The Orioles acquired a left-handed pitcher Cole Irvine in a deal with the Athletics, according to announcements made by both clubs. right-handed possibility Kyle Verbitsky He will also head to Baltimore while looking for leads Daryl Hernes Heading to the A’s.
On the one hand, the move comes as a surprise, since there was no previous indication that the A’s were shopping Irvin or that they were talking to the Orioles. On the other hand, it’s not shocking to see the club continue to tear down the roster, as they have been firmly committed to this path over the past year. Matt ChapmanAnd Matt OlsonAnd Sean Manea And Chris Bassett All traded just prior to the 2022 campaign, while Frankie Montas He was dealt with mid-season and Shaun Murphy this winter.
With the club apparently wanting to strip the roster down to studs, any well-known Auckland player is at least a speculative trade candidate. There was no real rush to transfer Irvine, as he still has four years in control of the club, but he will qualify for arbitration at the end of this season and start earning a bigger salary. It appears they received an offer they liked enough to pull the ripcord early and drop Irvin from the roster in another future-focused move.
The Orioles had been looking for rotation promotions all winter and they had been It said Still in the hunt earlier this week. They haven’t run out of huge paychecks in recent years, so Irvin’s low salary and years of cheap control have certainly been attractive to them. They made one modest promotion to their rotation this offseason with the signing of the veteran Kyle Gibson to a one-year, $10 million deal but has remained quiet until today. Irvine would soon become the club’s second most experienced player behind Gibson.
Irvin, 29, was a Phillies recruit and made his MLB debut. He has appeared in 19 games over 2019 and 2020 but with a bulging 6.75 ERA in that time. But his minor league results were much better, and the senior player took a boost by sending cash considerations to Philadelphia to get him. The change of scenery has gone very well for him, as he has made 62 starts over the past two seasons with a 4.11 ERA over 359 1/3 innings pitched.
This new change of scenery will have risks for The O, though. Irvin has succeeded in Oakland over the past two years with a low strike and contact approach. He passed just 5.2% of the batters he faced over those two campaigns, which is a very strong number. For reference, the league average for rookies last year was 7.5%. But he only managed hitting hitters at an average of 16.8% for Oakland, which is well below last year’s league average of 21.6%. His 37.6% ground ball over that distance was also slightly below par. This type of profile has worked for him within the confines of a proper pitching Oakland Coliseum but may not be as effective in different circumstances. It is perhaps worth noting that Irvin has posted a 3.44 ERA at home over the past two years but a 4.88 mark outside of Oakland.
These splits are clearly unaffected by the O’s and have added Irvin to the starting mix, where he and Gibson should take two outs. The rest of the spin will be less certain, with options like Kyle BradishAnd Dean KramerAnd Tyler WellsAnd Bruce ZimmermanAnd Mike Bowman And Spencer Watkins over 40 men. Each of these guys has some MLB experience but inconsistent results have kept them from truly establishing themselves as big players. There is, too Grayson Rodriguezconsidered one of the best prospects in the sport, but has yet to make his MLB debut and missed most of last year due to a late strain. John Means He could be a factor down the line but likely won’t be until mid-season due to him having Tommy John surgery in April last year. It’s a group with a lot of unknowns, but the club is hoping to get some reliability from Irvin and Gibson as they sort through the rest and see who separates themselves from the pack. In addition to Irvin, O’s will add Virbitsky to their system. The 24-year-old was a 17th-round draft pick in 2021. He posted a 4.63 ERA last year between Class-A and High-A, hitting 25.7% batters with a 5.5% walk. It will add some starting depth to the lower levels of their system.
By letting go of Irvine and Verbitski, the champions add an interesting young player in Hernaiz. The 21-year-old was an O’s fifth-round draft pick in 2019. Baseball America ranks him the 25th overall by the Orioles in 2020, highlighting his athleticism but noting that a lack of power could be an issue for him. This seems to have been played out in his minor league time so far. After the cancellation of the minors in 2020, Hernez spent 2021 in Division I, hitting six home runs in 94 games. He’s already stolen 22 bases but his hitting streak of .277/.333/.358 is a bit below average, with his wRC+ reaching 92. In 2022, he’s moved up three levels, from Class A to High-A and double a. He got into 105 games between those three levels and stole 32 bases with 12 home runs. His combined hitting streak resulted in .273/.341/.438 112 wRC+. He split his time between second base, third base, and shortstop and will enter the Oakland prospect mix. He struggled in his first 13 Double-A games and will likely return to that level to start this season. He will be eligible for Rule 5 at the end of next season.
O has a lot of possibilities, with the likes of Gunnar HendersonAnd Kobe MayAnd Joey OrtizAnd Jackson HolidayAnd Jordan Westberg And Conor Norby Some hot guys in the system. It seemed they felt they could break away from Hernandez and still do well there, while the first team continued to bolster their farm by subtracting from their main league club. Without Irvin, their rotation would consist of two offseason signings Shintaro Fujinami And Drew Rosinskiincumbents Paul Blackburn And James CaprillianBeside Huge pile Unspecified options who will compete for playing time as the season approaches.
ESPN’s Jeff Bassan reported on the deal prior to the official announcement (Twitter links).
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.
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