How bullpen can survive a fire sale

The Baltimore Orioles strategy for the 2017 MLB Trade Deadline becomes more clear as Orioles owner Peter Angelos approves exploring trade options for the Orioles top relievers and Seth Smith.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday that Baltimore Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette received the green light to seek trades for the Orioles’ core set of relievers such as former all-stars Darren O’Day, Brad Brach, and Zach Britton.

While it may seem that selling off these pieces would mean the Orioles are throwing in the towel, the organization is capable of producing bullpen pieces. Take for example our current composition.

Darren O’Day was claimed off of waivers after getting designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers. The rest is history as the submarine pitcher has been an integral part of the bullpen. Since 2012, O’Day has played in 341 games for an ERA of 2.32.

Britton struggled as a starter for the Baltimore Orioles. After running out of minor league options, some experimenting in the minor leagues led to the discovery of his notorious power sinker. The reigning AL Reliever of the Year continues to miss bats.

Brach, a 43rd round draft pick, was a minor acquisition that cost a minor league pitcher named Devin Jones. Mr. Jones is now retired while Brach in 219 games as a bird has a 2.19 ERA.

These top three players have proven their worth time and time again. However, the next batch is promising.

Future of the Baltimore Orioles

Mychal Givens is a prime example of a player drafted as a short stop but made a move to pitcher. Givens is now an important set-up man and soon to be closer. He currently sports a 2.09 ERA along with 9.32 K/9.

When the Orioles needed help last season in the bullpen, specifically with lefty pitching, Donnie Hart came to the rescue. Hart was summoned from the minors and brought on as a lefty specialist.  He is currently riding a 2.63 ERA.

Just this off-season, Richard Bleier and Miguel Castro were two acquisitions that were barely sticking on the 40 man rosters. After a few minor trades were made, these two have stepped up in a big way by having the ability to pitch multiple innings and getting outs.

Jimmy Yacabonis and Stefan Crichton have shown plus fastballs and hope to develop consistency with their secondary stuff overtime. Tanner Scott has an electric fastball combined with an average slider that has proven to be efficient and has generated national attention as he participated in the MLB Futures Game.

Lefty Chris Lee, while struggling as a starter this season at Norfolk, contains a plus fastball that can generate a lot of ground ball outs. In fact, the pitch’s movement has drawn similarities to Britton’s fastball.

Optimism for 2017 and beyond 

Even if the Baltimore Orioles decided to sell the more proven pieces of the bullpen, the team has reason to believe they can compete for years to come. The prospect haul in return could push the Orioles in the right direction.

In a time where organizations are hungry to build their bullpen by adding proven relievers, the Orioles have shown how under the radar trades and the farm system can save costs and work.

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