Ryan Webb ... Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: Dumpster Diving Dandies of Dan Duquette


Shooting at Baltimore Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette is not unlike going on a safari hunting adventure and shooting a rhinoceros in a cage at the zoo. It simply is not difficult. Never have I ever seen someone so easy to criticize. He walks right into it; but I don’t think he gives an oriole bird’s patoot about what anyone thinks of him. You’ve got to admire his personal security, even if he would be a bore to hang out with.

More and more as Orioles fans watch him maneuver, one reads of him being called “Dumpster Dan.”  Feeding that moniker are, for example, moves that he has made over the past two weeks. While sending away 101-saves-king Jim Johnson, new acquisitions include the household baseball names: Kelvin De La Cruz, Brad Brach, Edgmer Escalona, Johnny Monell, Jemile Weeks, Francisco Peguero, Ryan Webb, and and Shin-Soo Choo.  (OK – I just made up the last one to help myself feel better.) Actually, from a writing point of view, the worst thing about these dumpster dandies is remembering how to spell their names!

Again, it is so easy to shoot Duquette … and some folks right now are saying indeed, “fire away!”  Even while writing this on Friday afternoon, Scott Feldman has signed with the Astros and fan favorite Nate McLouth with the Nationals – that is a poke in the eye!

Orioles fans everywhere know (and to varying extents understand) the difficult position that Duquette and the Orioles face. The Birds have to find ways to beat the Yankees and Red Sox while being massively outspent by them. And this does not even take into account the best player development team in Baseball – the Tampa Bay Rays.

How does Duquette manage a budget to pay a core of stars whose success demands higher dollars each year, while also filling in the remaining holes with quality?  It would seem that his strategy is to bring in a host of players with athletic ability at a given position, let them fight it out and earn it the Smith-Barney way, and hope for an adequate-to-above-average answer arises from the dust of competition.

Since the latest acquisition, Ryan Webb, has the easiest name to spell, let’s look at his numbers and consider how he might help the bullpen.  This is not a bad pick-up at all. In fact, I don’t understand why the Marlins would have non-tendered Webb – a viewpoint shared by an article on this Network’s Miami page: Marlin Maniac.

The Orioles have signed Webb to a two-year 4.5-million contract. Somewhat in the similar vein of Jim Johnson, he is a sinker-balling ground-ball pitcher. And that is good at Camden Yards – unless the opposition drives hard singles through the infield over and over, which would sometimes happen with Johnson. Webb’s average-against numbers are at .244 from both sides of the plate. He keeps the ball in the ballpark.

Webb’s  ERA with the Marlins this past year was at 2.91, and he pitched 80.1 innings. Could he compete for a closer’s role? One would think so, even though he does walk 3.0 batters per nine innings.

There are so many “ins and outs” of looking at Webb’s possible effectiveness as a regular ninth-inning guy as compared to other in-house options.  In the chart below, it appears that Darren O’Day, Tommy Hunter, and Brian Matusz all have total numbers that are superior to Webb. But remember that each of these have very bad splits left/right … whereas Webb is a consistent .244.  Remember also that much of the pitching done by these three Orioles was in match-up situations. Troy Patton’s 2013 stats are not as good for sure.

So, here is a 2013 chart of the four Orioles I’ve mentioned, Ryan Webb, and also new acquisitions Escalona (Colorado) and De La Cruz (from AAA Albuquerque – where the ball flies out of the park easily)…

Name

Age

Tm Lg

W

L

ERA

G

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

WHIP

H/9

HR/9

BB/9

SO/9

Matusz

26

BAL AL

2

1

3.53

65

51.0

43

21

20

3

16

50

1.157

7.6

0.5

2.8

8.8

O’Day

30

BAL AL

5

3

2.18

68

62.0

47

16

15

7

15

59

1.000

6.8

1.0

2.2

8.6

Hunter

26

BAL AL

6

5

2.81

68

86.1

71

28

27

11

14

68

0.985

7.4

1.1

1.5

7.1

Patton

27

BAL AL

2

0

3.70

56

56.0

57

25

23

8

16

42

1.304

9.2

1.3

2.6

6.8

Webb

27

MIA NL

2

6

2.91

66

80.1

70

30

26

5

27

54

1.207

7.8

0.6

3.0

6.0

Escalona

26

COL NL

1

4

5.67

37

46.0

52

32

29

8

14

34

1.435

10.2

1.6

2.7

6.7

De La Cruz

24

Albq PCL

3

1

2.89

47

62.1

62

23

20

3

35

78

1.556

9.0

0.4

5.1

11.

 

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