Archive for the ‘Transactions’ Category

Guthrie Gone

February 12, 2012

The Orioles have traded RHP Jeremy Guthrie to the Colorado Rockies for RHP Jason Hammel and RHP Matt Lindstrom.

I’m not sure about this trade. I was fine with dealing Guthrie but I was expecting a better return than this. Lindstrom is basically a dime a dozen reliever. Hes not bad and he has experience closing games but he’ll be making $3.6 million in 2012 and sports a 3.81 career ERA. He had a good year last season putting up a 3.00 ERA over 54 innings with 36 strikeouts and 14 walks. He’ll be an asset to the bullpen for sure but for a guy that doesn’t strike out many batters I feel like there was a better way to allocate that kind of money. The real “prize” of the trade however is Hammel, a guy that has a career 4.99 ERA. He started his career in Tampa Bay where he bounced between the rotation and the bullpen and struggled. He was then traded to Colorado where he was given a chance to start regularly and he responded well with two good years in 2009 and 2010 before struggling last season. He was 7-13 with a 4.76 ERA over 170.1 innings with 94 strikeouts and 68 walks. Its obviously tough to pitch in Colorado so he should be better once he gets out of that environment. I think his upside is that he can be the new Jeremy Guthrie over the next two years but there is a chance that he ends up in the bullpen which would make this trade even worse. We didn’t save any money and we didn’t get any high upside prospects so I’m just confused. I would’ve preferred to hold onto Guthrie until the trade deadline if this was the best offer out there.

O’s Sign DH Candidate

January 24, 2012

The Orioles have signed DH/3B Wilson Betemit to a two year deal worth $3 million with a $3 million vesting option for 2014.

On the same day the Detroit Tigers signed Prince Fielder to a ridiculously stupid 9 year, $214 million contract the Orioles sign who will probably end up being their primary DH. I would’ve liked to have seen Fielder here, but I think we can all agree hes not worth what he got and the O’s had no reason to top it. Betemit is a guy that has played all four infield positions and can give you innings at first, second, and third in a pinch but his best tool is his bat. Last year he followed up the 2010 season (when he had a .889 OPS over 315 plate appearances) with a line of .285/.343/.452 with 22 doubles, 4 triples, 8 homeruns, 46 RBI, and 4 stolen bases over 359 plate appearances split between the Royals and Tigers. As a switch hitter he is more effective from the left side of the plate (.817 career OPS against RHP, .684 against LHP) so he’ll get most of the at bats from the DH slot against righties with, I assume, one of Mark Reynolds/Nolan Reimold/Jai Miller being the DH against left handed starters. Betemit’s vesting option guarantees him a third year after 700 plate appearances. That doesn’t appear that hard to reach but it allows the Orioles to release him before then if hes not performing up to their expectations. The 2012 Orioles are starting to come together. There could be another minor signing or two and maybe a trade before spring training but I wouldn’t expect any big shake ups at this point, to the dismay of alot of fans I’m sure. We’ve improved. By how much remains to be seen.

O’s Add Another Left Handed Starter In Chen

January 10, 2012

The Orioles have signed Taiwanese LHP Wei-Yin Chen to a three year contract worth around $12 million with an option for the 2015 season.

I really like this signing. Dan Duquette continues his foray into the international market, signing his second left handed pitcher that was a successful starter in Japan. I liked the Wada signing even though he most likely ends up in the bullpen, but Chen has more upside. Hes only 26 and throws much harder, sitting between 90-92 and reportedly hitting up to 96 mph. He has a slow curve ball, an inconsistent slider, and worked on a forkball in 2011. If he was a pitcher in our farm system he would probably slot anywhere from 4-7 in our top 10. He had a career record of 36-30 with a 2.59 ERA over five seasons in Japan. In 2011 he was 8-10 with a 2.68 ERA over 164.2 innings with 94 strikeouts and 31 walks. He dealt with a minor leg injury for some of the season.

