In compiling the list of Orioles trades in July, I ignored the acquisition of minor league infielder Alex Liddi from the Mariners. He never made it to Baltimore and was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk after being designated for assignment and clearing waivers.
I’m focused on the major league deals, which included the July 23 acquisition of veteran reliever Francisco Rodriguez from the Brewers for Single-A Frederick infielder Nicky Delmonico.
Rodriguez didn’t sign with the Brewers until April 17, and he settled for a minor league deal. In a four-year span with the Angels, he saved 45, 47, 40 and 62 games, but he tailed off considerably after 2008.
Though he posted a 1.09 ERA and notched 10 saves in 25 games with the Brewers this season, manager Buck Showalter never let him sniff the closer’s role. He appeared in the seventh inning in 13 of his 23 games with the Orioles, and in the sixth inning in four games.
Rodriguez was 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA following the trade, with 25 hits, five walks and 28 strikeouts in 22 innings. He allowed five home runs, including four in his first four outings.
Strangely, right-handers hit .342 against Rodriguez this season. He’s held them to a .197 average in his career. Go figure.
Delmonico was rated among the Orioles’ top prospects - MLB.com had him fifth prior to the 2013 season - but they couldn’t determine a position for him and believed he held more value as a trade chip. There also were some concerns within the organization about his durability.
Delmonico batted .194/.333/.278 with four doubles, a triple and nine RBIs in 21 games with Single-A Brevard County. In 82 total games, he batted .232/.346/.423 with 16 doubles, a triple, 13 homers and 39 RBIs.
Until we know how Delmonico progresses, it’s difficult to form a concrete opinion on this trade other than to question whether the Orioles could have gotten more in return for him. And I’ve talked to a few folks who believe the Orioles should have held onto him and checked the market over the winter.
It appears that Delmonico was headed out the door. It was just a matter of when and where.
The assumption is that Rodriguez will leave as a free agent. Perhaps he can find a major league deal, though a big payday is in the past.
Rodriguez had his moments with the Orioles, who were scrambling to find a suitable replacement for injured Darren O’Day, but he didn’t make a real impact. Whether the Orioles gave up too much for him will be determined at a later date.
Either way, you could argue that it was worth the gamble. Dan Duquette was trying to add pieces that would get the Orioles into the playoffs. That’s what contenders do. They just came up short.