There is no better way to start a season and a new feature than with a surprise story. Each Monday during the season, look for an Orioles MVP of the Week. Congratluations to your first ever Orioles Examiner MVP of the Week: Danys Baez.
I’m going to say this once. I was..
I was wrong.
Since Spring Training started, I have been beating the “cut Danys Baez” drum as loudly as possible. So were many others.
Much of the criticism was well deserved. Baez signed a lucrative three-year contract with the Orioles after the 2006 season and turned in an abysmal 2007, earning an ERA of 6.44 in 50 innings before going on the DL. The right-handed reliever then sat out all of 2008 while recovering from Tommy Johns surgery.
While Baltimore fans awaited Chris Ray’s return from the same procedure, most dreaded the return of Baez. Consensus opinion is that he only made his way to the 25 man roster because the O’s are on the hook for his 6 million dollar salary.
I don’t know what the metaphor “eating crow” really means, but I am eating a lot of it right now and doing so happily because Baez looked absolutely sick in his first two performances. His fastball clocked in the mid-nineties with tons of movement on it.
In 3.2 innings of work, Baez recorded 5 strikeouts and did not allow a single base runner. And Baez’s work wasn’t in the mop up role to which he was formerly relegated. Both performances allowed the O’s to preserve leads, first against the Yankees on Wednesday, then against the Rays on Friday.
Can he do it all season long? That is anyone’s guess. Baez is coming off Tommy Johns, so how his arm wears during the course of a season remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure. No matter what happens herein, Baez has proven that he has nasty stuff. Whether or not he can throw the heat all year is another issue, but what he showed in a few performances proves that those who doubted he had any talent whatsoever are wrong.
In a week that has many MVP candidates—Jones, Markakis, Guthrie—Danys Baez has earned the first ever MVP of the Week award. Here’s to hoping that he continues to make his naysayers look bad, earning several more MVPOW awards.
Sometimes it’s good to be wrong.