The Orioles kicked off the final day of baseball’s trade deadline by moving one of the organization’s relievers.
Not one who’s on the active roster or has been riding the waves of rumors and speculation.
The Rays have acquired right-hander Shawn Armstrong from the Orioles for cash considerations. A source confirmed that a deal was close and the Orioles just announced it.
Armstrong was designated for assignment on June 4 after posting an 8.55 ERA and 1.900 WHIP in 20 games. He accepted his outright to Triple-A Norfolk, where he appeared in 15 games and had a 3.18 ERA and 1.471 WHIP with 21 strikeouts in 17 innings.
Durham is in Norfolk this week, which is a convenient move for Armstrong.
The Orioles selected Armstrong off waivers from the Mariners on April 28, 2019. He was 3-0 with a 5.34 ERA and 1.500 WHIP in 85 games.
The truncated 2020 season was Armstrong’s best, with three earned runs allowed in 15 innings. He stranded 11 of 13 inherited runners. But 2021 has been a struggle from the beginning, including nine of 11 inherited runners scoring against him.
Armstrong didn’t break camp with the Orioles, who placed him on the paternity list.
“It’s been a lot of variables that happened and I’d be lying to you if I said that adjusting with a baby was easy for me. It wasn’t,” Armstrong said after accepting his outright assignment. “That’s not an excuse as far as my performance and the way I pitched this year. I didn’t contribute to the team to where we want to be day in and day out. But I’d also be lying if going home for the last five days, six days, and being able to go train from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and then be able to spend the day with little man and actually see him all day and understand what he’s doing and see him grow ... it was a big refresher.
“Mentally, I wasn’t in a good spot before I left just because I wasn’t pitching well. It’s baseball. That’s my life, it’s what I do, and I never really felt like that before in the game. So it’s a humbling experience and you can either dwell on it and be upset, look at all the negatives, or you can take the negatives, turn them into positives and just look at yourself as a person.
“It’s time to grind. That’s what this game is. It’s a humbling experience and there are life lessons on and off the field. I’m thrilled that I still have a job. There are a lot of guys who don’t have a job right now. I’m happy to come here and get to work and help the Norfolk Tides in any way I can to win ballgames and help myself get back into the big leagues and help the Orioles win ballgames.”
Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias continues to field calls on left-handers Paul Fry and Tanner Scott as the 4 p.m. deadline approaches. Cole Sulser and Dillon Tate are other trade candidates in the bullpen.
Elias also is checking on a potential market for injured shortstop Freddy Galvis, who’s working out in Sarasota, Fla. while recovering from a strained quadriceps muscle.
Update: In non-trade news, the Orioles claimed left-hander Ryan Hartman, 27, off waivers from the Astros to fill their 40-man roster.
Hartman has made one major league appearance and it came June 30 against the Orioles. He allowed one run on Austin Hays’ homer.
The Astros designated Hartman for assignment earlier this week. He has a 4.01 ERA and 1.260 WHIP in 102 minor league games, including 71 starts. He’s averaged 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
There’s an Orioles connection beyond his debut. Elias drafted Hartman in the ninth round in 2016 from Tennessee Wesleyan University.
Perhaps the Orioles are trying to increase their left-handed pitching depth with Fry and Scott available in trades.