For about five minutes Friday night, I thought the Orioles had caught a break. When reports surfaced that the Toronto Blue Jays had traded outfielder Vernon Wells to the Los Angeles Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera, my first thought was, "How the heck did Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos pull that off without sending boatloads of money with Wells?"
My second thought was that there had to be some Orioles pitchers smiling.
Even during his struggles, Wells had joined the growing list of Orioles killers. The 32-year-old outfielder has a career .301 average, .342 on-base percentage and .519 slugging percentage in 158 games against the Orioles. His 32 homers and 106 RBIs against Orioles pitching are the most for him against any opponent. For his career, he is 8-for-18 off Brad Bergesen; 11-for-35 with two homers off Jeremy Guthrie; and 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs off Brian Matusz.
I was well aware that the Jays' ability to jettison him and that believed-to-be-untradeable contract provides huge payroll relief and ultimately makes them even more dangerous to the Orioles in the long run. But less than four weeks before spring training, I was more struck by the idea that Orioles pitching wasn't going to have to face Wells 71 times in 2011.
But any benefit from that quickly eroded a couple of hours later when reports surfaced that the Tampa Bay Rays had agreed to terms with both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez.
Damon is a .301 career hitter against the Orioles with a .361 on-base percentage and a .470 slugging percentage. He also has more homers (29) and RBIs (118) against the Orioles than he has versus any other team.
Then there's Ramirez, whose line against the Orioles includes a .316 average, .422 on-base percentage and .530 slugging percentage. He has 36 homers and 152 RBIs against the Orioles in 192 games.
So much for the Orioles catching a break.
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