Orioles acquire Andrew Miller

Byline IanThe Baltimore Orioles have traded their No. 3 pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez to the Boston Red Sox for left-handed reliever Andrew Miller. The trade comes about 45 minutes before the 4 p.m. trade deadline.

The Orioles left-handed relievers, most notably Brian Matusz, have had a difficult time getting left-handed batters out this season. The Orioles can now use Miller in that spot and can also give the other relievers an extra days rest with his efficiency to get both right-handed and left-handed batters out. Miller will be a very good addition to an Orioles’ bullpen that needed a versatile reliever in late game situations.

Though he has a 3-5 record, his ERA is 2.34 and he has struck out 69 batters while only walking 13 of them. To go along with his impressive strikeout-to-walk ratio, he has only allowed 25 hits, 13 runs, 11 earned, and just two home runs in 42.1 innings pitched.

593958To get Miller, the Orioles had to send a very highly rated prospect in Eduardo Rodriguez. Rodriguez was the Orioles’ No. 3 rated prospect but was struggling for Double-A Bowie this season. He had a 3-7 record to go along with a 4.70 ERA in 16 starts this season.

Rodriguez turned 21 in April and was not expected to join the Orioles’ any time in the near future with the amount of pitching prospects they have now.

The move makes sense for both teams. The Orioles get the type of player they think can help their team win the division while the Red Sox have added another young pitcher that could help them out a few years down the road. And even though it is uncommon to trade in the division, it can be considered a small trade when you compare it to the other trades the Red Sox have made today.

 

Ray Rice Speaks

Ray Rice gave a 17-minute pressure conference after practice today, talking about the incident that got him suspended for two games and drew criticism all over the country. Watch the full press conference here.

These are some of the most notable quotes and images from the conference:

“That’s something I have to live with the rest of my life. The pain I’m talking about living with is waking up every day, and my daughter is two years old now, and I have a little girl, who’s very smart, very intelligent, and one day she’s going to know the power of Google, and me having to explain that to her, what happened that night.”

“You have to fix yourself before you can go out and help others, and when the time is right me and my wife want to go out there and help people, anybody, violence of any kind, especially man on woman, is just not right.”

“I don’t have any control over what the punishment was. No football games or money can compare to what I’m living with.”

Ubaldo Jimenez: Inning-by-Inning

Ubaldo Jimenez has some ground to make up. After signing a four-year, $50 million contract to be one of the top pitchers in the Orioles rotation, Jimenez struggled throughout the first half of the season.

In 18 starts this season, Jimenez is 3-8 with a 4.52 ERA. To add, well, injury to insult, Jimenez found his way to the DL after stepping in a parking lot pothole and injuring his ankle before the All-Star break. It’s simply been a frustrating season for Jimenez.

However, Jimenez took the mound for the Aberdeen Ironbirds on Tuesday night in a rehab start, attempting rehab his body and image.  In 4.2 innings of work, Jimenez allowed one unearned run on 75 pitches, five hits, three walks and three strikeouts.

Command was an issue for Jimenez throughout the night. He struggled to fool batters with his curveball and added a few walks to his total towards the end of his start. The Jimenez of old seemed to show more than a rejuvenated one. It won’t encourage Buck Showalter and company, who will have the task of figuring out where Jimenez will fit into a hot Orioles rotation.

Here’s the inning-by-inning breakdown of Jimenez’s start:

First inning:

Jimenez started off strong with a perfect first inning. He forced a flyout to center field against the first batter and struck out the next two to end the inning. He tallied 15 pitches in the frame, topping out at 89 mph with his fastball.

Second inning:

In the second inning, Jimenez allowed a first-pitch bloop single to ValleyCats hitter Nick Tanielu. However, he forced a double play just two pitches later. He finished the inning with a groundout, pushing his total to just five in the frame.

Third inning:

Jimenez allowed his second base runner with a lead-off walk in the third inning, but forced a flyout to get the first out. He struck out the next batter, but let up two straight hits to load the bases with one out. However, he got out of the jam by again forcing a groundout double play to end the inning with 21 pitches.

Fourth inning:

The fourth inning started with another single; this time a hard grounder through the hole between second and shortstop. The baserunner stole second and advanced to third after the pick-off attempt went into the outfield.

Things got worse when a passed ball from Jimenez allowed the runner to score from third, spoiling the scoreless outing. Jimenez then recorded a strikeout and, on the next at-bat, stepped on the bag at first base to end the inning at 51 pitches.

Fifth inning:

Jimenez came out for his last inning and did much the same, allowing a hit and walk to start the fifth. He fielded a comebacker and saved a run on the next at-bat. However, his night ended with a walk that loaded the bases.

