Orioles Trade For Lefty Dana Eveland

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about the Orioles potentially acquiring 28 year-old left-handed pitcher Dana Eveland. That deal was “supposed” to be for Dennis Sarfate. Today, the O’s actually traded for Eveland, picking him up from the Dodgers for pitcher Jarret Martin and outfielder Tyler Henson. Not too much from what I said about Eveland last time has changed (except that his numbers have gotten worse):

“Dana was acquired by the A’s in the Dan Haren trade with Arizona, and though he was pretty good in 2008 for them (4.34 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 4.55 xFIP), his career numbers aren’t fantastic (5.54 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 4.65 xFIP). Eveland doesn’t strike out a lot of batters (6.5 K/9 career) and his control leaves quite a bit to be desired (4.6 BB/9 career). He does induce a lot of groundballs though (50.1% career), which is handy. Not overpowering, with a sinking fastball in the high 80s and what appears to be a pretty mediocre couple of breaking pitches (a slider and a curveball) – along with a relatively straight change-up – Eveland is probably just a back-of-the-rotation starter…

My suggestion is to actually move him to the bullpen full-time, as sort of a younger and cheaper Mark Hendrickson (or, if you will, a left-handed Matt Albers). The groundballs are always nice, and being able to scrap the change-up could make him more effective. For his career, Eveland doesn’t have huge platoon splits (1.26 K/BB vs. RHB and 1.85 K/BB vs. LHB) and though his OPS against is higher versus left-handed batters (.832 to .802) that’s largely as a result of a BABIP split (.377 vs. LHB and .337 vs. RHB). His numbers as a reliever are actually worse (5.88 ERA, .884 OPS, 1.23 K/BB) than as a starter (5.48 ERA, .797 OPS, 1.43 K/BB), but he only has 41.1 career innings out of the pen.”

Getting that kind of guy off the scrap-heap is fine, but I don’t like giving up Martin for him (just Henson would have been fine, as the 24 year-old hasn’t hit particularly well in Triple-A last year). The 22 year-old lefty hasn’t put up the most impressive numbers as a starter in the minors (mostly due to poor control), but he’s got good stuff. That he has a chance to be a starter is why I’d value him above Randy Henry (traded for Taylor Teagarden*), even if Henry’s stats look better at the moment (out of the bullpen).  It’s true that Martin is unlikely to ever be as good as Eveland is now, but I like the upside play. Not a huge deal, but even with #LoweredExpectations I’m not a supporter of the trade (especially given that Eveland is going into his first arbitration year). So it looks like the Quest for .500 lives!

* The PTBNL in that trade has turned out to be infielder Greg Miclat – he of the .268/.353/.336 career Double-A line. I was never a huge Miclat fan, but with that OBP he could be a solid utility infielder one day, which certainly down-grades the trade (from when it was potentially just Henry and then essentially nothing). So that’s four relatively mediocre prospects for a 5th starter and a back-up catcher. Does that make sense for a 70-75 win team?

Dan Duquette on the trade: “We think Dana is a qualified Major League pitcher who won 15 games last year between Albuquerque and Los Angeles. He provides depth and can compete for a starting spot on our roster in 2012.”

Ugh. The Orioles are in such bad shape they’re talking up Dana Eveland as a good pitcher and, perhaps worst of all, he really might actually improve the team’s rotation.