The Rays have been dealing with various injuries to their rotation this season, forcing them to do a bit of improvising. Tyler Glasnow has been dealing with an oblique strain and has yet to make his season debut. Zach Eflin was placed on the injured list last week due to back tightness and it was reported this week that Jeffrey Springs is expected to require Tommy John surgery. Those injuries have led to prospect Taj Bradley coming up to join the rotation and now right-hander Calvin Faucher will move in from the bullpen. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that Faucher will start tomorrow’s game, with the plan being to stretch him out to four innings.
Faucher, 27, was a Twins draftee who came over to the Rays alongside Nelson Cruz in the deal that sent Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman to Minnesota. Faucher didn’t make any starts while a Twins’ prospect but has made a few since switching teams, though they’ve all been of the “opener” variety, none of them longer than three innings. He has 30 major league innings under his belt at this point between last year and this one, registering a 5.10 ERA with a 19.6% strikeout rate, 8.7% walk rate and 41.2% ground ball rate.
It’s not an especially impressive line, but the Rays have had success turning overlooked relievers into useful starters in recent years. Drew Rasmussen was once a first round draft talent but his stock faded due to injuries and he wound up in Milwaukee’s bullpen before the Rays acquired him and gave him a starting opportunity that he ran with. Springs was a 30th round pick with a middling résumé but broke out with the Rays. He parlayed his breakout last year into a four-year extension, though the aforementioned Tommy John has put a sour note on that story for now. Faucher has fared better in the minors, with a 2.98 ERA in 63 1/3 Triple-A innings.
Rasmussen, Bradley and Shane McClanahan have three rotation spots taken now, with Eflin likely to return this weekend to give them a fourth starter. The club is off today but won’t have another off-day until May 15th. They could continue using Faucher as a fifth starter if he fares well but could also use bullpen days with bulk guys like Josh Fleming and Yonny Chirinos to keep them going until Glasnow’s ready to return. He hasn’t started a rehab assignment yet but also hasn’t been placed on the 60-day IL, suggesting a return before the end of May is still on the table. If Faucher can turn into a useful piece for them in any capacity, it would help to somewhat salvage a rare trade dud from Tampa. Cruz struggled badly after the deal while Ryan has thrived since joining the Twins.
Some other notes from around the AL East…
- Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone tells reporters, including Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, that center fielder Harrison Bader should begin a rehab assignment tomorrow with the Double-A Somerset Patriots. Bader has been a Yankee since being acquired from the Cardinals last year but has been limited to just 14 regular season games and nine postseason games so far. He had plantar fasciitis at the time of the deal last year and then suffered an oblique strain in spring this year. An elite defensive outfielder, Bader should take over as the primary center fielder once healthy, though he’ll need some time to get his swing back after missing most of Spring Training. Most of the starts in center have gone to Aaron Judge so far, with Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Aaron Hicks also getting some. Bader’s return should allow Judge to return to a less-demanding corner spot. With Giancarlo Stanton likely out for the next six weeks, the third outfield job could be juggled between Hicks, Franchy Cordero, Willie Calhoun and Oswaldo Cabrera, though one of them may need to be cut from the roster somehow to make way for Bader.
- Orioles’ manager Brandon Hyde told reporters, including Jake Rill of MLB.com, that righties Mychal Givens and Dillon Tate could begin minor league rehab assignments next week. Neither pitcher has made their season debut yet, as Tate has been dealing with a flexor strain and Givens a knee injury. Tate has a 3.97 ERA over 179 career innings with the O’s, striking out just 19.4% of batters faced but getting grounders at a 58.1% clip. Givens, meanwhile, has a 3.40 ERA in his career, getting grounders on just 37.9% of balls in play but striking out 28.4% of batters faced. Once healthy, they should give a boost to the Baltimore relief corps. Tate is making $1.5MM this year in his first arbitration season, with the club able to retain him via arb twice more. Givens signed with the club on a one-year deal, though there’s a $6MM mutual option for 2024. If he declines his end, there’s a $1MM buyout, whereas the buyout will be $2MM if he triggers it but the O’s decline.
Good news for the O’s pen.
Build Bader Better.
“The Rays have been dealing with various injuries to their rotation this season….”.
Now there’s something that never happened before.
