Baltimore Orioles Face Former Prospect Eduardo Rodriguez


Mar 3, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles left fielder Nolan Reimold (14) during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

After the Baltimore Orioles traded away prospect Eduardo Rodriguez for reliever Andrew Miller on July 31st of last year, we all knew the day would come when he would pitch against the team that signed him as an amateur free agent in 2010. We just thought it might be at least another year away, but it is going to happen tonight.

The big fear of trading prospects at that time of year is that you are only basically getting a two-month rental to make a run at winning it all. You might not win it all (didn’t) … you might not be able to re-sign the veteran (didn’t) … you might end up trading the next Cy Young (we’ll see).

However, this is the price and practice of being a contending team. It beats the alternative state through which we suffered for more than a decade.

This will be the third start for Rodriguez, and so far he is on pace to be even better than Cy Young, who had a career ERA of 2.61.  Right now for Rodriguez it is 0.61 over 14.2 innings, giving up only four hits (the lone run being a homer by the Twins’ Brian Dozier) and striking out 14.

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It could be argued that the Orioles look pretty stupid in making this deal. And there is no doubt that the O’s had no doubt that he was a legitimate prospect. He is still only age 22.

But look back at his numbers in the minors. For the Orioles, the highest level he pitched was at AA Bowie in 2013 and 2014. Combined, his record was 7-10 with an ERA of 4.49 – hardly the stuff of a soon-to-be big leaguer.

However, since going to the Boston organization, he finished 2014 at AA Portland going 3-1 with a 0.96 ERA in six starts. Before being recently called up, Rodriguez was 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA in 8 starts at AAA Pawtucket. I guess the Venezuelan has a taste for clam chowder.

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All of this is to say that, though it is no shock that Rodriguez is succeeding at this point, there was no certainty that this would happen. And if he shuts down the Orioles tonight (as young first-time-being-seen pitchers often do with the O’s), it is not an illustration of an incredibly foolish move being made by Duquette. If there is criticism to be made, I would submit that it would more justly be assigned to the failure (or disinterest) in not re-signing Miller – who has a 1.04 ERA and 17 saves for The Evil Empire.

Miguel Gonzalez will take the hill for the Orioles, who are playing with a 24-man roster for another five games due to the Brian Matusz silliness.

In other news, according to sources, Nolan Reimold will be called up. Who will go down? By the time you read this, you may know more than when I write it … though Cesar Cabral or T.J. McFarland would appear the likely candidates.

The Orioles could bat Reimold at leadoff and put Manny Machado at the better position of second in the lineup. The 1-2 spots of the order have never looked right this year, and Reimold-Machado looks better to me than what we have endured so far.

Next: Are the Orioles getting back to normal?