Give Dan Duquette credit for this at least - he never stops trying to make this team better and he acts quickly when needed.
In acquiring Scott Feldman, the timing was important to me. He got him early in the process, early this month, making him available for more starts to help the team.
With several top teams reportedly bearing down on Francisco Rodriguez in trade talks, including Boston, Duquette got the reliever and other contending teams did not. To get him, the Orioles had to give up one of their top hitting prospects in Nicky Delmonico, who was with Single-A Frederick.
There was some positive reaction via Twitter last night to this deal.
Peter Gammons said:
* KRod will not be intimidated by a pennant race. Huge Oriole pickup, keeping him from Red Sox.
Buster Olney said:
* K-Rod was the best available late-inning option on the market, and the Orioles get him. Depth is really scarce right now.
Here is what Brewers GM Doug Melvin said of Delmonico as reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
* “He’s a young, left-hand-hitting prospect that we really liked in the 2011 draft. Our scouts liked him then and we followed him as a professional. This was an opportunity we couldn’t turn down to add young players to our system. He’s a player with good baseball instincts. He’s known for being a very good hitter. He comes from a baseball background - his father, Rod, was head baseball coach at the University of Tennessee for a number of years. I know Garth Iorg, our first base coach, is very familiar with him. He knows him and his father real well. He’s a young player we didn’t think we’d get a chance to get.”
Several O’s minor leaguers took to Twitter to wish Delmonico well, like Frederick’s Michael Ohlman, who wrote:
* Gotta say goodbye to my brother @LittleD808, gonna miss him. Tear it up kid.
If Rodriguez turns out to be just a rental and is not re-signed for 2014, the Orioles really rolled the dice here giving up one of their best hitting prospects and a player in Delmonico to whom they paid a $1.525 million signing bonus in 2011. Of course, that was not on Duquette’s watch.
I am generally very leery of getting a rental player for a prospect. But if Rodriguez helps this team get to the postseason and play well when they get there, it will be a good move.
I’ll bet no one with the club will say this publicly or even hint at it, but one reason for this move had to be insurance at the closer spot. The O’s can see that Jim Johnson is not recording clean saves and still is not pitching at the level he did last season, at least not consistently. This gives them late-inning depth and another closer option if they need one later.
Also, K-Rod is 5-4 with a 2.95 ERA in 26 postseason games over six different seasons. He has fanned 49 in 36 2/3 postseason innings. That is some nice playoff experience to have if and when they get there.
I wish Delmonico well. I really appreciated him returning my call last night and doing an interview before he even left the clubhouse in Winston-Salem. He gave O’s fans a chance to hear from him on his way out of the organization.
As for Duquette, he made a bold move. He made a move to try to get the 2013 Orioles over the top.