 

 

Orioles Trade Talk: John Lester

Tyler's BylineIt’s that time of the season where contending teams try to make a trade in order to rise to the top; even if it’s a trade in the same division.

There has been speculation that the Orioles have reached out to the Boston Red Sox about Jon Lester, according to Jon Morosi.

Jon Lester has been one of the best pitchers in the AL this season, with a 10-7 record and a 2.52 ERA. He’s also struck out 149 batters in 143 innings.

The problem with Lester is that he’s in a contract year and the Red Sox are trying to rent him to a team who needs a frontline starter.

The term “rent” is used because Lester has expressed interest in returning to Boston after this season.

So should the Orioles try and go after Lester to bolster the rotation? My answer is no.

Jon Lester is a fantastic pitcher, but he’ll come at a high cost, as Boston will want a lot in order to give him up to a division rival.

593958Baltimore might be able to trade for the pitcher without giving away one of the big three arms, but the deal would likely have to include pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez.

Rodriguez would be the center of the deal and the O’s would have to add about two more prospects in order to gouge the Red Sox interest.

The price to get Lester seems fair and might be worth it, but I don’t see this trade happening because of how well the starters have pitched as of late.

It’s gotten to the point where the Orioles are making sure Ubaldo Jimenez takes his time coming back from injury because they have nowhere to put him.

Baltimore shouldn’t try to add a big-name rental player to the rotation when it’s already crowded and pitching well. Losing top prospects just wouldn’t be worth it.

Ray Rice: The next NFL villain?

Byline Matt 2When the NFL came down with the decision to suspended Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games, the nation went crazy. Many, and I mean many, were outraged by the decision to ban Rice from just 1/8 of the season.

The sports world seemed to have gone mad over this situation, which could be justified. After all, Rice was involved in some type of assault (we don’t really know what he did) that led to him dragging his now wife, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator, unconscious.

The great thing about sports is that it is a stepping stone for many trends we see in the world today. Children look up to professional athletes and aspire to look like them, act like them, etc. However, in Rice’s case, this idea could work against him.

As big and influential as he NFL is, it also serves as a catalyst for change in many instances. Take last year, where big ol’ Richie Incognito was accused of bullying fellow teammate Jonathan Martin to the point that he left the team. We didn’t know exactly the extent to which Incognito bullied Martin, but the fact remained that he bullied.

What happened after that?

It was an outpouring of emotion over national media and social media. Everyone had an opinion, and an NFL problem became a nation’s problem. Bullying was a hot-button issue, and this case became representative of the status of bullying in America.

Incognito became the villain, and Martin the victim, in a back-and-forth that played out for months and led to neither coming back to the Dolphins. The country took this case and made Incognito the person that no one should strive to be and Martin the person to sympathize with.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s probably how it should be. But should Incognito be the most hated player the in NFL? I’m not sure. He bullied, yes. But he didn’t commit a crime, he didn’t kill someone in a DUI and he didn’t even do drugs in this case. Incognito, though, will be forever known as “the guy who bullied the other guy.”

That brings us back to Rice, who just happens to be going through that same process. Yes, he had no prior record and actually committed a chunk of his time promoting non-violence among children. But that doesn’t matter now.

In a day where feminism is at an all time high and the status of women has risen with it, the aspect of domestic violence is a hot-button issue in the national media. So when the country sees Rice dragging his unconscious fiancee out of an elevator after an apparent altercation, there will be a fair share of backlash.

This case has the potential to represent all domestic violence, whether Rice deserves to be in the limelight for it. The suspension is not just being debated on SportsCenter; it was even on the Today show so stay-at-home mothers and fathers had the chance to see.

Rice is now a household name for all of the wrong reasons and that’s a big problem for him.

To a non-football enthusiast that has no knowledge of Rice’s character before this incident, he may become the villain of the NFL. Even to women who watch the NFL (which I guarantee you is a larger number than you think), Rice might become the most hated player in the NFL.

This is what happens when you play major sports and become involved in messy situations. It’s a terrible combination that might lead to irrational views. Should Rice be a villain in the NFL? Probably not. He made a huge mistake and I know he understands that.

However, he may have no choice. In cases like these, there are usually two sides: For or against. Unfortunately for Rice, the suspension may just have turned more people against him. It wasn’t his fault that the suspension was only two games, but many people don’t care.

As much as I’d feel bad for Rice if he became the next villain, I can’t. He made the mistake. He had control and lost it. Unfortunately, Rice put this on himself. I just hope he can come out stronger.