With the way Mike Baumann and Yennier Cano have been pitching out of the bullpen along with pitchers from last year, the hysterical ramblings on here about the need for the O’s to ignore their starters and bring in high-priced guys with spotty track records that had a good season in 2022 (and their team let them leave in free agency) looks dumber by the day.
Give Givens and Tate little time to adjust, and the O’s starters will only need to go 4-5 innings.
Teams have to make the players under contract on their roster better as the season goes along. The O’s have been excellent at this with their pitchers. Some of the boo birds here need to be made to sit and watch some O’s games.
Agree, the O’s look good. I’m glad their rebuild is showing some success. I just think they could have sent a message to their young core by bringing in a couple of mid-tier free agents. You know how psychological this game is!
Exactly what message would they be sending?
That guys worse then them just got multi-year contracts for more money and will take their playing time?
It does appear that the O’s players are happy with Adam Frazier…..he took Rougned Odor’s place, and is a much better all-around player. They also signed Kyle Gibson. With the way the O’s youngsters are pitching with more coming back from injuries, Gibson looks like he’ll be moved at the deadline unless they have numerous injuries to their starting pitchers.
The message being hey guys, we believe in you. We’re going to do what we promised and spend when our window opens. Bring in a couple of Taillon/Walker type pitchers, and a Turner/Benintedi type veteran bats to help out.
Completely disagree with your logic and I would love to see the first team that has sustained success with starters averaging less than 5 innings a start.
The Orioles in their 2012-16 competency were carried by their bullpen which is hoping that the stars aligned the right way. That is why when the team had some success it couldn’t sustain it.
Orioles starters for years, this goes all the way back to Post Purge of 2000, have been at or near the bottom of the league in IP per start. In a large majority of seasons the Orioles have faded down the stretch (2004 and 2011 being notable exceptions, the latter being due to getting a manager in who had more than 2 brain cells to rub together) nearly in all cases because the bullpen was fried (I’ll chalk 2014 to Davis PED and Wieters and Machado IL).
You may remember the #1 foundation aspect of the consistently competitive Orioles teams of the late 60s-early 80s was starting pitching. More recently, Atlanta in the 90s and the Yankees in the 00s. The only year recently where you could say that the Orioles had an OK rotation was 2014, their IP/start was still low, but that was their best year since 1997 when they had a top rotation.
And, yes, to obtain starting pitching because the Orioles have proven they can’t develop it…you have to spend a little bit of $. You can’t take the Orioles seriously as an annual contender until they do.
1. What percentage of starting pitchers average more than 5 innings a start in today’s MLB?
2. I’m not interested in anything that happened with the Orioles previous to Mike Elias. Sig Mejdal, and Eve Rosenbaum coming in to run Baseball Ops. It’s as irrelevant as discussing how baseball was played in 2016 as it relates .to this Orioles administration. Nevertheless….
3. I’m aware of the Orioles baseball that Paul Richards started and others picked up. They had Aparicio and Belanger at SS, Brooks at 3B, along with Paul Blair playing a shallow CF. So they had very good LH starters and some RH guys with great breaking pitches…..all of whom got hitters to try to get balls by the left side of the infield or tried to pull and hit it to shallow CF. The Orioles played Branch Rickey-style baseball which they had brought over from St. Louis – defense, particularly up the middle – strong fundamentals including smart baserunning. Earl eschewed the small ball and played for 3-run homers. Much of what I wrote above is now coming back by the analytic guys that went full cycle and learned what baseball people knew from the early 50’s till Moneyball came into vogue….that has long since left. We see this in the way organizations such as the Orioles, Guardians, Astros, Brewers, Cubs, Braves, and even the Yankees (!) are now training players and constructing their teams.
4. There is nothing at all wrong with the Orioles starting 5 – and a few will wash out some, but they have 3 coming later this season. Fact is this…..
5. A starting pitcher in today’s MLB throws around 175-`180 innings – if healthy – most years. Teams throw around 1,400 innings a year. That means an “Ace” throws around 12.6% of innings. Since a team has to pay position players as well each year, it’s a reach to pay a TOR pitcher even 10% of their payroll as injuries happen. The smart thing to do is spread the risk by getting a group of quality starters, backing them up with both a strong defense and deep bullpen…..
6. And as I keep writing – organizations have to develop the players they have under contact to produce more. If you want the O’s to sign a Carlos Rodon (already on the IL) and pay him 29% of your payroll in 2023 (and he’s due 5 additional years) than apparently you didn’t learn anything from Ubaldo Jimenez, Alex Cobb, Scott Erickson, Danys Baez, and even Chris Davis.
