• Jul

    Duquette signals he's going for it with trade for Francisco Rodriguez

    Dan Duquette was busy on the phone last night as he sat in Bowie, MD watching top prospect Eduardo Rodriguez pitch. He had just sent prospect Nicky Delmonico to the Milwaukee Brewers for right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez and was constantly texting or calling those asking for comments.

    “I don’t like to give up prospects, but we have some other guys down here filling in and we got a quality reliever for the major league club.”

    The one that’s for sure, Duquette is going for it this season and believes his system can absorb the loss of a decent prospect like Delmonico.

    The reaction on the Hangout so far has been mixed, with some people liking the trade and others hating it. Those who hate look at the “potential” value of Delmonico versus the value of Rodriguez over the rest of the season since Rodriguez will be a free agent at the end of the year.

    I completely understand those sentiments, but I think some have forgotten what it’s like to root for a contending team. Contending teams make these kinds of trades and the good contending teams have a good enough system that they can make these trades without compromising their future.

    Rodriguez (1.09 ERA, 9.5 K/9) provides another power arm for Buck Showalter to use at the tail end of his bullpen. He’s a veteran pitcher who has had success against the AL East (2.60, .206 BAVG) and who has pitched in multiple pennant races and has pitched in the playoffs in six different seasons. This is a guy with 304 major league saves who was throwing the ball very well for Milwaukee who will allow Buck to use Tommy Hunter and Darren O’day in high leverage situation earlier in the game if needed. In addition, he’s Jim Johnson insurance. Although it’s doubtful Johnson will lose his closer spot to Rodriguez, if he falters or goes into another down spell, Rodriguez would give Buck a legitimate closer option.

    Of course you can’t talk about Rodriguez without talking about his off field incidents and that has turned some fans off as well. He plead guilty to assaulting his then girlfriend’s father in 2010 and had charges dropped of assaulting another girlfriend in 2012 when that girlfriend left the country to go back to Venezuela.  

    Rodriguez certainly does not appear to be a saint, but without understanding the entire situations, I’m not sure how anyone can convict the guy as being bad in the clubhouse. Everyone makes mistakes, but at the end of the day, he has the talent to help the Orioles win ball games over the next two and half months and hopefully throughout the playoffs.

    It was tough for Duqutte to give up Delmonico, but in his second full-season, a few concerns were starting to creep up with the talented player. The 21-year old infielder has shown some promise with the bat with some power potential and decent plate discipline, but he’s been prone long slumps and can get pull-happy. In his career with the Orioles he’s hit just .246, but his .350 OBP and .434 SLG made him interesting. Two others things were becoming a concern as well, injuries and defense.

    Although never suffering a serious injury, Delmonio has had a series of injuries over his first two years that have knocked him out of action. Most importantly though, the Orioles have yet to find a position for him as they’ve tried him at first base, second base and this year at third base. He doesn’t move well laterally and his hands are just not very good. He’s most likely a first baseman, but even there he’s never been better than below average. Saying that, Delmonico has a great makeup and sound idea of the strike zone, but you have to give up some value in order to get value.

    With Chris Davis at first base for now and in the foreseeable future, and with prospects like Christian Walker and Michael Ohlman (He’s a catcher of course but some believe he could move to 1B) in the system, Delmonico was an expendable asset.

    What this trade does is signal to everyone that Dan Duquette is going for it this season. He knew his rotation needed a starter and he got Scott Feldman. He knew his team needed a reliever and he went out and got Rodriguez.

    Although Delmonico could still turn into a decent major league player, I like the idea of improving the major league club without giving up an impact prospect. If Rodriguez pitches well down the stretch and the Orioles make it into the playoffs, it will be a gamble that paid off nicely.

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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.