April 14: The Orioles have now officially announced these moves, optioning Irvin and placing Akin on the paternity list while recalling Watkins and Canó.
April 13: In a surprising move, the Orioles are optioning starter Cole Irvin to Triple-A Norfolk, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (Twitter link). According to Kubatko, the club is also placing reliever Keegan Akin on the paternity list and recalling Spenser Watkins and Yennier Canó from Norfolk.
The most notable of the transactions by far is Irvin’s demotion. The southpaw was one of the Orioles’ biggest acquisitions of the offseason. Baltimore traded well-regarded infield prospect Darell Hernaiz to the A’s in a deal to plug Irvin into the rotation, with pitching prospect Kyle Virbitsky also going to the O’s. The Oregon product had been a productive mid-rotation arm for Oakland over the past two seasons. He reached 30-plus starts and surpassed 175 innings in both seasons, combining for a decent 4.11 ERA.
Those results in Oakland weren’t without caveats. He never missed many bats, instead relying on excellent control and a low batting average on balls in play. Oakland’s spacious home ballpark certainly seemed to aid him in that regard, as he kept hitters to a .243/.288/.355 line at home while surrendering a .285/.330/.491 mark in road contests.
Baltimore looked past those splits, counting on Irvin’s control to carry over in a more hitter-friendly environment. While it’s far too early to make definitive judgments about that trade, it’s hard to envision a much worse beginning to Irvin’s tenure as an Oriole. He’s been tattooed for 15 runs in his first 12 2/3 innings. Irvin has surrendered a pair of homers and uncharacteristically walked eight batters. The final straw came this afternoon, when his old club teed off for six runs in four innings during an eventual 8-7 Baltimore win.
The O’s were going to be faced with a decision on the starting staff in the coming days. Righty Kyle Bradish is likely to return from the injured list next week. Manager Brandon Hyde suggested a few days ago the club wasn’t interested in going to a six-man rotation. Once Bradish is reinstated, he’ll presumably slot in alongside Kyle Gibson, Tyler Wells, Dean Kremer and top prospect Grayson Rodriguez in the rotation.
It’s likely Irvin will find himself back in the mix before long. In the absence of any injuries, pitchers can return to the big leagues after 15 days on optional assignment. If another player lands on the IL, the O’s could recall him within that 15-day window. Even without injuries, Irvin could be back in the big leagues by the end of the month. Regardless, it’s a frustrating development for an O’s front office that surely envisioned their trade pickup as a stabilizing presence in an uncertain rotation.
The demotion doesn’t seem likely to meaningfully affect Irvin from a service time perspective. He entered the season with two years and 120 days of MLB service. Players eclipse a full service year at the 172-day mark, so the southpaw only needs 52 days on the MLB roster this year to surpass the three-year threshold. The optional assignment would have to last for multiple months for him to fall short of that, in which case he’d be a non-tender candidate anyhow. As things stand, Irvin is set to reach arbitration for the first time next winter and won’t hit free agency until after the 2026 campaign.
Hired Gun 23
Solid arm, I hope Cole can get back on track in Norfolk…
O’s really should’ve invested in some pitching.
Yup. No disrespect to Irvin and Kyle Gibson, but it’s hard to look like you’re serious about contending when that’s how you upgrade your pitching staff. I’m not an Orioles fan so maybe the plan all along was just for this to be another development year, but their core is about ready to win now so it’s easy to think they should have done more.
At least Gibson’s been decent so far, but for the most part his track record would suggest otherwise.
I actually think it’s encouraging to O’s fans that they made a decision to demote him. In past years, they’ll leave a guy like Irvin to take his lumps at the big league level. It is a dev year as you’ve noted but it’s difficult to find the small window to go all-in when you’re up against the usual AL East big spenders and the typical Rays doing their thing.
Usually, I would agree with you. Not this time though. Unfortunately, we don’t have any arms in the minors ready to slot into a major league staff, and that includes Rodriguez. I was hoping that they would send Rodriguez down and let the veterans take their lumps.