The O’s get great value at about $4 million a year. Sure there is some risk associated as Chen (and Wada) have to adjust to the lifestyle and five man rotation of the major leagues but he could be a steal. At worst hes a left handed power arm out of the bullpen but he could also end up as a middle of the rotation starter, which would be a steal at that price. Spring Training will be interesting as we learn more about Chen, Wada, and the rest of our new additions to the roster. We now have alot of depth at SP and I like that the young guys like Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, etc. will have to earn their places in the rotation, unlike recent years where they were handed spots. As it stands we have Jeremy Guthrie, Chen, Wada, Tommy Hunter, Dana Eveland, Arrieta, Britton, Matusz, Chris Tillman, Brad Bergesen, and Alfredo Simon all fighting for rotation. Theres also alot to choose from for the bullpen as well. Its not something we’re used to but its nice to have. We also have the ability to trade from the depth if Duquette so chooses. Hes not done molding this team yet.

More Minor Trades

January 4, 2012

The Orioles have traded 1B Brandon Snyder to the Texas Rangers for cash considerations and also traded their own cash considerations to the Oakland Athletics for OF Jai Miller.

Snyder was the Orioles 1st round draft pick in the 2005 draft. He rebounded from a disappointing start to his career by becoming one of the O’s top prospects after solid seasons from 2007-2009. Once he got to AAA he stalled out and wasn’t able to continue his development enough to stay in the majors. Last year for Norfolk he hit .261/.312/.406 with 21 doubles, a triple, 14 homeruns, and 71 RBI. He got 13 at bats for the Orioles, hitting .231. Maybe a change of scenery will do him good. At least he’ll be in a good hitting environment with the PCL and the Rangers home ballpark. This trade opens up the first base job at Norfolk for Joe Mahoney to move up from AA Bowie.

Miller is an interesting player. He plays above average defense at all three outfield positions and his on base percentage and power numbers have increased steadily over the past few years, along with his strikeouts. He had the best season of his career in 2011 but it was in the hitters haven PCL. He hit .276/.368/.588 with 24 doubles, 4 triples, 32 homeruns, 88 RBI, and 16 stolen bases over 410 AAA at bats. He’d be a nice player to stash at AAA Norfolk in case of an injury or trade but unfortunately he would have to pass through waivers to get there as hes out of options. He’ll be given a chance to make the team out of spring training and maybe a spot will open up before then. There are rumors of potential trades of Adam Jones (maybe to the Braves for SP Jair Jurjjens and prospects?) and/or Nolan Reimold (to the White Sox for SP Gavin Floyd?). I have a feeling all these minor moves are going to eventually set up some bigger transactions in the coming weeks. Only time will tell.

More Bench Depth Signed

December 21, 2011

The Orioles have signed OF Endy Chavez to a one year contract for $1.5 million. There are also incentives which could add $500,000 to the deal if reached.

The Orioles have yet to make any big trades or signings to help the major league club but Dan Duquette has done very well in improving the bench. Acquiring players like Taylor Teagarden, Matt Antonelli, Ryan Flaherty, and now Chavez will keep there from being a huge drop off when a starter is hurt or gets a day off. Chavez will be a very good fourth outfielder. Hes a great defender at all three outfield positions and can handle the bat. He doesn’t have great power or plate discipline but hits for a good average. Last year with the Texas Rangers he hit .301/.323/.426 with 11 doubles, 3 triples, 5 homeruns, 27 RBI, and 10 stolen bases after being called up from AAA in late May. Chavez batted .305/.353/.445 with 8 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homeruns, 17 RBI, and 6 stolen bases with Round Rock. As it stands right now he’ll be the primary back up for Nolan Reimold, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis while getting a little more playing time in left field than the other spots. I don’t think he’ll platoon with Reimold but he’ll most likely get one or two starts a week out there. It remains to be seen whether the Orioles make a big splash this offseason but at least they’re getting the little things right with the depth signings and foray into the international market. Its pretty certain that this team isn’t going to do much in 2012 at this point unless something drastic happens but we can at least be respectable while waiting for the players to develop in the farm system and on the big league level.

