Monday, February 11, 2008

It's a Trachsel Re-Run

Let's take a trip down memory lane. Remember when starter Kris Benson went down with a shoulder injury shortly before Spring Training 2007? The Orioles scooped up one of the last remaining starting pitchers that no one wanted to fill his place: Steve Trachsel. Fast forward one year, shortly before Spring Training 2008 and the Orioles have a young unproven rotation made even more vulnerable in the short term with the trading of its ace, Erik Bedard. The Orioles show interest in bringing in a veteran who might be more reliable and can eat some innings so they don't have to lean on young arms that aren't ready. So they look out at the remaining dregs of starters that no one wants... and sign Steve Trachsel.

The first time, Trachsel was signed to a major league deal and was assured of a roster spot. This time, it's just a minor league deal. There were rumors of the Orioles signing starter Josh Fogg to serve as the veteran innings eater. This minor league deal to Trachsel is a much better move. Fogg would most likely have required a major league deal, meaning we'd have to drop someone off of the 40 man roster to make room, exposing that player to waivers. Why risk losing a young player for an older veteran who, by the end of spring training, we may decide we don't even need? Trachsel only has a minor league deal with an invite to spring training, so for now, he's not presenting us with any risk of losing a player to waivers. He pitched pretty well for the Orioles last year, too. He wasn't great, but was reliable and kept the team in the game. He made 25 starts for the Orioles before being traded in August, and he allowed 3 earned runs or less in 17 of those starts. If he can show in Spring Training that he can still do that (no guarantees at age 37)and our young pitchers don't force the organizations hand, then the front office can decide if they want to keep Trachsel. I'm not convinced that Fogg would do any better than Trachsel, certainly not drastically, so why force an unnecessary roster move now?

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