C Yards Jeff
I think the Os are still in transition. Irvin brought here to eat innings. The left handed version of Gibson. And I do not think the Os missed the performance splitt between home and away games. They gambled a bit believing the new deep left field at OPACY would work to his benefit. IMO, 25 maybe 24 is when the Os get relevant year in, year out.
GrOD slots into MLB rotations very well.
One game does not make a slot.
He slots into 2/3 of MLB rotations. It’s not just about his last TWO starts allowing zero earned runs or what he did three starts ago when he dominated for four scoreless innings after a shaky first. Guess you didn’t bother watching those games.
He is ultra-talented, even if you can’t recognize that.
Really high pitch counts. Not quite ready, but last I looked Irvin isn’t tearing it up in Norfolk. We don’t have a lot of options. Pitched well in his last game though. Irvin did.
GrOD is learning on the job.
I think Irvin will normalize. He just won’t be great.
Irvin was a very bizarre pickup for them from the start. A tightrope-walking lefty who doesn’t miss bats, doesn’t get grounders, and doesn’t have elite command can work in an extremely pitcher-friendly environment like the Coliseum, but is a terrible fit for the AL East with all the small parks and elite right-handed hitters. The O’s really sold themselves short this year by not seriously investing in their pitching
The LF wall at OPACY is fly ball friendly now. Irvin has just been terrible. the pen’s been battered— definitely needed the 2 fresh arms.
It’s still plenty close for Vlad, Judge, Randy, Stanton, and company. And he’s still playing lots of games in Fenway, Yankee Stadium, and the Rogers Center. He’s been terrible because he was a terrible fit
We have a further out wall and limited defensive shift. The premise of a fly ball pitcher in OPACY isn’t crazy like it once was.
Wells & Kremer are flyball guys who had success last year. Irvin simply sucked.
No walls are too far for the players you listed ha ha.
It did seem an odd fit to me as well for a similar reason. That’s a tough division to pitch in.
One thing that really helps in Oakland is foul ball outs. Guys who don’t miss bats often get a couple a game. Weaver seemed to get a ton.
You don’t get those in the East.
C Yards Jeff
@BStrow, does he suck? Maybe it’s taking him longer than others to adjust to the clock? He’s sent down to AAA to work on developing a routine that gets him comfortable with this rule change?
I disagree, investing in pitching would have just been a waste and this is still another developing year.
John Angelos needed money more than the Orioles needed pitching.
Very old Cardinals owner Bill DeWitte Jr. needs the cash flow for real estate and secondary fan experience ventures more than the Cardinals need pitching to get over the hump.
9.35 ERA earns you demotion
Wow, just wow
In all seriousness, what are the Orioles going to do
Get Trevor Bauer from Japan?
Means, GrayRod, DL, Bradish, Gibson, and Wells are enough. Watkins can stem the bleeding, Kremer can adapt, Zimmermann is ok in a pinch.
I am never going to get my wish for Bauer
I tried, lol, i truly did
Trolls get what they deserve
Wow, just wow
This is what cheaping out when your roster is finally ready to start truly contending again gets you. This past winter was the one for the O’s to start making some big splashes, and set the tone for their return to relevance. They didn’t even have to shell out any mega deals (Rodon, Correa, etc) for their off-season to be considered a success. But doing nothing for their rotation besides adding Gibson and Irvin is just embarrassing and not the way to seriously return to contention. There were plenty of good arms available at somewhat reasonable prices, but the O’s just didn’t want to pay up this past off-season.
Please share with us who wanted to come there and pitch at the salary they could afford to pay.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
Bartolo Colon showed intense interest, also volunteered for DH duties. Wants to donate his social security to the Orioles pitching fund.
What is a “salary they could afford to pay’? Bassitt, Taillon, Quintana, and Walker all signed reasonable deals by today’s standards. The O’s don’t want more than a 1 year contract unless the player is controllable. You get what you pay for.
