By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
7:16 AM EDT, July 24, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo.
Newly acquired Orioles pitcher Francisco Rodriguez is expected to arrive in Kansas City today and be added to the team’s 25-man roster.
The Orioles have already transferred Nolan Reimold to the 60-day DL to get 40-man roster space, but after Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Royals, manager Buck Showalter said he was considering two corresponding 25-man roster moves to add Rodriguez.
I’m still thinking it will be right-hander Jairo Asencio.
That would leave left-hander T.J. McFarland as the sole long-relief pitcher, which is fine.
What’s more intriguing is how Rodriguez, who was mainly a closer this season for the Brewers, fits into the Orioles’ bullpen mix.
I don’t think there’s any reason to think that Jim Johnson’s closer job is in jeopardy. But the addition of Rodriguez gives Showalter another closer option when Johnson needs a day of rest. His innings are up this season.
Rodriguez should be fresh. He didn't sign a minor league deal with the Brewers until mid-April.
And a combination of Johnson, Rodriguez, Darren O'Day and Tommy Hunter for the final three innings of games seems pretty impressive. Lots of different looks there.
Rodriguez has incredible numbers against left-handers -- holding them to a .102 batting average -- mainly because of his change-up. Opposing hitters have a .069 batting average and .272 OPS against Rodriguez’s change-up this season, accoring to ESPN Stats and Information.
So he can help the Orioles in a few different ways -- in the late innings and situationally.
We should find out a little more today.
But give Dan Duquette credit for moving quickly. The Orioles haven’t sat back and waited for the trade market to develop. It’s still a week from the non-waiver trade deadline and the Orioles have upgraded considerably.
Timing has been key. Trading for Scott Feldman earlier this month had given the Orioles rotation stability heading into August. And now we are finally looking at a rotation of five solid starters.
And while interest in Rodriguez seemed to be lukewarm, the Orioles recognized they needed to upgrade the 'pen to contend instead of believing they could sustain it internally.
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