Baltimore Orioles: Three Other Players Who Could Be Traded
Will Richard Bleier return to the Baltimore Orioles in 2020?
A quick look at Richard Bleier’s numbers don’t show much in terms of someone another franchise would be willing to trade for. However, Bleier can still provide value on the mound, despite turning 33 years old next April.
Bleier currently makes just north of $500,000 and is projected to earn a little more than $1 million in arbitration this offseason, according to MLB Trade Rumors. That’s a small raise for someone who ranked second among Orioles relievers in fWAR this season (0.6) despite still working his way back from major surgery.
The lefty appeared in 53 games, going 3-0 with a 5.37 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. He hadn’t posted an ERA higher than 1.99 through his first three seasons in the majors. Bleier’s FIP was more than a full run lower than his ERA (4.19). He was visibly upset at one point late in the season, arguing with Orioles coaches over defensive positioning which he felt was hurting more than helping. To be fair, he had a point.
A 4.88 K/9 IP rate is significantly low and his fastball velocity (averages 89 mph) and fastball spin rate both rank among the bottom 5% of the league, but Bleier was highly effective at producing weak contact, keeping the ball on the ground, and limiting walks.
His 3.1 barrel percentage ranked in the top 3% of major league pitchers (MLB average was 6.3%), his 3.2% walk rate was in the top 2%, and his 60% groundball rate was the second-highest mark of his career and around 15% higher than the MLB average this season.
Unfortunately, Bleier owned a .355 average against and posted a 1.77 WHIP against right-handed hitters, compared to a .222 average and 0.87 WHIP against lefties. With the days of lefty specialist pitchers seemingly numbered, will another team see enough in Bleier to come calling?