The O’s talked to most of them and they elected to go elsewhere.
Do you understand that a FA makes the decision where he wants to play, and that they can only go to one team?
I didn’t realize you were in the upper echelon of O’s management and had inside information on the negotiations. My apologies. Did we match the offers of other teams or did we offer more and they still elected to go elsewhere?
We had the same offer for Gibson and he chose to come here. You can’t really know. This crop of FA’s wasn’t very impressive. Rodon nor Degrom were ever realistic O’s targets.
I’m not so sure blowing money on Eflin or Taillon was the right call. We need a starter but I think that should come via trade at the deadline or the off-season. Someone with years of relatively cheap control and higher upside than Irvin.
“Years of relatively cheap control and higher upside than Irvin” is a pretty high standard. Will cost a lot in terms of prospects. Good luck.
Do the orioles not have a ton of prospects?
There’s quite a few infielders and OF’s in the system that can’t all play on the field at the same time. Some will have to be moved. That’s inevitable.
Sure, but they aren’t going to want our #6 or #7 outfield prospect. They’ll want #1 or #2. Good pitchers are hard to come by. If you had a pitcher with several years of control and a high upside, would you want to trade them? How many teams have an overabundance of pitching prospects v. an overabundance of OF or IF prospects? Supply and demand.
the guy the O’s gave to Oakland is no way a top prospect. He is ranked #16 on A’s charts and has no power bat. One of those players the best they could ever be is a utility player so the O’s did not give anything of value for him.
And they got nothing of value in return.
They should have been all over P. Lopez from Miami. They for sure could have made that trade considering who the Twins sent to Miami. IMO the twins got him fairly cheap.
They got an all star caliber. bat for him who was affordable, would have to given up someone like Mountcastle or Mulliins plus probably another prospect which doesn’t matter, but that could have been a move worth making.
Wow, who would have imagined a rotation full of guys with no stuff, who cut their ERA’s nearly in half in one season, would regress??? Shocker.
I don’t think either of the two players you mentioned would have been required. Sending Mateo and a mid to low level prospect likely could have gotten it done. Maybe Urias instead of Mateo, point being trading from an area of strength and somewhat of a logjam of good IF players, to fill an area of need. Heck, even the same prospect we sent to Oakland could have been in the deal for Lopez. I’d sign up for that trade everyday all day
Lopez pitched to a 5.00+ ERA post ASB We’ll see if he withers again in the second half.
The Orioles may have bee “all over” him but sometimes teams just can’t come to a trade agreement. And then a player gets traded elsewhere. We don’t know if the Marlins dangled Lopez but were asking for GrOD and Gunnar, which almost nobody would have done.
Good move by the O’s. The Phillies sent Jose Alvarado to the minors in 2022 after he was terrible – he came back throwing the ball over the plate and has been one of the best relievers in MLB since.
I thought Irvin would be better pitching in front of the D and in that large LF. Maybe he still will be. Gibson was preferred over Jordan Lyles. Six of one, half-a-dozen of the other.
Because the O’s bullpen was so good in 2022 and most returned I didn’t see the need for spending money on a starting pitcher at this point. Grayson Rodriguez is apart of their future and needed to be broken in. The same can be said for DL Hall. John Means will be back at some point this season. Those 3 pitchers are going to get starts in 2023 at the ML level if they’re healthy.
Returning pitchers Dean Kremer, Kyle Bradish, Spenser Watkins, Tyler Wells, and Austin Voth all got better as 2022 went along, and deserved to start in 2023 if they were healthy. I especially didn’t like the move of Voth back to the bullpen. He didn’t pitch well out of the bullpen in DC or with the O’s. He pitched very well staring with the O’s once he made some adjustments.
I believe the O’s FO is one of the best in MLB, and for all the complaining in this chatroom, they did exactly the right thing by addressing the issue with Irvin on April 13, and reviewing the starting pitching.
