The Orioles announced this afternoon that they sent cash considerations to the New York Mets to acquire 26-year-old right-hander Logan Verrett, a former Orioles’ Rule 5 pick.
It’s one of those low-cost, low-risk moves that executive vice president Dan Duquette has utilized throughout his Baltimore tenure. Many don’t pan out, but some do, and that’s allowed the Orioles to build depth for their Triple-A and major-league rosters.
This move also looks to be a way for the Orioles to save a few million dollars as they head toward a club-record payroll in 2017 – potentially at the expense of a 2016 Oriole.
Verrett was 4-10 with a 4.65 ERA in 53 games (16 starts) with the Texas Rangers and Mets over the last two seasons. He spent the spring of 2015 with the Orioles and pitched well, but the club ultimately chose instead to keep another Rule 5 pick, high-ceiling right-hander Jason Garcia, who posted a 4.73 ERA in 24 starts at Double-A Bowie in 2016.
Verrett was claimed off waivers by the Rangers in March, 2015. Ultimately, he was returned to New York that season. In 2016, he was 3-8 with a 5.20 ERA in 35 games (12 starts) for the Mets, who selected him in the third round of the 2011 draft out of Baylor University.
“Good, solid, dependable kid,” Duquette said in a statement about Verrett. “Every staff needs a pitcher who can pitch multiple roles like Logan Verrett. Glad to have him back with the O’s.”
The Orioles already had a pitcher that was competent in multiple roles: right-handed swingman Vance Worley, who was 2-2 with a 3.53 ERA in 35 games (four starts) last season.
The argument can be made that Worley was one of the club’s most valuable pitchers in 2016, logging 86 2/3 innings, while starting two games in April and two in July. Eight times Worley was asked to pitch at least three innings out of the bullpen.
Like most swingmen, Worley preferred starting. But he accepted his role, and usually gave the Orioles quality bridge innings.
The problem is that Worley is arbitration-eligible and likely will receive a raise that would push him above $3 million for next season. The Orioles have until Friday to decide whether to offer Worley arbitration or cut him loose.
It’s a tough call, because Worley did his job effectively. But $3-million-plus is an awful lot for a swingman – a position often held by younger pitchers.
Now, with the acquisition of Verrett, the upcoming Worley decision likely becomes easier. The Orioles aren’t showing their hand, but it would be somewhat of a surprise if the club didn’t cut ties with Worley to save money.
Verrett then would compete for the swingman job with Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright, among others. Verrett has a minor-league option remaining and made about the minimum last year ($514,875). Plus, he’s under team control through 2021. Worley would be eligible for free agency after 2018.
Financially, it makes sense.
But I’m always of the belief that you can’t have enough big-league pitching. And Worley is a big-league pitcher – no doubt about it. If it were my money – and it’s not – I’d keep him.
And maybe the Orioles will offer Worley arbitration by Friday. But with the Verrett news, it appears that “The Vanimal” will be looking for another job soon.
The good news for Worley — a good guy — is that he should be able to find another job fairly easily.
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