Clay Rapada wasn’t available to reporters once the clubhouse opened for us at 3:35 p.m. He might have already packed up and left the ballpark.
Rapada posted a 7.30 ERA in 22 appearances. Left-handers were 4-for-35 with three walks and 13 strikeouts against him, but right-handers were 9-for-13 with two doubles, a triple, two homers, three walks and no strikeouts.
In 12 1/3 innings this season, Rapada allowed 10 runs and 13 hits, walked six and struck out 13.
Yes, he was good against left-handers. That’s the norm. Last season, they were 1-for-19 against him during his tenure with the Rangers. But Orioles manager Buck Showalter can’t carry a lefty specialist on a club that needs more versatility from its relievers while the starters keep leaving games in the early and middle innings.
The Orioles can try to trade Rapada, pass him through waivers and attempt to assign him to Triple-A Norfolk, or grant him his outright release. Rapada already has been outrighted, so he can refuse the assignment.
The club will know by 2 p.m. Friday whether Rapada cleared waivers.
“I think a lot of the move was dictated by, we need some length in the bullpen,” Showalter said. “Clay did was he was designed to do statistically with left-handers, but we weren’t in a position to carry that with our starters not going as deep as we hoped. It really wasn’t a fit for Clay. He’s a piece. It’s just that we weren’t in a position right now... We made a lot of moves over the course of the season that probably we wouldn’t have had to do if we hadn’t had that one-hitter guy. The problem is, he’s facing the guy they don’t pinch-hit for late in the game, and J.J. (Jim Johnson) and Koji (Uehara) have done a good job with those people, too.
“You look at his background and who he pitched for and how he pitched last year, you know if you’re in the right situation and your starters are going deep enough, you’re able to carry someone like him, but we’re just not in that position right now. It was a tough conversation because, you look at the ERA overall, but you look at the numbers in the situation he’s designed to do, you can see why he’s been a chip for people who are playing late into October.”
Rapada was designated to make room for Alfredo Simon, who came off the disabled list today. Simon gives the Orioles another long reliever besides Brad Bergesen and Jason Berken, but he also could be used in other parts of the game.
“We’re hoping that he can help us, too, because he’s had some experience pitching later in the game, that he can keep us from having to bring J.J. and Koji in too early, but a lot depends, like all of this, on how deep we can go with the starting pitcher,” Showalter said.