In the meantime the O’s position players need to get their heads out of their butts and start playing smart baseball. Henderson takes far too many pitches which the O’s are working with him on. Most of the other players aren’t working the count enough. The corner OF’s are making screwball plays on D – Austin Hays throw Wed night to 2B on a fly out with less than no outs in a close game was straight out of Little League or the White Sox….as soon as he threw it the runner tagged up and ran to 3rd (subsequently scored). And with Adam Frazier, Jorge Mateo (next to Rutschman their best overall position player), and Ramon Urias at 2B, SS, and 3B – Henderson should be a DH because with all the clamor over his being able to play those positions, he gives up too much D when he goes in for one of those guys.
The O’s FO will make the adjustments – and if the players don’t they’ll be replaced…..same as Irvin. Unlike most teams that forever rebuild, the O’s are putting their foot down.
Gunnar being a DH is a waste of his ability though. He’s absolutely good enough to have a glove on his hand.
Urias should be moved in my opinion.
At this time Gunner is not a fraction of the 3B Urias is. Furthermore the O’s are already overbalanced with LH hitting. You take away another RH bat and teams will be calling up LH pitchers from the minors before stating a series with the O’s – and it’s hard for hitters to adapt to pitchers they’ve never seen before.
I don’t disagree with that. I just don’t think it serves Gunnar’s development to be DH’ing. This isn’t a WS winner this year. Henderson’s development trumps that for me.
Frazier is playing well but that’s a LH bat that we chose to bring in that has no future here. That has to be on the FO. Gunnar is just more important to the next contending squad.
Maybe O’Hearn can help us balance it out from the DH slot and that’ll let Urias be a chip for something we need.
Gunnar should not be DHing, you’re right BStrow.
Ryan Mountcastle is a position player!
C Yards Jeff
Gunnar is a hitter. Adley is a hitter. Drove me crazy last year watching Adley at the plate. Way too many deep counts leading to way too many walks. Fast forward to this year and Adley is in attack mode. Love it.
So here’s Gunnar, a highly regarded hit machine doing the same thing Adley did last year. Way too many deep counts leading to way too many walks. Bizarre, maybe.
Is this an Os strategy? Kinda of a hitters’ version of a pitch count. But instead of limiting number of pitch’s pitched, the hitter is told to take as many pitches as possible. Next year (or maybe later this year) they unleash Gunnar the beast?
“Baltimore traded well-regarded infield prospect Darell Hernaiz to the A’s”.
He was something like their 15th ranked prospect and they’ve got something like a half-dozen infielders in the minors that are better than him.
The O’s could DFA Irvin and it would be no big deal except for the media saying it’s “a bad look”.
O’s are contending for the playoffs this year. What the roster will look like as the year goes along is unforeseen at this time. .
My gut told me Irvin sucked but I had full faith in Elias and co.
Hernaiz is a possible super utility guy but he was also blocked by 5-6 guys, like you said. Maybe Irvin gets corrected in AAA. Would’ve been nice to use Hernaiz as say a 3rd piece for a better starter but the chips fell where they did.
It’s accurate to state Hernaiz was “well-regarded.”
Balmer gonna be fine. Believe it!
Dumpster Divin Theo
Dirty deeds- Dundalk cheep!
What Samuel doesn’t understand is that, while he was expendable, Hernaiz was well regarded by other teams. That means he could have been used in a trade for a player other than Irvin. A player being 3rd or 4th on a teams depth chart doesn’t diminish the talent of a player. It makes his path to the majors less obvious, nothing more. Cleveland has an abundance of young IFs too. You won’t see them “giving them away”, however.
Let’s not blow a load here. Darell Hernaiz is graded as a 40 FV player. That’s a fringe utility man grade. He wasn’t some sort of phenomenal prospect.
Deal looks bad right now. Sure.
Dumpster Divin Theo
What Samuel doesn’t understand… that sounds like the beginning of an extended and leisurely Coltrane riff to take us into the weekend….
