The Orioles' Ineffective Part-time PlayersPosted on October 17, 2013 by Paul Folkemer
Welcome back to our ongoing series ranking the most and least replaceable players on the 2013 Orioles. In our first installment, we looked at the 16 most replaceable O's, the barely there roster fillers who appeared in just a handful of games. This time, we'll examine the Orioles who got their fair share of playing time, but failed to make the most of it.
THE INEFFECTIVE PART-TIME PLAYERS
JAKE ARRIETA: The Orioles held an open casting call during spring training for the fifth starter in the rotation, and Arrieta won the job ... which speaks poorly for the pitchers who competed against him. Arrieta pitched to a 7.23 ERA during five starts to continue a free fall that began in 2012. Arrieta's leash with the Orioles ultimately ran out, as they shipped him to minors and then to the Cubs (where he actually pitched well).
FREDDY GARCIA: One of the Orioles' 14 starting pitchers during the season, Garcia wasn't quite as lousy as Arrieta, but did his damage in twice as many starts. Garcia's 11-game, 10-start O's career ended with him pitching to a 5.77 ERA and coughing up 16 home runs in 53 innings. Garcia -- like Arrieta -- found new life in the National League after leaving the Birds, and he even started a postseason game for the Braves. Go figure.
NOLAN REIMOLD: Reimold's deteriorating career hit a new low in 2013. After several ineffective, injury-plagued years, Reimold opened the season as the Birds' designated hitter ... and soon plummeted into yet another ineffective, injury-plagued year. Reimold slipped below the Mendoza line with a .195 average, posting an OPS of .586, and then underwent a season-ending neck surgery to correct complications from a previous surgery in 2012. Few Orioles have been more snakebitten than Reimold, who will almost certainly be non-tendered this winter.
PEDRO STROP: One of the reasons the Orioles' bullpen slipped so badly in 2013 was the decline of Strop, the team's top setup man in 2012. Strop's free fall, which began at the end of the 2012 season, picked up steam in 2013 as the right-hander seemed to lose all confidence and ability to throw strikes. Strop walked 15 batters in 22.1 innings and posted a 7.25 ERA before the Orioles traded him to the Cubs, where -- surprise, surprise -- he improved. When people say the National League is an easier place to pitch, they aren't kidding.
TAYLOR TEAGARDEN: Teagarden joined the immortal ranks of Craig Tatum, Guillermo Quiroz, Keith Osik and a host of others as recent O's backup catchers who couldn't hit their weight. Teagarden, who was a favorite of manager Buck Showalter for reasons that remain unclear, batted to a .167/.180/.300/.480 line in 2013 after similarly woeful numbers in 2012. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette pulled the plug on Teagarden in September. In theory, Teagarden should be replaceable, but the O's have had trouble finding backup catchers who can hit even a little bit.
HENRY URRUTIA: When Urrutia made his major league debut in July, a few fans hoped he could follow in the footsteps of fellow Cuban defectors Yasiel Puig and Yoenis Cespedes and take the league by storm. Of course, that's kind of like saying Teagarden should be able to hit like Mike Trout because they're both from the United States. Urrutia, a 26-year-old outfielder, failed to show power in the bigs, as 15 of his 16 hits were singles. He's currently honing his craft in the Arizona Fall League, which could help him provide more value -- and more pop -- in 2014.
ZACH BRITTON: Time is running out for Britton, a former top pitching prospect who has failed to reach his potential after a 2011 shoulder injury. Britton made eight so-so starts, finishing with a 4.95 ERA, and will be out of options in 2014. Another member of the once-heralded cavalry could be on his way out.
KEVIN GAUSMAN: Gausman, the Orioles' first pick of the 2012 draft, made the majors sooner than expected, coming up May 23. It might have been too soon. Gausman struggled during his five starts, but found new life throwing gas out of the bullpen late during the season. He has future top-of-the-rotation potential, but his 2013 production shouldn't be hard to replace.
STEVE JOHNSON: Johnson was a valuable late-season contributor in 2012, but didn't find much of a role in 2013, thanks largely to an oblique strain, which sidelined him for much of the year. He allowed 13 runs in 15.2 innings for the Birds.
JOSH STINSON: Stinson made an emergency start for the Orioles April 24. When he returned to the majors four months later, he seemed like a different pitcher, becoming a reliable late-inning reliever with nine consecutive scoreless appearances. He's a possible bullpen candidate for 2014.
ALEXI CASILLA: The Orioles acquired Casilla before the 2013 season for his speed and infield defense. And he did indeed provide speed and infield defense -- that is, on the rare occasions when he got into a game. Casilla spent most of the season buried on the bench, starting 31 games despite being on the active roster for all 162. Casilla served a purpose, but could easily be replaced in 2014, perhaps by a bench player who provides a more fearsome pinch-hitting threat.
CHRIS DICKERSON: A veteran outfielder, Dickerson was a fan favorite when he first joined the Orioles, hitting a memorable walkoff home run against the Tigers May 31. But his year went downhill from there, and he finished the season with a .666 OPS. Good bench help is sometimes hard to find, but the O's shouldn't have trouble finding a fourth outfielder who can replace Dickerson.
FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ: Rodriguez, who has notched 304 career saves, was a midseason acquisition the Orioles made to try to bolster the bullpen, but Showalter didn't seem to trust him, mostly shielding Rodriguez from high-pressure situations. Rodriguez struck out 28 batters in 22 innings, but pitched to a mediocre 4.50 ERA. The O's and Rodriguez seem likely to part ways this winter.
THE HIT-PRONE STARTERS
JASON HAMMEL: One of the most disappointing Orioles of 2013, Hammel was expected to be the team's ace, but flatlined from the get-go, finishing the season with an ERA of 4.97. The Orioles don't seem to have much interest in bringing back Hammel, who hits free agency this winter. And to think -- Hammel was one of the five candidates for the Orioles' bobblehead honors at the start of the season. How far he's fallen.
BUD NORRIS: The Orioles acquired Norris from the Astros at the July 31 trade deadline with the hope that he'd stabilize the rotation. Norris didn't end up playing a significant role. He went 4-3 with a 4.80 ERA for the Orioles, but gave up a lot of hits along the way -- Norris' 10.9 hits per nine innings marked the highest rate among O's pitchers with 50 or more innings. He remains under contract for two more years, but might be better suited for the bullpen in the long run.
All told, the 15 players discussed here combined for a -2.6 Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference. Yes, that's negative 2.6. And when you consider the additional 16 players who were covered in the first part of the story, so far we've discussed 31 replaceable players on the 2013 Orioles who didn't make significant contributions.
In the next part of the series, we'll take a look at players who provided some value for the 2013 Orioles.
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed the 2012 games against the Ravens because of injuries, but will start against Baltimore Oct. 20.