The Orioles have acquired a left-handed pitcher Cole Irvine In a trade with the Athletics, ESPN’s Jeff Pasan reported (Twitter Links). Hope the right hand screams Kyle Virbitsky He is heading to Baltimore Darrell Hernandez He is heading to A. The clubs announced the deal.
On the one hand, this move is surprising, as there has been no previous indication that the AAs are shopping Irvin or talking to the Orioles. On the other hand, the fact that the club has been going that route for the past year is not surprising. Matt Chapman, Matt Olson, Sean Manaea And Chris Bassitt They were all traded before the 2022 campaign, he said Frankie Montas Mid season and Sean Murphy This summer.
With the club seemingly willing to strip its roster down to the wire, any established Oakland player is at least a speculative trade candidate. There was no rush to move Irvine, as he still has four years of club control left, but he will be eligible for arbitration at the end of this season and will start earning a more significant salary. It looks like they’ve accepted an offer they like to pull Ripcord early and jettison Irvin off the roster in another forward-oriented move.
The Orioles have been, and have been, looking for rotation upgrades all winter. It is reported Still on the hunt earlier this week. They haven’t shed a big payroll in recent years, so Irvin’s low salary and years of cheap control were attractive to them. By signing a veteran, they made a slight improvement this season Kyle Gibson The one-year, $10MM deal has remained quiet to date. Irvin will quickly become the club’s second most experienced starter behind Gibson.
The following week, the 29-year-old Irvin was the Phillies’ starter and made his MLB debut with them. In the year He made 19 appearances in 2019 and 2020, but with a bloated 6.75 ERA during that time. But his minor league results were much better and the A’s took a shot at sending money to Philadelphia to acquire him. The change of scenery has been great for him as he has made 62 starts with a 4.11 ERA over 359 1/3 innings over the past two seasons.
But this new landscape change will be dangerous for the O’s. Irvin has had success with a low-conflict, contact-to-contact approach over the past two years in Oakland. He only walked 5.2% of the batters he faced over those two campaigns, which is a very strong number. For reference last year the league average for starters was 7.5%. But he did strike out 16.8% of hitters for Oakland, below the league average of 21.6% last year. 37.6% of his ball access was also below par. That kind of profile worked for him within pitcher-friendly limits at the Oakland Coliseum, but it might not be as effective in different situations. Perhaps most notable is that Irvin has posted a 3.44 ERA at home over the last two years, but a 4.88 mark outside of Oakland.
The O’s seem undeterred by those splits and have added Irvin to their starting lineup, where he and Gibson should take the two spots. The rest of the rotation is less certain, with options like this Kyle Bradish, Dean Kramer, Tyler Wells, Bruce Zimmerman, Mike Baumann And Spencer Watkins On the 40-man. Each of these guys has a bit of MLB experience, but inconsistent results have prevented them from establishing themselves as big leaguers. There is also Grayson RodriguezConsidered one of the best prospects in the sport, he has yet to make his MLB debut and missed most of last year due to a concussion. It means John. Due to the Tommy John surgery in April of last year, it may be the reason for the lower line, but it may not be until the middle. It’s a squad with a lot of unknowns but the club will hope to get some reliability from Irvine and Gibson as they sort out the rest and see who separates themselves from the pack. In addition to Irvine, they also add Au Virbitsky to their system. The 24-year-old He was a 17th round draft pick in 2021. He posted a 4.63 ERA between Class-A and High-A last year, striking out 25.7% of the batters he faced while walking 5.5%. It adds some baseline depth to the lower levels of their system.
By releasing Irvin and Virbitsky, the A’s are adding an intriguing young player in Hernaiz. The 21-year-old was a fifth-round pick of the O’s in 2019. Baseball America rated him the #25 Orioles prospect in 2020, highlighting his athleticism but noting that his lack of power could be an issue for him. That looks like he’s played in the minor leagues so far. In the year He stole 22 bases but his .277/.333/.358 batting line was slightly below average, with his wRC+ coming in at 92. In 2022, he shot up three levels, going from Class-A to High-A. Double-A. Between those three stretches, he appeared in 105 games and stole 32 bases with 12 home runs. His combined batting line of .273/.341/.438 resulted in a 112 wRC+. He has split time between second base, third base and shortstop and will be in the mix for Oakland’s infield prospects. He struggled in his first 13 Double-A games and could return to that level to start this season. Rule 5 will be eligible at the end of the upcoming season.
The O’s have a lot of field opportunities with the likes Gunnar Henderson, Cabbage mayo, Joey Ortiz, Jackson Holliday, Jordan Westberg And Connor Norby Some interesting young people in the system. It seems they felt they could part with Hernaiz and still be in good shape, but the A’s continued to strengthen their farm by downsizing from their major league club. Without Irvin, their rotation consists of offseason signings Shintaro Fujinami And Drew RusinskiExisting Paul Blackburn. And James Caprilianas well A big pile Unestablished options that will jostle for playing time as the season progresses.
More to come.