C Yards Jeff
Liked “Dirty Deeds-Dundalk Cheap!”
Dumpster Divin Theo
Reminds me of a work colleague in DC who acted all Euro-bougie and quoted from the financial times until someone outed his secret- he hailed from Dundalk. He kept denying saying he was from “East Baltimore”
C Yards Jeff
I lived in Irvington on Baltimore’s west side. When people asked where I lived I often would say “East Catonsville”. LOL.
Dumpster Divin Theo
I lived in Catonsville briefly. I should have said West Baltimore. Improve my street cred
Almost everyone from Irvington’s kids moved to Catonsville, so it makes sense.
Then their kids moved to Ellicott City.
Bmores pitching is thinnish n unproven, needed to bolster it n build on good season they just had n laid an egg w/off-season acquisitions … Wacha woulda lookd good in O’s uni hon
I’m surprised at the walk total. Hard to be a command pitcher without the command.
Hopefully he figured it out.
O’s did have some interest in Wacha in the offseason and there were plenty of veteran arms available that were not way overpriced. Obviously its still too early but Wacha has done well. I’ll commend my O’s for sending him down early to see if he can work it out. AL East is shaping up to be an interesting division. I mean I knew the Rays were going to be competitive throughout the year as they typically are but they are playing baseball with cheat codes on or something.
John Means is just 2.5 months away! Seriously they dropped the ball & overpaid for Gibson… archer is the only realistic FA out there now
Gibson has been good. Toronto offered him the same money and he chose Baltimore. I’d hate to see our staff right now without him.
A lot better than I thought he would be.
It will be tough for the Os to get through the season with that rotation.
I think bradish is good and g rod is Talented but the rest is pretty mediocre and g rod might only throw 100 to 120 innings this year. Dl hall could be great but needs to improve his command or he is a reliever.
Apart from them there isn’t all that much in the org, I really think the Os need to make a trade.
I wouldn’t trade away the future for a rental either, really they should get a guy with 2-3 years of service time left.
Of course such a guy will cost a lot in terms of prospects but at some they have to make that move anyway because they don’t have a TOR pitcher coming up the next 2-3 years. So why not make the move now?
Agreed. Those three have the talent. The others are junkballers just trying to survive. Although Gibson has ascended to professional junkballer.
That is not one-for-one deal – BAL got RHP Kyle Virbitsky also, BA rated him one of the Best Control in the minors
24 year old in high A. Who walked 3 in 2innings while giving up 6 runs.
Not a great start. He was a big old lotto ticket.
I just laugh at some of the spin and ultra-blind comments that are going on.
Like I’ve said going back years, the Orioles will not pay for quality starting pitching. They could have made a trade and yes, overpay for someone who could at least be an average starter. But when I complained about Irvin being the “big pickup” and said look at his home/away splits, he doesn’t miss bats, he’s moving to the AL East, no I got comments back like I had “no faith in Elias” or “what do you know are you the GM?” Well now that he has a 10.66 ERA. and being sent down the spin is still coming? He’s exactly what we expected him to be, he’s not missing bats, its coming back to hurt him, and Baltimore is not the Oakland Coliseum no matter where the wall is.
So here we are already….13 games into the season….with a patchwork rotation hoping that a guy coming back from TJ surgery in 3 months is going to save the season???? If Means comes back and pitches ONE decent start that is more than you could reasonably expect outside of the spin department here.
The Orioles are too cheap to pay for starting pitching. They have been unable to develop it within their own system. It is as simple as that, and I would put that in bold orange and have it blink for those who refuse to see it.. It is how it has been and how it ever will be.
Any success they’ve had SINCE THE 1990S was built on a strong bullpen, a “good enough” offense and hoping that the starters didn’t take them out of the game before the 6th inning.
Disagree? What starting pitcher outside of Gibson has actually pitched well? Please also let someone reply and say “Gibson has changed, he will finish with a 3.40 ERA like he has now.”
