The Baltimore Orioles made five trades of note during this season and although it is hard to see, we consider one of them a steal and another as an absolute clunker.
Executive VP/GM Dan Duquette tried to bolster the O's roster during the season and even brought in one of the top pitching arms on the market, but unfortunately it was not enough to carry the Birds to the postseason in 2013.
It may be hard to see, but Norris is the one trade that we consider to be a steal for the Orioles. Before you get emotional and say 'are you crazy?!'
His numbers with the Orioles do not jump off the page at you as he went 4-3 with a 4.80 ERA in 11 games with Baltimore this season. However, when you dive a little deeper into the numbers, you find he pitched fairly well. Two of his three losses came in relief when he was forced to come out of the bullpen due to extra inning games that force manager Buck Showalter into using certain starters in relief. As a starter, his ERA was 4.14, which again is not great, but looks much better than his overall 4.80 ERA.
The biggest reason this trade is considered a steal in our minds is that he was not a rental, Baltimore will has control of Norris for two more seasons, which helps solidify the starting rotation in 2014 and 2015. He is also the only true strikeout pitcher currently in the rotation, which this team needed one. Also, the Orioles sent L.J. Hoes, who was not going to make a difference at the Major League level, but the other two pieces, Josh Hader and the O's 2014 1st compensatory round pick, could end up being too high of a price for Norris, but as of right now, we consider this a steal.
And now our Clunker of the group. K-Rod was acquired in exchange for Orioles prospect Nick Delmonico, who has been a top ten prospect in the organization for a while now. This trade may have been easier to swallow if Rodriguez had pitched well for Baltimore, but he was borderline abysmal. In 23 games for the Birds, Rodriguez had a 2-1 record with a 4.50 ERA and allowed five home runs in 22 innings pitched. He also allowed 25 hits and five walks during those innings for a 1.36 WHIP with an opposing batting average of .281. As bad as the numbers truly were, the absolute worst part of this trade was the fact that he was almost exclusively used in wash up duty, which makes it even worse that the O's gave up one of their best prospects for a reliever who hardly ever figured into tight games. Oh by the way, he was a rental and is now a free agent.
OK, so perhaps there were two clunkers. Morse was acquired in August from Seattle in exchange for Xavier Avery, and although Avery was never really thought to be an answer for the Orioles in the outfield at the Major League level, Morse was terrible for the Birds. Morse got three hits, yes three hits in his time with the Birds and even missed some time due to an injury as well. The absolute lack of production from Morse, and the fact that he is now a free agent makes this deal pretty awful.
Believe it or not, this was a pretty good trade for the Orioles as they got rid of two headaches in Pedro Strop and Jake Arrieta and in exchange brought over Feldman and catcher Steve Clevenger. Feldman pitched very poor at times and extremely well at other times. He went 5-6 with the Orioles with a 4.27 ERA, but had a very respectable 1.22 WHIP and an impressive .235 opponent batting average. Feldman threw the only complete game shutout for the Orioles this season and although he is a free agent now, his friendship with Darren O'Day and respect for Buck Showalter have led him to wanting to come back to the Orioles next year, so Baltimore may have essentially acquired a guy who they will end up keeping beyond this season.
In addition, Baltimore also acquired Clevenger in this deal, who, believe it or not, could end up being the backup catcher for the Orioles next season, which is an often overlooked aspect of this deal.
The forgotten trade from early in the season, trading Ayala was a necessity due to the lack of mobility in the Orioles bullpen that forced them to get rid of one of their relievers. Baltimore shipped Ayala to Atlanta for minor league pitcher Chris Jones. Ayala will be a free agent once the season ends, but has been pretty darn good for the Braves this season as he posted a 2.90 ERA in 39 games. Given hindsight, Ayala would have been nice to have kept around in Baltimore, but at the time there was no place for him. Incase you are wondering, Jones posted a 2.67 ERA in 31 games with AAA Norfolk, so who knows, Baltimore could still come out on top in this deal.
What are your thoughts on the trades the Birds made this season? Let your voice be heard by posting a comment!
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