With Ubaldo Jimenez making what was very likely his final home start in an Orioles uniform last night, Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com wonders if the right-hander will influence how the O’s approach free agent pitching decisions in the future. The Orioles have been notoriously hesitant about committing big money to (or even acquiring) pitchers, making their four-year, $50MM investment in Jimenez in the 2013-14 offseason a particular risk for Dan Duquette, who had to talk ownership into the signing. In the wake of Jimenez’s struggles, Connolly wonders if the Orioles will now totally shy away from big-money deals for veteran arms. This would, of course, complicate Duquette’s offseason work, as the O’s are known to be looking to add two starters to help their beleaguered rotation.
Here’s more from around the AL East…
- Blue Jays president and CEO Mark Shapiro took part in a wide-ranging interview with Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi (part one; part two) that included some mention of Josh Donaldson’s future in Toronto, though Shapiro said that the team wasn’t planning to publicly discuss such matters. Shapiro wouldn’t confirm or deny if the team had already held any extension talks with the star third baseman, who is set to hit free agency after the 2018 season.
- Shapiro said “Durability. Athleticism. Flexibility” will be three of the Jays’ biggest lineup needs, noting that the team could address those needs via a corner outfielder or in a backup middle infield role behind Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis. A large roster overhaul isn’t forthcoming, as Shapiro believes “it’s not a big leap for us” to return to postseason contention given the number of injuries and unexpected setbacks that plagued the Jays’ season. The interview is well worth a full read, as Shapiro touches on such other subjects as player development philosophy, the team’s farm system, plans for a new Spring Training facility and renovations to Rogers Centre.
- John Farrell’s contract as the Red Sox manager only runs through the 2018 season, and given Farrell’s relative lack of job security since Dave Dombrowski took over Boston’s baseball ops department, CSNNE.com’s Evan Drellich argues that the team should either give Farrell a long-term extension this winter or part ways with the manager. Either decision would remove Farrell’s status as a distraction both inside or outside the clubhouse. With the Sox closing in on their second straight AL East title, Farrell’s performance certainly seems worthy of a longer commitment, though there have been whispers that Dombrowski (like most executives) would prefer to hire his own manager, rather than stick with the manager inherited from the old regime.