A Minor Trade

December 16, 2011

The Orioles have traded LHP Jarret Martin and OF Tyler Henson to the Los Angelos Dodgers for LHP Dana Eveland.

This is a confusing trade. Eveland is a guy that was a candidate to be non-tendered, where he would’ve been available to sign for free. There are also plenty of pitchers on the free agent market who profile as a fringe back end starter/long reliever like him. I guess the Orioles saw something they liked enough to give up something for him. During a cup of coffee during September call ups Eveland went 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA over 29.2 innings with 16 strikeouts and 6 walks. For AAA Albuquerque Isotopes he was 12-8 with a 4.38 ERA over 154 innings with 107 strikeouts and 61 walks. That was in the PCL, a very hitter friendly environment. Still I don’t see him as anything other than depth at AAA Norfolk or as a long reliever that can step in and start if we need him. Eveland was once a pretty highly touted prospect in Oakland’s system but has never found much success in the majors and has bounced around quite a bit over the past few years.

At least the Orioles didn’t give up much of anything. Neither of the players going to the Dodgers were even close to making my top 25 prospect list. Jarret Martin has a good fastball and might be decent if/when he moves into the bullpen but hes very wild and inconsistent. For A Delmarva this year he went 5-12 with a 4.96 ERA over 110.2 innings with 97 strikeouts and 65 walks. Henson was a fifth round pick in the 2006 draft but has never put together a great season. Hes a very good athlete but hit only .247/.313/.321 with 18 doubles, three triples, three homeruns, 36 RBI, and nine stolen bases over 449 at bats. These minor deals appear to me as Dan Duquette clearing what he considers filler so he can bring in some of his own guys into the system.

A Couple Minor Signings

November 28, 2011

UPDATE: Chong decided to stay in Korea, accepting a three year deal from one of their teams. Not a big loss but it would’ve been an interesting signing.

The Orioles have signed 2B/3B Matt Antonelli and Korean RHP Chong Tae-Hyon to major league contracts.

Antonelli is a former first round pick and was once a highly regarded prospect for the San Diego Padres. He gets a one year deal with a chance to be a starter at either second or third base. Most likely he’ll be a solid option off the bench but if Mark Reynolds starts at first base or Brian Roberts isn’t healthy to start the season he has a chance. He has a solid glove and is good at getting on base. He has decent power for a second baseman. Over 300 at bats for AAA Syracuse he batted .297/.393/.460 with 19 doubles, 3 triples, 8 HRs, 30 RBI, and 6 stolen bases. After coming off an excellent 2007 season, he struggled in 2008 including a brief stint in the majors. He battled injuries in 2009 and 2010 before having a bounce back year last season at age 26. I like the signing for bench depth.

Chong is the first South Korean player to get signed directly to the major leagues. Hes 33 years old and pitched for Korea in the World Baseball Classic with some success. He was a late inning reliever with very good stats over there in his career. Last season he had a 1.48 ERA over 52.2 innings with 39 strikeouts and 28 walks. Thats not a great K/BB ratio but hes a groundball pitcher and the year before he had 47 strikeouts and only 8 walks over 45 innings with a 1.40 ERA. Hes a submarine style pitcher that will probably profile as a right handed specialist in the majors. Apparently the deal is for two years for a total of $3 million. I’m not convinced he’ll be a great pitcher in the major leagues but I like the fact that Dan Duquette is taking chances and looking at different avenues for talent. He said he was going to put more emphasis on international talent and so far hes lived up to his word.

Dan Duquette Replaces MacPhail

November 6, 2011

The Orioles have announced that former Expos and Red Sox GM Dan Duquette has replaced Andy MacPhail as executive vice president of baseball operations.

