The Orioles have swapped one irritable reliever for another. The only difference, besides one being right-handed and the other a southpaw, is Steve Kline's a great media guy and LaTroy Hawkins is a complete jerk. But if he gets hitters out, nobody outside of the press box will care. For that to happen, the Orioles must keep Hawkins in a set-up role and not fool themselves into thinking he can close, even on rare occasions. He's like Arthur Rhodes, mentally unsuited for the pressure of a ninth-inning save situation. He'll implode. Nobody wants to see that, least of all him.
It now seems more likely that Jorge Julio is gone if he's not going to close. But the Orioles have lost two lefty relievers, including closer B.J. Ryan. Tim Byrdak must feel like he has the ultimate job security now. How's John Parrish's arm feeling these days?
I'll miss Kline because he was a fun guy to talk to, even though every conversation included something about how miserable he was since leaving the Cardinals, how disfunctional the clubhouse was, how nobody seemed to have any passion, how it was impossible to have fun. He regretted his decision to sign with the Orioles almost from the moment the ink dried on his contract. Teammates sensed this and grew tired of his whining, and how reporters always gathered around his locker despite how awful he was pitching. Guys would roll their eyes as they walked past or glanced in his direction. And Kline wasn't a big fan of pitching coach Ray Miller or bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks, but they're also gone.
Kline will do just fine with the Giants, especially if he loses some weight. His finger hadn't healed after surgery and he wasn't ready for spring training. He still was trying to work himself into shape in June. Now there's a recipe for disaster.
Speaking of recipes, Kline needs to go low-carb. Immediately. The guy made Sidney Ponson look svelte.