The Orioles have signed RHP Justin Duchscherer to a one year contract worth $1.1 million if he makes the team. The deal could be worth as much as $4.5 million if he reaches all his incentives.
The Orioles were looking for a veteran starting pitcher to compete with Chris Tillman for the final spot in the rotation and take some pressure off of the young starters and they made an excellent choice in Duchscherer. He hasn’t pitched a full season since he was a reliever in 2006 but when hes healthy Duchscherer is very good. He has a career ERA of 3.13, even better since converting back to starting in 2008. Last year he was 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA over only five starts before getting hip surgery. Its a low risk (cheap, incentive laden contract), high reward type of signing. If he stays healthy theres a good chance he’ll put up the best numbers on the staff and we’d only have to pay him $4.5 million. If he breaks down again or misses significant time then we’ll pay much less (his incentives are based on games started) and Tillman or Zach Britton will get their chance in the rotation. I didn’t want the O’s to block Tillman or Britton with a Kevin Millwood type guy who eats innings but isn’t very good but Duchscherer represents a chance to get a number two or three starter on the cheap while giving our prospects more seasoning. Chances are there will be an injury or two over the course of the season and those guys will get their opportunities. This has been a great offseason and the team is pretty much set at this point. The only thing remaining would be if we can sign Vladimir Guerrero to DH, moving Luke Scott to left field or if we go with a Felix Pie/Nolan Reimold platoon in left and maybe sign another bat for the bench.