But what is almost certain, based off of Dan Duquette's track record, is that he will bring in under the radar players in need of another chance, who other teams may be unwilling to take a shot on. Here's 3 players the Orioles should consider.
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Hochevar missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March. The #1 overall pick by the Royals in 2006, Hochevar struggled in his 128 starts between 2007-12. In 2013, the Royals converted him to a reliever and he thrived. His 10.49 K/9 ranked 24th among 135 qualifying relievers. He also posted a 1.92/2.96 ERA/FIP.
Steamers projects Hochevar to put up 9.41 K/9 and 2.91/3.12 ERA/FIP in 2015. He earned $5 million last season, but since he's been converted to a reliever and is coming off of Tommy John, it won't take nearly that to sign him. He would be a nice compliment to a strong Orioles bullpen that doesn't strike enough batters out.
Despite the fact that he was let go by the team during the 2014 season, Reimold is the exact type of player Duquette would bring in. I can't imagine too many teams are lining up to give Reimold a spot on their 40-man roster, so a minor league deal with an invite to the big league camp (like Delmon Young last season) might be enough to bring Reimold aboard. While Reimold doesn't excel against LHP, the fact that he hits right-handed could prove to be an asset to a club that's 2015 OF will potentially feature left-handed hitters David Lough and Alejandro De Aza.
The Steamers projections aren't pretty, as they have Reimold as a 76 wRC+ player next season. But if he is healthy, he could very well out-produce those projections. This would be a low-risk, depth move, so I can't really see any reason for the club not to pursue Reimold. I'd rather the Orioles hand Reimold a one year deal than give Cruz or Markakis a 4 year deal.
I would expect plenty of teams to be interested in buying low on Johnson. His history in Baltimore could prove to be a deciding factor, depending on how he feels about his time in and departure from the team. If he's open to a return, the club should pursue it. While he may never have another 50 save season, Johnson is due for a bounce back. His .366 BABIP in 2014 is way out of whack with his career. 297. His FIP of 5.08 wasn't pretty, but it suggests he was a good bit better than his 7.09 ERA.
Johnson may be a little redundant in an Orioles bullpen that features plenty of RHP, as well as a lot of guys who don't get a lot of strikeouts. But, bringing him in gives the team added depth and flexibility, which we all know is something Duquette and Buck Showalter cherish.
While none of these moves are going to move the fan excitement needle much, and in fact might bring some criticism, these are the exact kind of signings Duquette has shown a knack for since coming to Baltimore. All of these guys give the Orioles more depth, as well as a potential bargain, as players such as Nate McLouth and Delmon Young have previously.