Can Simon eventually be a nugget?

I am trying to figure out if Alfredo Simon is one of Buck's nuggets for the future or not.

Maybe if I'm not sure, that means he isn't. But he sure has games where he looks very nugget-like.

Last year, Simon was, at times, a dependable late-inning reliever. This year, at times, he's been a solid-looking starter.

What he can't seem to do is pitch well consistently or for long stretches. It makes you wonder if Simon will always be that way or if something will click at some point and he will become more reliable.

He certainly can throw quality pitches at times. He has a mid 90s fastball and a splitter that can look devestating at times.

Yesterday, he had a sinker that catcher Craig Tatum said some of the Angels hitters were calling "dirty," yet he gave up three homers and six runs.

This year, Simon is 4-9 with an ERA of 4.96 in 21 games, 14 starts. In six of those outings he recorded a quality start. In six others, he gave up four runs or more.

I can't seem to even decide which role suits Simon best: starter or reliever? In which role would he have the most chance for consistency and success?

I don't want to see the Orioles give up on Simon. He seems just like the kind of pitcher that would go somewhere else and find himself.

On another front, I respect Simon for hitting Mark Trumbo in the first inning Sunday. It was a clear retaliation pitch for the two batters hit by Ervin Santana on Saturday.

I even applaud Simon for his honesty in saying he was taking up for his hitters. If Simon gets a fine for admitting he plunked Trumbo, maybe the hitters he defended should pick up the tab.

What is your take?: Can Simon turn into a quality pitcher? What role is he best suited for? What is your take on his admission that he threw at Trumbo to defend his hitters?

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