The Orioles feed you something brown and tell you its chocolate, and people on the comments section here will swear up and down that it is chocolate, even though we know it isn’t. That’s Irvin, that’s “liftoff” that’s “we’re going to expand payroll” that’s “prospects”
I agree 100%. I too was disappointed with the Irvin trade and I too don’t think the Orioles will ever spend money on pitching. They want 1 year deals with risky guys. They do well, they go elsewhere. They do poorly, you cut them. If Elias wouldn’t have raised expectations by saying that they would be spending money this off season, I would keep my mouth shut. This was a typical bargain bin O’s offseason. But he raised expectations and either didn’t follow through or Angelos didn’t give him the money to follow through. I’m pretty sure I know which one of those applies, but I’m not an insider, so it’s just speculation.
Irvin “has a 10.66 ERA… He’s exactly what we expected him to be.”
So you expected him to have a 10+ ERA? Look out Kreskin!
So he got blasted. Then he got busted down. What’s the surprise?
It is too bad for some people that what goes on the internet stays there forever:
Comments from January 26th post when Irvin was acquired. Two of these are from frequent posters who let me have it when I disagree with the flawless front office.
“Good for Baltimore to get a solid guy like him! Congrats Baltimore fans!” (36 likes)
“Finally! It’s about time we added a decent SP. And without giving up a top prospect. Great job, Mr. Elias!!!” (16 likes)
“A pitch to contract guy is perfect for the O’s because they make sure their position players can all play D. As for not pitching in the Oakland Coliseum – he’ll be playing his home games in a park with a deep LF wall. When the opposition stacks their RH hitters up against him they can pull fly balls to death valley where usually Hays – a CF playing LF – can track them down.
This is an extremely bright organization.” (7 likes)
Bearish is your way. But let’s take a look here https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/cole-irvin-608344?stats=statcast-r-pitching-mlb
Irvin’s sinker has been really good this year. It’s just that his other pitches have not. I would not be totally surprised to see them having him work on his pitch mix down in the minors rather than the majors. He might come back as an effective heavy sinker ball guy. Why he’s only thrown that 9% of the time is beyond me. He threw it 23% of the time just last season.
That is the problem when grading a trade after 3 starts.
With the jump of TB and the Yankees and Blue Jays looming, the O’s simply can’t punt games while they wait for Irvin to figure it out….
Heard of Mike Mussina, Jimmy Key, Chris Tillman, Kevin Gaussman.
O’s have had some good starters since the 90s just to name a few.
The Birds are one top of the rotation pitcher away from contending for the division in 24.
They will be in the playoff hunt through September this year and exciting to watch.
Baseball is different now with a strong, deep bullpen a must. The Days of Palmer, Cuellar and McNally throwing complete games is over. A six inning starter is a rarity now days. Have belief that the current regime is on the right track with a he O’s.
Mike Mussina is the last starter who the Orioles drafted and developed who performed well for them. Jimmy Key was a free agent back when they used to spend on pitchers back in the 90s. Gausman was average for the Orioles and bloomed only upon leaving (sort of like Arrieta). Tillman grew up through the Seattle system and spent <1 years in O's minors.
The Orioles are TWO top rotation pitchers away from contending at all and three from saying "we have a strong rotation." One of these could be Rodriguez in time. I don't mean Cy Young contenders, just good guys with mid 3 ERA or below who can pitch 180-200 innings a year. Hell, anything under a 4 at this poin.
I really hope Irvin does something different because the ugliness in his splits that I talked about at acquisition has really shown. I don't expect him to be anything above average.
I agree that a strong bullpen is a necessity but if you look at the teams that contend annually they have at least a couple pitchers who can dependably give you 6+ above average quality innings most times out. Not a mish-mash who can't get through the 4th and cause the bullpen to be fried before June.
That’s why the Astros are so tough. Deepest pitching staff in baseball.