12:18 pm: The Orioles will receive right-hander Miguel Padilla from the Astros, the Orioles announced. Per their announcement on Twitter: “Padilla, 18, was originally signed by the Astros on November 26, 2018, as an International free agent out of Carora, Venezuela. He appeared in 19 games for the DSL Astros in 2019, pitching to a 4-1 record with a 2.08 ERA (6 ER/26.0 IP) and 26 strikeouts.“ As noted below, the move isn’t likely to affect the Orioles’ 40-man roster.
The funny thing about this trade is that Velázquez never appeared in a game for the Orioles, and he hasn’t appeared in a game for the Astros either. The Orioles claimed Velázquez off waivers from the Red Sox in March. He was part of the O’s original 60-man player pool, though he had been outrighted off their 40-man roster just before Opening Day.
The trade was a depth move for the Astros, but Velázquez never got the call. Still, they’ll be sending something back to Baltimore in the near future. The deal still makes some sense for Houston, as with just 2.017 days of service time, the Astros now control the right-hander’s rights for another four seasons.
In parts of three seasons with the Red Sox, Velazquez showed flashes of promise, including a 3.18 ERA over 85 innings during the Red Sox’ 2018 championship season. The swingman has never produced thick-enough strikeout rates, however, and when his walk rate rose from 2.8 BB/9 in 2018 to 4.5 BB/9 in 2019, his ERA rose with it to a 5.43 ERA. By Fielding Independent Pitching, however, his 2018 season (4.15 FIP) was neither as good as it seemed, nor was his 2019 season (4.74 FIP) quite as bad as it seemed. He’ll be an option for Houston’s bullpen in 2021.
Both teams are trying to finalize their 40-man roster additions before Friday, at which point any players eligible for December’s Rule 5 draft will be left unprotected. It’s likely that Baltimore’ return won’t feature a player in that field, but it’s certainly possible, in which case Baltimore would surely prefer a resolution in the coming days.