The Orioles took a flier on Will Ohman this off-season to compete for a spot as a lefty our of the pen. Ohman made the team out of Spring Training, and has put together a decent enough season, striking out 8.7 batters per nine innings pitched and posting a 3.30 ERA. His control has been… let’s say not so good (5.4 BB/9), though he’s been slightly above replacement level with his 4.38 FIP and 4.40 xFIP. Basically he’s only of interest due to being left-handed and cheap, and there was obviously no point in the Orioles holding on to him for the rest of the season.
Ohman will be heading to Florida in return for pitcher Rick VandenHurk. The 25 year-old righty has 155.2 career IP in the majors spread across four seasons, and while his 5.96 ERA, 5.19 FIP, and 4.87 xFIP are less than inspiring, he has missed some bats (8.8 K/9). His relatively limited Pitch/FX data doesn’t seem very impressive; 92 mph rising fastball with some tail, mediocre** slider, change-up with more tail than sink, and the occasional curveball that has actually gotten a few whiffs. Maybe a #5 starter, but more likely another arm out of the bullpen** where his stuff might play better. I’d be more of a fan if he wasn’t a flyball pitcher, and he’s also had some arm issues in recent years.
* I asked Kevin Goldstein (Baseball Prospectus) about VandenHurk: “Doubtful, but I’ve always wondered what he could do in a pen. RT @CamdenCrazies: @Kevin_Goldstein Can Rick VandenHurk stick in a ML rotation?”
I also asked Keith Law (ESPN) about him: “I also like Rick VandenHurk as a flier on a good arm, but the problem is that right now the Orioles couldn’t develop a Polaroid.” Don’t like hearing the second part of that at all.
** To Goldstein: “Thanks. Quick follow-up; what’s his better breaking-ball? Seems to use the slider more, but the curve maybe more effective?” Response: “The fact that neither is great had been the problem all along.”
The trade is a win for the Orioles in that Ohman wouldn’t provide future value while Vandenhurk might (even if it’s only a little), but I don’t see anything to get too excited about.
That this is the only deal the O’s made at the deadline is disappointing. I guess winning 60 games instead of 55 this year matters more than potentially going from 85 to 90 in 2012, or 2013, etc.