Just days before the start of spring training, Orioles general manager Mike Elias has made his first major league signing of the offseason by agreeing to a one-year deal with right-handed pitcher Nate Karns.
The 31-year-old did not pitch in the majors last season due to elbow soreness and appeared in only nine games in 2017 before undergoing season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. Karns has pitched for four major league teams, going 16-11 with a 4.37 ERA in 310 2/3 innings over parts of five seasons. He’s averaged an impressive 9.3 strikeouts per nine innings over the course of his career, but injuries and trades have prevented him from establishing himself as a major league starter.
A 12th-round pick of Washington in 2009, Karns made his major league debut with the Nationals against the Orioles in 2013 and showed his greatest promise two years later when he went 7-5 with a 3.67 ERA in 147 innings with Tampa Bay. However, he’s logged just 139 2/3 major league innings split between Seattle and Kansas City since that promising 2015 season with the Rays.
If healthy, Karns figures to have a good chance to win a spot in Baltimore’s rotation behind veteran starters Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner, and Dylan Bundy. Karns will be competing with younger options such as David Hess, Jimmy Yacabonis, and Yefry Ramirez.
According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the deal is worth $800,000 and includes an additional $200,000 in incentives.