OK, first question. Did the Orioles give up too much for Jim Thome in trading prospects Kyle Simon and Gabriel Lino?
Simon, their fourth-round pick out of Arizona last year, is a 21-year-old righty that was with Single-A Frederick. He is 2-8 with a 3.96 ERA over 14 starts. In 72 2/3 innings, he has walked 21 and fanned 49.
Simon was supposed to start for Frederick tonight at Winston-Salem, but I heard that he was told a few hours before the game he was not pitching. After going 0-4 with an ERA of 5.61 in five April starts, Simon had pitched better recently to lower that ERA to 3.96. He had given up one earned run or less in five of his past seven starts.
Lino was the best young catcher in the O’s farm system. O’s officials were very impressed with his defense and future as a 19-year-old catcher out of Venezuela. He was signed by former O’s pitcher Calvin Maduro.
Lino was batting just .218 with four homers and 18 RBIs and an OPS of .622. He got off to a very hot start with the bat and was hitting .313 in April.
The staff at Single-A Delmarva liked how he was really learning to take charge as a catcher and how he was learning to handle the Shorebirds’ pitching staff. The fact that the O’s started such a young catcher there with some of their top young arms tells you that they liked Lino, who caught Dylan Bundy and several other top O’s prospects with the Shorebirds.
“We thought that Thome’s presence and our need for the major league team were worth the value that we have to give up,” Dan Duquette just said about the deal. “We like both young players. They are both in A-ball and we need some help to bolster our lineup.”