Facing Friday’s deadline to tender arbitration-eligible players, the Orioles elected not to retain the rights to right-handed pitcher Vance Worley while offering contracts to nine other players.
The 29-year-old will now become a free agent while Baltimore tendered right-handed relief pitcher Brad Brach, left-handed closer Zach Britton, utility infielder Ryan Flaherty, right-handed starting pitcher Kevin Gausman, catcher Caleb Joseph, third baseman Manny Machado, left-handed reliever T.J. McFarland, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, and right-handed starter Chris Tillman. According to MLB Trade Rumors, those nine are projected to receive a total of $46.8 million next season.
Teams and tendered players do not exchange salary figures for arbitration until January, and most players agree to contracts long before the possible occurrence of a February hearing.
In 86 2/3 innings that included four starts and 31 relief appearances, Worley pitched to a 3.53 ERA with a 1.37 WHIP, 5.8 strikeouts per nine innings, and 3.6 walks per nine frames. Having pitched just one season in Baltimore, Worley was projected to make $3.3 million in 2017, which is pricey for a long reliever.
The Orioles could try to re-sign Worley at a cheaper rate, but they would prefer to turn to a younger — and cheaper — option such as Tyler Wilson or Mike Wright to fill his role in the bullpen. They also acquired former Rule 5 pick and right-handed pitcher Logan Verrett from the New York Mets for cash considerations earlier this week.
Earlier on Friday, Baltimore claimed outfielder Adam Walker off waivers from Minnesota. The 25-year-old hit 27 home runs and struck out 202 times playing for Triple-A Rochester and has yet to play in the majors in his professional career.
With Worley’s departure and Walker’s addition, the Orioles now have 36 players on their 40-man roster.