7. Please don’t bug me every time the O’s have a bad series. They’re coming out of a fantastic rebuild. They’re not the White Sox or the Andrew MacPhail / Matthew Klentak Phillies.
1. The average or better rotations in MLB last year had most guys average 5 or 6 innings per start. Over 30 guys pitched over 180 innings last year.
2. Why not? Ownership remains within the same family even with the new GM. But commenters like you were also all in on Duquette and McPhail, etc. MLBTR wasn’t a thing back then but you were probably also sure that in Year 3 Syd Thrift was going to prove himself. Until the pattern is broken for good then don’t protest.
3. Baseball as a whole didn’t fully accept analytics until this century. It was done kind of unintentionally, looking back. There was “strategy” and then there was Earl Weaver who was in a league of his own and the closest to a modern day analytically-driven manager. Sparky Anderson knew what he was doing and how to deploy his team as well. You also had Billy Ball (find 4 good pitchers and have them throw their arms out, and enjoy Reggie Jackson’s productivity), you had Steinbrenner (buy all the free agents). Before that, teams pretty much had what their systems produced. Stats were out there (I read Bill James’ book in the mid 80s as a kid) It wasn’t until the 2000s when teams started to tie performance to dollars, analytics became in vogue across the league and the Orioles didn’t pick up on it for a long, long time.
4. There is nothing GOOD about the Orioles starting five. Of course, putting up 0’s against the A’s and Detroit looks pretty good right now. But no one in there is even an average pitcher at the moment over a season (and giving Rodriguez 2 years to really show what he can do).. Technically today you need at least 4 decent pitchers and 6 or 7 starters who will keep you in games overall.
5. Quality starters, not bodies that you hope slog you through 5 until the (cheaper guys) bullpen can pick you up time after time.
6. There is no team, not even Tampa Bay, who goes with a fully home grown team. There are at least a couple significant guys obtained from outside the organization on every competitive team because serious competitors will go out and get guys to fill those holes. I’m not talking about acquisitions like Gibson or Irvin or Frazier. More recently, the Orioles’ recent run of success was a group of home grown or nearly home grown guys (Markakis, Jones, Tillman, Wieters, Machado) supplemented by trades (Davis when he was good, Cruz, Trumbo’s 1 good year, JJ Hardy, etc.) They made the mistake of not committing to Cruz and then overcompensated by committing to Davis when even ESPN knew that no one else was bidding against the Orioles for him.
7. Please don’t act like you are right all the time, because if you were the Orioles would be defending WS champs and ahead of the Rays right now. I call ’em as I see ’em. We’ve all heard the song and dance about prospects before and “grow the arms” has been around for over 15 years., the difference is I stopped falling for it over a decade ago. I’m not always right either….my prediction for last year was 61-101, but I don’t have a hissy fit about being wrong. I’d LOVE for the team to prove me wrong but have been waiting pretty much since they let Davey Johnson walk in 1997..
You are obviously quite knowledgeable but have to take the blinders off. Other teams do what the Orioles do but develop their players better (they actually have starters come up and stay starters not become relievers), other teams will go out and get players to fill holes, other teams have been competitive in over 3 out of every 4 years for the past 15-20 years.
It’s not that I’m “right all the time”……
It’s that I understand the multi-year process the Orioles are in the middle of…..and you don’t.
And please don’t tell me what I thought Syd Thrift or Duquette and McPhail. In fact, stick it!
This O’s rebuild is the best I’ve seen in years. Last year reminded me if the Royals in 2013. I knew the Phillies and White Sox were not going to work. I knew that Cubs rebuild under Epstein would be short-lived (and wrote all that here numerous times). And I know the O’s rebuild is not just to have a 2-3 year window of contention. Obviously you don’t remotely comprehend what they’re doing – and how it fits with their current and projected finances.
You’re the guy that shows up when one thing goes wrong and says “I told you so!”. You don’t look at what’s going right and don’t have the acumen to understand that all decisions don’t have to work out correctly to succeed….and in the real world they don’t.
Good to see Faucher getting a big league starting opportunity. I went to school with the guy in Chula Vista, CA. He’s always been a good dude and a talented ballplayer.
Article is not correct. The Rays also have a day off May 1st.