President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail reiterated his desire at FanFest Saturday to add a veteran starter to the rotation mix with spring training just two weeks away.
Just over 24 hours later, the Orioles appear to have found their man, agreeing to a one-year major league contract with veteran right-hander Justin Duchscherer — with all of 32 career starts — late Sunday night, according to multiple media outlets.
The 33-year-old has a 33-25 career record in eight seasons with the Athletics and Rangers, spending most of his career as a reliever while making two All-Star teams (2005 and 2008). However, Duchscherer has battled health problems the last two seasons, pitching just 28 innings last season before undergoing hip surgery and missing the 2009 campaign with shoulder and back issues as well as a bout with clinical depression.
His best season came in 2008 when he went 10-8 with a 2.54 ERA in 22 starts for Oakland.
Duchscherer threw in a workout for the Orioles on Friday and had reportedly narrowed his options to the Nationals and Baltimore before agreeing on the one-year deal. Given his health issues in recent seasons, any deal with the veteran was expected to be laced with incentives.
He will now be thrown into the rotation competition that includes Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen, Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, and Rick VandenHurk. Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Matusz figure to have the top spots nailed down with Bergesen and Arrieta heavily favored to secure places as well.
With Duchscherer agreeing to a major league contract and voicing his preference to start prior to working out for the Orioles, a healthy spring would likely push him into the rotation. Tillman would then head to Norfolk with Britton and possibly VandenHurk, both of whom were considered dark horses to make the rotation out of spring training.