So, the Orioles added another pitcher from another organization Friday in exchange for cash (or a player to be named later).
I know, you’re shocked and thrilled.
This time, it was 22-year-old right-hander Miguel Castro from the Colorado Rockies. In turn, the Orioles designated right-hander Joe Gunkel for assignment.
Castro has a big arm – in 2015 he skipped several minor league rungs to be the Toronto Blue Jays closer, but that didn’t work out. He ultimately was shipped to Colorado as part of the Troy Tulowitzki deal.
Castro is young, cheap, talented and has minor-league options remaining.
That checks every box for Dan Duquette, the Orioles’ executive vice president who is the undisputed master of these moves.
Castro, who hasn’t pitched in more than a week, will head to Florida to work on some things, get the rust off and then will begin his career in the organization at Double-A Bowie.
Don’t be surprised if you see Castro at some point in Baltimore. That’s the way it works around here.
Snicker all you want about Dumpster diving, but if Castro helps win one game in 2017, buying him from Colorado is worth it.
And if he doesn’t contribute for the Orioles this year, well, maybe 33-year-old veteran Edwin Jackson, whose minor league deal with the Orioles was announced Friday, will. Or maybe 24-year-old Andrew Faulkner, whom the Orioles acquired from the Texas Rangers for cash (or a player to be named) on Thursday, will help in the big leagues.
I could go on and on writing about guys you haven’t heard of but might. It’s not the most orthodox way to build the back end of a roster, but, as Duquette says, “we have to be resourceful.”
Duquette is the Martha Stewart of baseball resourcefulness.
Think about this: The Orioles need a starter for April 15 and the five candidates that have been discussed previously are holdovers Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson as well as Gabriel Ynoa, Jayson Aquino and Chris Lee.
Wright and Wilson were drafted by the Orioles the year before Duquette arrived in Baltimore.
But the other three are all part of Duquette’s cheap-pitcher-with-upside collection.
He bought Ynoa from the New York Mets in February. He bought Aquino from the Cardinals last April. He sent two international bonus slots to the Houston Astros in May 2015 for Lee.
And those three should all be in the majors at some point in 2017. One potentially in a week.
Vidal Nuno is already with the big league team. Duquette traded a minor leaguer to the Los Angeles Dodgers for him in February.
Then there’s Jesus Liranzo, Richard Bleier and Logan Verrett – all members of the 40-man roster, whose acquisitions were met with a collective shrug by the fan base.
“I know when we first acquired Liranzo or Aquino or Chris (Lee), OK, minor league deal. But guess what? Here we sit. We’ll see,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “There’s a long way from where they are now to contributing consistently, but where else are you gonna get them from? We haven’t been fortunate yet in some of the other programs that people are.”
Reading between the lines on that quote puts me on my biggest soapbox – one I’ve screamed from both before and during Duquette’s reign: The club’s woeful record in signing and developing international amateurs. Besides Jonathan Schoop, it’s pretty much non-existent. Fans often complain about the Orioles’ draft selections, but 10 members of the current 25-man roster were drafted by the club. Not all are stars, but that’s more homegrown players than a lot of teams have. Internationally? Not good. Not good at all.
So, when the Orioles aren’t buying free agents or signing their own – they have the 10th highest payroll in baseball at $164 million to start 2017 – they are supplementing in various ways.
One prominent manner is Duquette’s continual acquisition of players – mainly pitchers — that other organizations aren’t holding onto.
You can call it what you want.
The crazy thing is, he keeps making it work.