top three starter during the Buck Showalter years when the Orioles were consistent contenders. Jimenez ended his career when his contract expired with the Orioles. The Orioles also lost a draft pick because of signing Jimenez. Jimenez’s contract set the Orioles franchise back in a big way.
3. Alex Cobb: The Orioles signed Cobb to a four-year $57 million contract in 2018 the year the Orioles started the rebuild. Cobb was injury prone and had trouble staying healthy his entire Orioles career. In his first season with the Orioles he posted a 4.90 era and had 15 losses to five wins. Cobb’s second season was awful posting a 10.95 era in 10 games. Cobb’s final season with the Orioles he posted a 4.30 era.
Cobb was traded in February of 2021 to the Los Angeles Angels for infield prospect Jahmai Jones. Jones made the Orioles top 30 prospects but was released after an injury early in the 2022 season. Cobb has had a rebirth since leaving the Orioles… go figure. Cobb’s contract was literally a waste who had a grand total of SEVEN wins for the Orioles. Cobb has had 15 wins in two years since leaving the Orioles.
4. Mark Trumbo: Trumbo was a one hit wonder for the Orioles, who was a solid hitter before being acquired. Trumbo had a monster season in 2016 with 47 home runs and 27 doubles. The Orioles rewarded Trumbo with a three year $37,500,000. After signing the contract which seemed at the time to be a team friendly deal for a big at bat, Trumbo was not the same.
Trumbo became injury prone and was toxic in the clubhouse. Trumbo is said to have been the one that complained about the Orioles “pie” celebrations that Adam Jones started. In 2017 only hit 23 home runs with a .234 average, just half of the amount of home runs he hit in 2016. 2018 was worse for Trumbo as he hit only 17 home runs. 2019 was Trumbo’s final season, he hit .172 with no home runs in 31 plate appearances. While the contract was not the biggest or most expensive it was a complete waste.
5. Chris Davis: It is impossible to talk about bad contracts without mentioning Chris Davis. Davis received the biggest contract in Orioles history when he signed a seven-year $161,000,000 contract. Davis had his ups and downs before signing the big contract but also had monster seasons. Unlike Trumbo however Davis was always great in the clubhouse and in the community he was one of the most charitable athletes the state of Maryland has ever seen.
The first year of Davis’ contract was actually good, he hit 38 home runs with a .221 average. Injuries started to add up after that for Davis and not learning how to hit against the shift really continued to kill his average. 2017 was the last year Davis hit above .200 and he only had 23 home runs that year. Davis would be often hurt and not hitting from 2018 to 2020 and was forced to retire early from injuries. Davis’ contract will continue being a burden for the Orioles as it had a lot of deferred money.
As good of a guy that Davis is on and off the field his contract really hurt the team. The once great power hitter for the Buck Showalter Orioles had a big downfall. Unlike others on this list the Orioles actually got one good season out of him after the signing of the contract.