If I were in charge of the Orioles’ front office what would I do? Well the Orioles are mired in a six game losing streak and have lost 14 of their last 18 games. The precipitous fall down the standings has come about two months early this year and I for one would like to change that.
The first thing I would do is cut Adam Eaton and his 7.17 ERA. Yes he did have that one good start against the White Sox, but as the saying goes a broken clock is right twice a day. He is hardly the “veteran” presence that the O’s need when they eventually call up their pampered pitching prospects. The second thing I would do is call up David Hernandez to take Eaton’s spot in the rotation. Hernandez is a young guy who has been in the system a while and he deserves a shot, I think at worst he could post a 7.17 ERA and 1.73 WHIP. And for those of you who are scared about hurting our young pitcher’s psyches it doesn’t appear that he is in the team’s long term plans for the future so seeing what he has to offer affords very little downside. Right now Hernandez isn’t exactly tearing up AAA Norfolk but I guarantee you he can do better than Eaton.
As soon as Rich Hill proves that he is ready to return from the DL I would recall him and send Mark Hendrickson to the bullpen. This move also has little downside because if Hill does not pan out the O’s didn’t really lose anything, but if he does regain the form that made him into a touted prospect he can help solidify the rotation. I would say to cut Hendrickson but as he is owed considerably more than the $400,000 they are paying Eaton (1.5 million to be exact) he can serve out his term as a lefty reliever/mop-up guy and spot start in a pinch (he doesn’t have much arm left so blowing it out isn’t a concern). This move of course would send Brian Bass and his 6.62 ERA to Norfolk to get some more “seasoning.”
The last pitching move I would make would be to replace George Sherrill as the closer. Last season Sherrill showed signs of his inability to be the primary closer when he scuffled in the second half. He has continued to regress this season from his All-Star worthy performance of a year ago. I personally don’t care for the idea of a left-handed closer anyway. With the game on the line I think the better match-up would be to have a right-handed power arm and it just so happens the Orioles have one of those in Chris Ray. I think Ray will eventually round into form and reclaim the job as the season progresses but until then I would use a combination of either Jim Johnson or Ray (occasionally Sherrill) to finish games. Let’s be honest with ourselves the Orioles will seldom be in the lead late in games this season so blowing saves will severely hamper the win total. Sherrill is best in small doses as primarily a situational/set-up guy.
As far as the Felix Pie experiment I would have to call it a day for now and bring up Nolan Reimold. Again Reimold has been in the organization for a few years and he deserves a shot with the parent club, especially the way he is tearing the cover off of the ball. It would be a tough decision on what to do between Pie and Lou Montanez. I would like to see Pie develop into something special but that day may never come. He is a liability in leftfield, he runs the bases haphazardly like Melvin Mora, and he can’t pinch hit, so being the 4th outfielder is not really going to help him progress. I have a feeling he may slide through waivers and if so I would send him down. However if I thought he may be selected by another team I would have to send Montanez down just because of my desire to see Pie reach his promise. As far as Ryan Freel is concerned I would try to trade him to the National League where he can get more playing time and not be such a distraction. I don’t think he realizes that utility players batting well under the Mendoza line don’t play often in the American League. If I couldn’t find a trading partner I would probably see if he would accept assignment because injuries could play a factor down the road and depth is something, as O’s fans we know all too well, is hard to do without. Outright release would be the next option as far as Freel is concerned.
These are some of the moves I would definitely make if I were the in charge of the birds. I would also like to address the Matt Wieters situation in more depth later because it is an interesting topic unto itself but obviously Greg Zaun isn’t cutting the mustard. These are my thoughts what do you think they should do? Post a comment so we can discuss.