The Orioles need rotation help at the Triple-A level. Their options have been limited due to the ineffectiveness of starters who otherwise would have been under consideration for promotions.
A move was made this morning to address the issue.
The club announced that it’s acquired right-hander Tom Eshelman from the Phillies in exchange for international signing bonus slots. He’s been assigned to the Norfolk Tides.
Eshelman, 24, has ties to executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias. The Astros drafted him in the second round in 2015 out of Cal State-Fullerton.
Elias liked him four years ago and has brought him to the Orioles organization.
Eshelman began the season at Double-A Reading and posted a 6.28 ERA and 1.709 WHIP in six starts over 28 2/3 innings, but he was much more effective at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, with a 2.77 ERA and 1.077 WHIP in four starts over 26 innings. He’s also posted an impressive groundball rate of 48.6.
Over five minor league seasons, Eshelman has gone 25-28 with a 4.18 ERA and 1.342 WHIP in 88 games. He’s started 87 of them and will slot into the Tides’ rotation upon reporting.
The Orioles faced Eshelman in a 2018 spring training game in Clearwater.
The Phillies acquired Eshelman from the Astros in a December 2015 trade that involved reliever Ken Giles and former first-overall draft pick Mark Appel.
Keegan Akin has been the most effective starter at Norfolk with a 4.02 ERA, 1.38 WHIP and 65 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings in 11 outings, but the Orioles want to keep him in the minors and further his development.
The reset for international signing bonus slots is July 2 and they don’t carry over, which leads Elias to continue using them until the Orioles attempt to make a deep dive in the market later in the summer.