If you were expecting the Baltimore Orioles to make a major splash at the 2011 Winter Meetings by now, you’re probably as disappointed as a college guy might be if he found out that his crush was planning on becoming a nun. Having said that, the Orioles did make two moves this morning; first drafting someone in the Rule 5 draft, and secondly making a trade. In monitoring twitter while I was trying to write this column in a restaurant (and ultimately being failed by spotty wifi), I got the impression that many Oriole fans were a bit underwhelmed at these moves. I suppose I can understand that to a point, however without knowing too much about the personnel involved, let’s examine the moves themselves:
Rule 5 Draft – The O’s drafted Ryan Flaherty, and infielder who was previously on the Chicago Cubs‘ triple-A roster. Flaherty was drafted in 2008, is 25 years old, and seems to have a halfway decent lefty bat. In 83 games at double-A in 2011 Flaherty hit .305 with 14 homers, 20 doubles, two triples, and 66 RBI. In 49 games at triple-A, he hit .237 with 5 homers, 11 doubles, one triple, and 22 RBI. Odds are he’s not ready for the big leagues just yet from those numbers, however Dan Duquette seemed to be real big on him. (It’s worth mentioning that the O’s didn’t lose any players in the draft today.)
Trade – The Orioles traded minor leaguers Jarret Martin (P) and Tyler Henson (OF) to the L.A. Dodgers for southpaw Dana Eveland (P). Eveland, who’s been placed on the 40-man roster, was 12-8 with a 4.38 ERA in 2011 at the triple-A level, and in five big league starts with Los Angeles he was 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA. Eveland will be with his seveth organization, and he has a 19-24 record for his career in the big leagues. (Greg Miclat was also tabbed by the Texas Rangers as the PTBNL in the Taylor Teagarden trade.)
With names such as Pujols, Martin, and Reyes going off the market of late, these moves do in fact seem a bit underwhelming. However chew on this for a moment; everyone is always saying how the O’s need to replenish their minor league system, and this might just help them to do that. Duquette did say that he felt Ryan Flaherty could play a role at the big league level in 2012. Keep in mind that he’s a utility infielder…don’t the O’s have a big question mark at second base right now? So for those questioning Duquette’s motives for drafting this guy when he could be out talking to Scott Boras about Prince Fielder, depth might be your answer.
Dana Eveland is obviously a journeyman, however again I think we need to read between the lines just a bit. In the past couple of days we had been hearing rumors that the O’s were interested in Baltimore-area native Gavin Floyd of the White Sox, and that Chicago might be willing to accept Brian Matusz in return. My point in that case is that Matusz is a southpaw; good left-handed pitching is hard to come by. Eveland is also a lefty, although not with anywhere near the promise of Matusz. Am I suggesting that Eveland could replace Matusz as a lefty starter? Odds are against it, however Eveland is also a guy that’s bounced from the bigs to the minors; now he might be in a situation where he’ll spend more time in the major leagues, which could make a difference.
This is all merely just me throwing around ideas. I say that we need to read between the lines, however this could also just be the normal exchange of sub-major leaguers that we see amongst teams all the time. However while the likes of Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols certainly will sell tickets in the interim, it’s often little moves like these which help to stablize your franchise down the road.
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