The ex-Oriole report: Gonzalez, Wieters and others off to strong starts in 2017 -

Paul Folkemer

The ex-Oriole report: Gonzalez, Wieters and others off to strong starts in 2017

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

During the Orioles’ five-game homestand that starts Friday, they’ll come face-to-face with two former teammates who are off to hot starts in 2017.

Tonight, right-hander Miguel Gonzalez is scheduled to start for the White Sox against the Orioles’ Wade Miley. Gonzalez, of course, broke into the majors with the Orioles in 2012 and was a key member of their rotation for four seasons. But after Gonzalez’s shaky and injury-plagued 2015 season and poor performance in 2016 spring training, and the club’s desire to cut payroll, the Orioles elected to release Gonzalez at the end of camp to save about $4 million on his contract.

If the Orioles could do it over again, they’d probably make a different choice. Gonzalez landed with the White Sox last year and posted a 3.73 ERA in 24 games (23 starts), a solid performance that would’ve helped an Orioles’ rotation that struggled for much of 2016. This year, Gonzalez has been even better. In five starts, he’s 3-1 with a 3.27 ERA, including two outings in which he pitched eight or more innings and allowed one or no runs.

After Gonzalez and the White Sox leave town this weekend, the regional rival Nationals will come to Baltimore on Monday, where the Orioles will be reunited with their longtime catcher, Matt Wieters.

Wieters, who ended his eight-year Orioles career by signing a one-year, $10.5 million contract (with a 2018 player option) in Washington, has been pounding the ball so far. Wieters has a .303 average, .924 OPS, four home runs and 12 RBIs in 22 games. He’ll be playing his first game at Camden Yards as a visitor.

Yes, there are plenty of recent ex-Orioles who are struggling or are completely out of the pro game. We’ll get to them in another installment. Today, prompted by the pending returns of Gonzalez and Wieters, here’s a look at eight other ex-Orioles — or at least guys that were in the organization recently — who are off to hot starts this season.

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  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    May 5, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Paul! Why Paul why? The others I can live with, but flaunting Matty in Red? Is this simply to vex us? To vex me? It’s like the ex-girlfriend you find on facebook pictured with a better looking and wealthier husband. It hurts deep inside. Why do you do this Paul?

    • Dan Connolly

      May 5, 2017 at 8:46 am

      Paul’s just the writing messenger. I chose the picture. And I knew a piece of you would break when you saw it. But it’s time. Cuz the ex-girlfriend is spending a couple days in your backyard. Sorry, buddy.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 5, 2017 at 11:42 am

        LOL .. I should have known it was you.

  2. Eldersburg Enigma

    May 5, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    No wonder 2015 was a .500 campaign. That’s a lot of lost talent.

  3. Stacey

    May 5, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    I was sure it wouldn’t be worth the money to keep Miller and Cruz after 2014, but I’d love to see them on the team instead of Trumbo and O’Day.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 5, 2017 at 4:24 pm

      Ditto the Trumbo/Cruz sentiment, but don’t give up on Darren O’day.

      • Paul Folkemer

        May 5, 2017 at 4:37 pm

        O’Day is solid, but Miller is otherworldly. Miller is also two years younger than O’Day and is making only $2 million more this season (and next season they’ll each be making $9 million). Given a choice between the two, Miller is definitely the better investment.

        I think if the Orioles could do things over again with some of these players, they’d do a lot of things differently. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

  4. bigdaddydk

    May 6, 2017 at 8:20 am

    This is all interesting to see, but there’s no guarantee that they’d duplicate their successes of this season in Baltimore. Every move is a judgment call and is based on current evidence. In hindsight, 31 other NFL franchises would have drafted Tom Brady too. Suboptimal performance over a period of time, with a comparable replacement at lower cost is not a bad business decision. The O’s more recent history of developing pitching talent has been spotty, and I’m not really a fan of the Coolbaugh All or Nothing School of Hitting. Sometimes players just thrive in another environment. This may say as much about the Baltimore player development model as it does anything.

  5. Osfan73

    May 6, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    The Os could sure use Miguel about now. Hindsight being 20/20 perhaps it seems a little pennywise-pound foolish to have released him over 4 million???

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