By Kevin Heitz
In an effort to add experience and depth to the bullpen, the Orioles signed left-handed reliever Jamie Walker to a three-year contract worth nearly $12 million on Tuesday. Walker passed his physical Monday after agreeing to terms with Baltimore last week.
Jamie Walker spent five seasons with the Detroit Tigers and was used primarily as a southpaw specialist. .
"I'm ready to get this thing heading in the right decision," Walker said after the signing was announced. He comes to Baltimore after efforts to secure a long-term deal in Detroit failed. "It's always a tough decision once you've been in one place so long. But the Tigers never really offered me a three-year deal," Walker said. "Baltimore was aggressive and willing to give me three years."
Orioles officials had said that the bullpen was a target for offseason improvement. Orioles executive vice president for baseball operations Mike Flanagan, thinks the addition of Walker is the start of rebuilding process.
"He is a durable lefty with post-season experience who throws strikes and who can be used in different situations, depending on the game situation on a given day," Duquette said.
Walker said he looks forward to working with Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone. "[Mazzone] is going to help me in all aspects… he is a no nonsense guy" Walker said.
The Orioles were intrigued by Walker's ability to pitch to left-handed batters, holding them to a .229 average, but the pitcher said that he doesn't look at himself as a specialist.
"I will do whatever [the Orioles] need me to do," he said. "If they want me to run through a wall, I'll run through a brick wall. If they want me to start, I'll start."