Duquette hasn’t been heard from since he was fired by Boston following the 2002 season. He has had success in the past, building a championship caliber team in Montreal before the strike ruined their season in 1994 and putting together most of the 2004 world series winning Red Sox roster before he was fired. He traded for Pedro Martinez twice, signed Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. He has legitimate credentials and has alot of ties to Japan and South America which is a big need for the Orioles. His style won’t be too much different from MacPhail’s aside from the international market, but he probably won’t be as conservative. I’m just worried his time away from the game will have him playing catch up while other teams are making their moves. The Orioles strung along the process of hiring the new GM in traditional Peter Angelos fashion. Taking forever to get the process started, dragging out the initial interviews. He waited until right before free agency started to offer the job to Toronto assistant GM Tony LaCava, only to have him turn down the job and forcing the O’s to go through the whole process over again. Another one of our candidates, Jerry DiPoto, took the Angels GM job. This team is the biggest joke in baseball and its embarrassing. Duquette seems like a good baseball guy but hes gonna have his work cut out for him working for this organization. If hes allowed to do his job we might have a chance for some good years but I don’t think we’ll ever be truly competitive again until Angelos sells the team. The sooner the better.

Another Trade With The Rangers

August 31, 2011

The Orioles have traded LHP Mike Gonzalez to the Texas Rangers for RHP Pedro Strop. LHP Zach Phillips has been recalled from AAA Norfolk.

Gonzalez’ value has risen steadily over the past month. For the season hes 2-2 with a 4.27 ERA over 46.1 innings with 46 strikeouts and 18 walks but he didn’t give up a run in August over 10.1 innings with 15 strikeouts and no walks. Strop is a converted shortstop with excellent raw stuff. He has a fastball in the high 90’s, a nasty splitter, and a decent slider. The problem, as usual, is control. He walks too many batters and becomes a one pitch pitcher when he falls behind in the count. He had a 3.72 ERA for the Rangers this year over 9.2 innings with 9 strikeouts and 7 walks. With AAA Round Rock he had a 3.59 ERA over 47.2 innings with 55 strikeouts and 24 walks. This is the third trade the Orioles have made with the Rangers this year after trading Koji Uehara for Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis and Nick Green for the aforementioned Phillips. Phillips was 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA over 13.2 innings with 7 strikeouts and 7 walks with Norfolk since being acquired. Not a great strikeout to walk ratio but he’ll get a tryout in September to see what he can do at the major league level.

O’s Claim Jo-Jo Reyes

August 3, 2011

The Orioles have claimed LHP Jo-Jo Reyes off of waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. LHP Mark Hendrickson was optioned to AAA Norfolk and RHP Justin Duchscherer was released.

The 26 year old lefty is most well known for his losing, in particular having lost 18 consecutive decisions. Hes been almost exclusively used as a starting pitcher in his career but will work out of the bullpen for the O’s, at least to start. Over 20 starts this season he is 5-8 with a 5.40 ERA over 110 innings with 64 strikeouts and 33 walks. He was a second round pick by the Atlanta Braves in 2003 and was very successful working his way up the minor leagues as one of their top prospects. Unfortunately for him he never really had any major league success. Hes still relatively young so maybe he’ll put it together but I find that highly unlikely. A more realistic hope would be for him to turn into an effective long and middle reliever. Theres no risk other than money and the season is already down the drain so I don’t see any harm at giving him a shot. He might eventually get a spot in the rotation if theres any more injuries. I can see a similarity between Reyes and our own Chris Tillman although Chris has done a little bit better at the major league level. Theres still a little glimmer of hope with Tillman yet but time is running out. As for Duchscherer, I never had any expectation of him making it back from him injuries after spring training. It was worth a shot but ended up as another failed free agent signing. Hendrickson was his typical self, just about what you would expect with a 5.40 ERA over 10 innings with 5 strikeouts, and 6 walks.