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O's Sign Walker for Three Years

November 21, 2006

By Kevin Heitz

Online Exclusive

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. .
(Mitch Stringer/PressBox)
Walker, 35, spent five seasons with the Detroit Tigers and was used primarily as a southpaw specialist. Last season he was 0-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 56 games with the AL champions, and walked only eight batters in 48 innings.

"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."