Wow, what a trade deadline we are seeing! Some of the biggest names and biggest teams have been all over the baseball media the last few days, and we have a few more hours left!
Luckily for Oriole fans, this is the first deadline in a couple years where we aren’t stocking up other teams’ lineups with our favorite players. However, that doesn’t mean GM Mike Elias isn’t dipping his toes into the water. He has made his first move of this deadline, and it was sending relief pitcher Shawn Armstrong to the Rays in exchange for cash considerations.
Off the top, this trade is a win for both teams. Armstrong has been somewhat of a fan favorite, while also being the product of quite a lot of frustration for fans.
Being brought over from Seattle via waiver claim in 2019, Armstrong broke out in black and orange and surprised everyone. His 2020 was great, as he held a 1.80 ERA in 15 innings pitched. These numbers matched those he previously held in his career, where he normally lingered around in the mid threes in ERA while with Cleveland and Seattle. That being said, the most he’s pitched in a season before coming to Baltimore was 24.2 innings in 2017, also known as his worse statistical season not in an Orioles uniform.
The year 2021, however, is a totally different story for Armstrong. After missing the initial part of the season for paternity leave, every offense he saw afterwards was his daddy. In 20 innings pitched this year, he has allowed five home runs, 28 hits, 10 walks, and has a WHIP of 1.900, which is not good. Armstrong has not appeared in a game for the Orioles since June 2 and was designated for assignment on June 11, before clearing waivers and heading back to Triple-A Norfolk.
The reason I say this trade is a win regardless is that Armstrong is at the very bottom of the list of players who deserves a thought in terms of being building pieces. At age 30, he is nowhere near the discussion of what this team will look like in two to three years. His numbers also prove why he should not be in that discussion.
Is it likely that Armstrong leaves here and finds his groove? Sure, it’s likely. We have seen that plenty of times over the last few years. Is it likely the Rays can be the ones to turn him around? Absolutely, they can be, but he was never going to do it here. Getting anything in return for a guy like Armstrong is a win, while clearing up room on the 40-man roster is also a benefit.
The Rays have made a few moves to alter their bullpen, trading RHP Diego Castillo to the Mariners for RHP J.T. Chargois and adding former Oriole RHP Tommy Hunter in a trade with the Mets for LHP Rich Hill.
The Orioles still have interest from other teams in regards to bullpen arms, with names like Paul Fry, Tanner Scott, and Cole Sulser all getting attention from clubs. We at The Baltimore Battery will keep you updated throughout the afternoon with any news from the deadline!
Best of luck in Tampa Bay, Shawn! Thank you for all you did in Birdland!
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