You have to give up something of quality to get something of quality, and the Orioles (pending the review of medical records) have agreed to part with right-handed pitcher Zach Davies, a young man they drafted out of an Arizona high school in the 26th round of the 2011 draft. In the deal, the Orioles are getting 28-year-old outfielder Gerardo Parra from the Milwaukee Brewers.
Davies was drafted by the Orioles before the new rules that cover the draft were put in place and players would fall down in the draft if they had a firm college commitment. Davies had a commitment to Arizona State, and the Orioles paid big to get him. He got a signing bonus of $575,000. Then, he lived up to that.
As the now 22-year-old Davies has moved up every year, his ERA has gone down. It was 3.86 at Single-A Delmarva, 3.69 with Single-A Frederick, 3.35 at Double-A Bowie last year and better yet this season with Norfolk.
In 19 games with the Tides, he is 5-6 with a 2.84 ERA. Davies does not throw hard - his fastball tops out at 91 or 92 mph - but he sure has what they call “pitchability.” He’s smart and has an excellent delivery and strong changeup. He knows how to attack hitters.
After last season, Davies pitched in the Arizona Fall League. Amidst more touted and highly-ranked players, he went 3-0 with a 1.75 ERA in seven starts and fanned 23 in 25 2/3 innings.
While Parra could be just a rental and is a pending free agent, he should provide the top of the Orioles lineup with some life. That should be important to a team that has scored three runs or less in 16 of its last 23 games.
A lefty hitter, Parra is batting .328 with 24 doubles, five triples, nine homers, 31 RBIs, a .369 OBP and an .886 OPS. In 31 games this year batting leadoff, he is batting .384/.432/.632 with an OPS of 1.064.
In Parra, the Orioles are getting a red-hot hitter. He is currently on a career-best 14-game hitting streak. In 24 games in July, he is batting .435 with four homers, 10 RBIs, a .495 OBP and 1.212 OPS. The O’s could bat him first or second, but he should move right in somewhere at or near the top of the order.
What is your take on this deal?
Davies quote: In a brief phone conversation I had with Davies today, he thanked the Orioles and said that he is looking forward to his next opportunity. He is headed to join the Brewers’ Triple-A team in Colorado Springs.
“The Orioles believed in me. They did from the start, and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity they gave me. Today showed two organizations felt good about me,” Davies said.
I plan to talk further with Davies soon after he settles in with his new team. He’s a pretty classy young man who I enjoyed watching develop into a pretty good pitcher in his time in the Orioles organization.