4:30pm: The Orioles have announced the claim and that Head has been optioned to Triple-A. To make room on the 40-man roster, they have designated lefty Kirk McCarty for assignment. McCarty had just been claimed off waivers from the Guardians last week and thrown four innings for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides before heading back into DFA limbo. The O’s will have one week to trade him, pass him through waivers or release him.
Head, 32, made his major league debut with the Rays last year, throwing 35 innings with a 2.31 ERA, 23.9% strikeout rate, 6.7% walk rate and 31.1% ground ball rate. There was likely some good fortune keeping that ERA down, as Head allowed a .216 batting average on balls in play, well below last year’s .290 league average.
In the offseason, the Rays flipped him to the Marlins for a player to be named later, which was eventually revealed to be Josh Roberson. Here in 2022, the Marlins surely didn’t get what they were hoping for out of Head. Through 23 2/3 innings, he has an unfortunate 7.23 ERA, with a 20.7% strikeout rate, 9.9% walk rate and 26.4% ground ball rate, all of those numbers being worse than league average. He was placed on the IL on June 23 with an impingement in his non-throwing shoulder. He began a rehab assignment three days ago but won’t return to the Marlins, heading to the Baltimore organization instead.
The move is a little curious, as Head still has options. When he finished his rehab assignment, he could have simply been sent to Triple-A as depth, but the Marlins evidently wanted to move on instead. Injured players can’t be placed on outright waivers, only release waivers. Although there had not been any public indication he’d been designated for assignment, it appears the Marlins put him on release waivers recently, with the Orioles putting in a claim.
Baltimore has a full 40-man roster at the moment, meaning a corresponding move of some kind will be required to accommodate Head’s addition.