Jim Duquette is a pretty well-respected guy in baseball circles. The former Orioles vice president of baseball operations from late 2005 through 2007 said the Orioles got very good value in return from Texas for Koji Uehara with the acquisitions of Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter.
“I think the value is great,” Duquette said. “I was surprised. I have called a couple of scouts in the industry checking on what they are hearing (about deadline deals) and it was three different scouts I spoke with and they too were amazed at the haul that the Orioles brought back.
“You are talking about an eighth-inning guy in Koji and I think the Rangers are counting on his option vesting for next year. But, to get, potentially two contributers on your 25-man roster for an eighth-inning guy is a pretty good haul.”
Duquette is a baseball host for SiriusXM radio and an analyst for MLB.com, and can also be heard on 105.7 FM The Fan’s “Baltimore Baseball Tonight.”
“Davis has had a lot of strikeouts,” Duquette stated. “But he does have a lot of power and they get a starting pitcher in Tommy Hunter. He’s a back end of rotation starter, but a good one. To get those two pieces for an eighth-inning guy is tremendous.”
I asked Duquette if Davis has regressed since his 2008 rookie year when he hit .285 for Texas with 17 homers and 55 RBIs over 80 games.
“He has for sure, but I think part of that is he has been up and down from the majors and minors and Mitch Moreland has taken over at first base,” said Duquette. “The Rangers have a ton of depth and top prospects and these are not top prospects.
“Davis still has value in a lot of circles and this is a worthwhile gamble, and to me Hunter really makes the trade even better.”
He feels that Davis will now become the Orioles top first base prospect.
“I think the potential is there for him to be better,” Duquette said. “He does have some holes in his swing. He’s a guy that needs to play on a regular basis and get 250 at-bats and work with Jim Presley and work on some of the things that Mark Reynolds has done in keeping the bat path in the strike zone a little longer.
“When you put Reynolds and Davis’ strikeouts in the lineup, you don’t like to see that, but a guy like Davis is young enough where you expect progress there.
“On the (Orioles) depth chart, I see him going ahead of (Brandon) Snyder and any of their other guys right now the Orioles have in their system.”
Duquette said Hunter could be a solid back-end of rotation starter for the Orioles.
“He is not an overpowering guy. He’s a four-pitch pitcher and knows how to pitch. If it wasn’t for Matt Harrison and Derek Holland pitching the way they are, Hunter would be in that rotation and playing a big part for them,” said Duquette.
“You look at a guy that I think can give you 180 innings or so for a back of rotation starter. He’s cheap, he’s controllable for the next four years. There are a lot of things that Hunter brings to the equation.
“He pitched in a hitter’s park and we know Camden isn’t an ideal pitcher’s park either, but it’s a better pitcher’s park than Texas. With all the pitching problems the Orioles have had, this was a nice pickup.”