Keith Law Thinks Orioles Paid Steep Price For Francisco Rodriguez, Liked Koji Uehara Deal For Texas In 2011
ESPN.com’s Keith Law reacted to the deal in his blog and wrote that he thought the Birds pay too steep a price for Rodriguez.
The main reason I dislike the move for Baltimore is that giving up a prospect of some value for 20 innings of a middle reliever is poor asset management. Delmonico isn’t an elite prospect, but he has a little value because he can hit, has great makeup, and has been familiar in scouting circles since he was a sophomore in high school.
In 2011, the Orioles found themselves in a similar position as the Brewers. They sent relief pitcher Koji Uehara, who had a 1.72 ERA in 43 games in Baltimore, to Texas for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter. After the deal went down, Law wrote that the Rangers received Uehara in a “good value” deal.
For Baltimore, they get a worthwhile gamble in Chris Davis, who needs an extended opportunity in the majors to show whether he can make enough contact for his power to play. He’s shown he can destroy Triple-A pitching, and in limited duty the last two years he’s at least made more contact against right-handed pitchers in the majors. He’s a good athlete with plus-plus raw power, and he might be able to handle third base, although first is most likely.
However, he has a number of issues to resolve to be able to hit even .240 in the big leagues, from the lack of a real two-strike approach to pitch recognition problems that lead to so many of those two-strike counts in the first place. He’s exactly the kind of player a bad team like Baltimore should put in the lineup every day for a year to see if he can succeed when he gets regular playing time in a zero-pressure environment.
Tommy Hunter is most likely a reliever, as he lacks an out pitch and has particular trouble with left-handed batters (.290/.356/.486 in his major league career). In the ‘pen he would likely sit 92-94 and touch higher than that, although I’d like to see him go back to using the power curveball more and relying less on the cutter that hasn’t solved his problem with lefties anyway. I think he’d be stretched to succeed as a starter in the AL East with his current repertoire, even as the last man in a rotation.
It’s a fair return for two months of a reliever, but unless Davis turns at least one of the corners in front of him it’s not likely to cause Texas any regrets.
Davis was listed as Texas’ number two prospect by Baseball America in 2008. He hit 26 home runs in High-A and Double-A in 2007, belted 33 last season and leads the Big Leagues with 37 in 2013.