Fans of prog rock are well familiar with Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s “Karn Evil 9.” The song, which is on the seminal 1973 album Brain Salad Surgery, includes the line, “Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends.” Nearly 30 minutes long, Karn Evil 9 has been described, thematically speaking, as a battle between humans and computers.
Which brings us to the first major league free agent signed by the Orioles new-and-geeky front office regime. On Thursday, Mike Elias, Sig Mejdal and Co. welcomed Nate Karns back to The Show, inking him to a reported $800,000, one-year deal.
Karns has been a good pitcher when healthy. He hasn’t been healthy very often. The righty had labrum surgery back in 2010, and more recently he’s had thoracic outlet surgery and elbow issues. He didn’t pitch at all in 2018, and in 2017 he was limited to just 45-and-a-third innings. In the two years preceding the more recent of those, ahem, evil injuries, he showed plenty of promise. Pitching with Tampa Bay and Seattle, he went 13-7 with a 4.25 ERA and a 4.17 FIP.
My colleague Rain Watt will have more on Karns’s comeback tomorrow, so I’ll keep the rest of this look contained to the 31-year-old’s curveball. It’s his primary secondary, and a pitch he refined while going through a shoulder program after having his labrum repaired. Read the rest of this entry »