During his 1990s run as Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette was known for turning career minor leaguers and waiver wire finds into useful big leaguers and now his success running the Orioles is helped by similar scrap-heap finds.
This year’s biggest find is Steve Pearce, a one-time Pirates top prospect who hit just .234 with a .677 OPS in 246 games for four different teams through age 29.
Duquette and the Orioles claimed Pearce off waivers from the Yankees in late 2012, got some solid work out of him in a part-time role last season, and have watched him turn into an offensive force this year. Pearce homered twice last night as the Orioles clinched their first AL East title in 17 years and he’s now hitting .297 with 20 homers, 25 doubles, and a .936 OPS in 97 games overall.
Among all American League hitters with at least 350 plate appearances this season Pearce ranks ranks fourth in OPS, behind only Mike Trout, Jose Abreu, and Victor Martinez.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that free agent pitcher Madison Bumgarner is asking for a nine-figure deal.
Your first impression of that may be “what? how?” A lot of that, however, is probably bound up in your understandable feeling that Bumgarner is too old to get that kind of scratch. But then you remember that, oh wait, he’s somehow still only 30 years-old. Indeed, he’s only ten months older than Zack Wheeler, who just nabbed a five-year, $118 million deal from Philly.
Bumgarner, obviously, has much more mileage on the odometer than Wheeler does, and he’s not the ace he was a few years ago, but he’s coming off a fine year, having put up a solid 3.90 ERA and 203/43 K/BB ratio over 207.2 innings in 2019. He would be a fine addition to the top — or at last near the top — of a contender’s rotation.
The White Sox, Twins, Cardinals, Reds, Braves, Padres, and Yankees have all been mentioned among possible landing spots. Figure his market to heat up a good bit once Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg sign and some of those contenders start looking for fallback options.