It had been one of, if not the most frustrating offseason for Baltimore Orioles' fans this year as we all watched the team trade away Jim Johnson as a salary dump, miss out on free agent after free agent, and all while hearing from the team and Executive VP/GM Dan Duquette that the Orioles were going to spend money and be close to a $100 million payroll in 2014.
Several fans, media outlets and national writers began to be cynical and criticize the team and Duquette for it's failure of being responsible to the fan base to go out and improve the team when the club is so close to being legitimate contenders in the AL East. We here at Orioles101 are included in that as we had adopted the mantra of "we'll believe it when we see it."
Although this team is far from being without questions, they came through with the signing of free agent RHP Ubaldo Jimenez this week, which became official yesterday and the team will hold a live press conference this morning at 9:30 a.m. broadcast on MASN.
Let's not forget that also added a perceived quality arm in the bullpen in Suk-min Yoon as well over the past week.
We will admit when we are wrong, and guess what? We were. We criticized Duquette, and more specifically Orioles' ownership for their unwillingness to spend money on quality free agent pitchers when it was obvious that it was one of the biggest holes on the roster. In addition, we jumped all over Duquette for his statement of "reallocating resources" that were given to the team by dumping Johnson in the trade to Oakland.
In the end, Duquette did exactly what he told everyone he would do. He has acquired a veteran starting pitcher that instantly makes the whole rotation better, and added another quality bullpen arm. In addition, he somehow convinced Peter Angelos to give a free agent pitcher more than a three year deal and pay him more than $10 million per year. Jimenez is now the first free agent pitcher the Orioles have ever given a deal to that is worth more than $10 million per year.
Obviously, the Orioles and Duquette did reallocate the $10 million they saved by dumping Johnson as Jimenez is going to make more than that this year. We urged and pined for Duquette to do that, and he did.
Now, we will state that this can't be it. What we mean by that is the Orioles and Duquette can't use this signing as a hall pass for the next two or three years in stating, "we gave Jimenez that big deal, so we do not need to give any other free agent a big deal for a few years."
For now, we again will admit when we were wrong, and perhaps for probably just the third time (Webb, Lough) this offseason, we will give a pat on the back to Duquette, and thank him for keeping his word to the fans of this great franchise as they are among the most loyal in sports.
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