The 2019 season may well provide the Orioles with plenty of chances to do different things and make unconventional moves. In a rebuilding season where many losses are expected, why not?
What if the Orioles decide to sometimes use an opener on the mound, but have that player try to pitch three innings rather than one? Bring the starter in to begin the fourth and go from there? See what that looks like. What if the club wants to bring in a defensive replacement for the last four innings and not just the last one? What if they want to use Mychal Givens in the seventh inning to face the middle or the order to protect a one-run lead and have someone else finish the game? What if they decide to use multiple closers? Or do something creative with their rotation, lineup, batting approaches or roster construction?
What if there are some players they want to look at for a period of weeks and others they want to see get an extended look of 400 plate appearances?
I say - and so did the 1989 Orioles - why not?
No one is trying to reinvent anything, but it may be the right time when any outside-the-box ideas are worth putting in place. What about tandem pitchers in the majors where one guy goes the first four innings and another the next five?
Should the Orioles add creativity to the list of things they hope to achieve in 2019? What are some ways they could think outside the box?
Drake on the move again: Does anyone want to hang onto the Drake? One-time Orioles reliever Oliver Drake keeps switching teams. It happened again yesterday. In the 2018 season, Drake pitched for a major league-record five clubs and here is his transaction ledger just since the season ended:
Nov. 1 - Claimed on waivers by Tampa Bay from Minnesota.
Nov. 20 - Designated for assignment by Tampa Bay.
Nov. 26 - Claimed by Toronto on waivers from Tampa Bay.
Dec. 30 - Designated for assignment by Toronto.
Jan. 4 - Acquired by Tampa Bay in a trade with Toronto.
The Rays acquired Drake on Friday for cash considerations. Last season, Drake became the first player in major league history to appear in a game for five different major league teams in one season. He pitched for Milwaukee, Cleveland, the Los Angeles Angels, Toronto and Minnesota. Drake was designated for assignment five times in 2018. Then he was DFAd twice more since the season ended, including once by the team that traded for him yesterday.
For those five clubs, Drake went 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA in 44 games. Teams seem to like his strikeout and groundball rates and he heavily features a solid splitter. Drake ended 2018 pitching well for the Twins. He went 0-0 with a 2.21 ERA. Over 20 1/3 innings, he walked seven, fanned 22 and posted a WHIP of 0.93.
The right-hander was drafted by the Orioles out of the Naval Academy in the 43rd round of the 2008 draft, taken No. 1,286th overall. They don’t even have a 43rd round anymore. Drake pitched for the Orioles for parts of the 2015-2017 seasons. To say the least, he’s been well-traveled since they traded him to Milwaukee on April 13, 2017.