The Orioles have strengthened their rotation, with veteran starter Kyle Gibson agreeing to a one-year deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The deal is pending a physical.
It’d been widely reported that the Orioles were in the market for starting pitching additions, and Gibson gives them a solid back-of-the-rotation arm. They’ve been linked to a number of other starting pitchers this off-season, and it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise if Gibson isn’t the only one joining the team this winter.
Gibson, 35, had a 5.05 ERA across 167 2/3 innings for the Phillies in 2022. Advanced metrics were a bit more favorable, and his FIP stood at 4.28. He did post the best walk rate of his career (6.7%), and while his strikeout numbers have never jumped off the page they were 1.5% better than his career rate of 18.6%.
Gibson was drafted by the Twins with the 22nd pick of the 2009 draft, and made his debut 2013. He struggled a bit initially, but soon settled in as a durable arm at the back of their rotation. He’d go on to make 188 starts across seven seasons for the Twins, peaking in 2018 when he made 32 starts for a 3.62 ERA, almost a full run below his average while in Minnesota.
After reaching free agency at the conclusion of the 2019 season, Gibson latched on with the Rangers on a three-year, $28MM deal. He struggled a bit in the pandemic-shortened season but straightened things out in 2021, pitching to a 2.87 ERA across 19 starts and turning himself into a valuable trade chip for the Rangers at the deadline that year.
Advanced metrics did have him ripe for regression that year, and he did drop off a bit after the Phillies acquired him, pitching to a 5.09 ERA the rest of the way in 2021.
His fastball sits in the low-90s, and he mixes that with a slider, curveball and changeup, as well as a cutter that’s been introduced in recent seasons. It’s the durability that Gibson is noted for though, and apart from his rookie year (and the pandemic season), he’s made at least 25 starts in the other eight full seasons.
He slots into a rotation that features Kyle Bradish, Dean Kremer, Tyler Wells and Austin Voth – none of whom have ever reached 25 starts in a big league season. Top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez is also likely to feature in 2023, but as a rookie they’ll be keeping a close eye on his workload.
From here, it seems likely the Orioles will pursue another addition to the rotation as they look to supplement their young roster. The likes of Jameson Taillon, Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker would all make sense for Baltimore, and while Gibson can certainly work as a valuable innings-eater, adding one of those names would give their rotation a bit more punch as they look to build off their promising 83-79 2022 season.
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