Radhames Liz was claimed off waivers Wednesday by the San Diego Padres, ending the Orioles tenure of a pitcher once regarded as one of the organization's top prospects.
Liz, a 26-year-old right-hander who was ranked by Baseball America in 2008 as the Orioles' second-best prospect behind catcher Matt Wieters, went 6-8 with a 7.50 ERA in 28 big league appearances (21 starts) over the past three seasons.
Armed with a fastball that he threw in the mid-to-high 90s, Liz was dominant at times coming up through the minor leagues. In 2007, he went 11-4 with a 3.22 ERA for Double-A Bowie and struck out 161 in 137 innings. He held batters to a .204 average that season en route to being named the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
However, his minor league success never translated to the majors. He made nine appearances (four starts) for the Orioles in 2007 and went 0-2 with a 6.93 ERA, allowing 25 hits and 23 walks in 24 2/3 innings.
Liz didn't fare much better in 2008, going 6-6 with a 6.72 ERA in 17 starts, and surrendering 99 hits and 51 walks in 84 1/3 innings.
Orioles officials discussed using Liz out of the bullpen for the 2009 season, but his role was never established. He went 0-3 with a 5.68 ERA at Triple-A Norfolk, making 11 of his 17 appearances out of the bullpen. He also started eight games for Bowie, compiling a 4-1 record and a 2.63 ERA.
Liz, who struggled to harness his control and develop secondary pitches, made two relief appearances for the Orioles in 2009 and was shelled for 10 earned runs in 1 1/3 innings.
His departure leaves the Orioles with one open spot on their 40-man roster. Left-handed pitcher Chris Waters, who was dropped from the 40-man roster last week, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Norfolk.
In other news, left fielder Nolan Reimold was selected to the Topps Rookie All-Star Team, the only Oriole to receive the honor. Wieters was left off the team in favor of former Oriole and current New York Mets catcher Omir Santos. Wieters had better numbers than Santos in every major offensive category.