Baltimore Orioles 2022 season recap: Part 1 – Front office evaluation

The Baltimore Orioles front office, led by Executive Vice President and GM Mike Elias, made moves this past season that impacted the O’s year entirely.

From signings, to working the waiver wire, to the two massive trades that defined a period in Birdland, the 2022 Orioles’ season was turned around based off these offseason and midseason moves.

In this first part of our four-part 2022 season recap, we look at the moves Mike Elias and his team made prior to and during the season to help the Orioles secure their first winning season since 2016.

Let’s start with waiver claims, something this front office has been known for over the past few seasons.

Bryan Baker – Waiver Wire

The first waiver wire pickup of the 2022 season was right-hander Bryan Baker.

At the age of 27 and coming off a season where he made his MLB debut with the Toronto Blue Jays, Baker was placed on waivers at the end of the 2021 season. On November 8, 2021, the Orioles decided to pick up Baker off waivers and give him a chance to fight for a spot on the roster out of spring training.

Baker was a huge impact in the bullpen and even had some spot starts throughout the season. Over 66 total games, two starts, Baker had a 4-3 record with a 3.49 ERA in 69.2 innings pitched.

He struck out 76 batters, compared to 26 walks, and also picked up his first career save, holding a 1.23 WHIP on the year. Baker secluded himself as a middle reliever and pitched extremely well in stressful situations.

Cionel Pérez – Waiver Wire

Arguably the best left-handed reliever in the league during the season, Cionel Pérez was, in fact, a waiver wire pickup during the offseason.

After his fourth season in the league, the Cincinatti Reds decided to relieve the 25-year-old Pérez of his duties and put him on the waiver wire. The Orioles would decide to select him November 24, 2021, and it would be the best move the Orioles could have made.

Pérez would dominate from the jump, being the set-up lefty needed in the late part of the game. In his 66 games, Pérez would post a 7-1 record with a 1.40 ERA and 1.162 WHIP in 57.2 innings pitched.

He would give up just nine earned runs all year, punching out 55 batters to just 21 walks. He would also have a team-high 25 holds and would grab one save on the season.

Currently looked as a key piece in the bullpen, Pérez would look to continue his domination heading into the 2023 season.

Austin Voth – Waivers

Once the season started to get underway, the Orioles decided that they wanted to take a chance on another pitcher for some depth. They decided to grab 29-year-old Austin Voth off waivers from the Washington Nationals.

Voth, who had a career-worst 10.13 ERA in 18.2 innings pitched with the Nationals, completely turned his season around once he joined the Orioles. In 22 games, Voth would go 5-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 83 innings pitched with the Birds.

He would punch out 72 batters and walk 25, carrying a WHIP of 1.229. Voth was given a rotation spot and did not disappoint, despite what he did in Washington.

Voth finished a one-year $875K contract and is eligible for arbitration in upcoming offseason.

Now, let’s go over the key free agent signings the front office brought in for the 2022 season.

Rougned Odor – FA Signing

Oh, how this signing was helpful in many situations.

The Orioles decided November 30, 2021, that they would sign 27-year-old second baseman Rougned Odor to a one-year $700K contract. While Odor was very inconsistent throughout the season, he was known for being extremely clutch in late-game situations.

This season, Odor slashed .207/.275/.357 with a .632 OPS. He hit 13 home runs and tallied 53 RBIs.

Even though his season was not the greatest, Oriole fans indeed thank Odor for many memorable moments with his bat. Odor would be the reason for multiple walk-off wins and multiple clutch at-bats late in the game that led to important victories for the Birds.

Jordan Lyles – FA Signing

The innings eater, himself.

On March 12, 2022, the Orioles decided to sign 31-year-old right-hander Jordan Lyles to a one-year, $7 million contract with a 2023 team option, and it paid off tremendously.

Lyles would be the ace of the 2022 Orioles, after the unfortunate injury to John Means, and he would not disappoint. In 32 games, Lyles would go 12-11 with a 4.42 ERA in 179 innings pitched and would walk 52 batters and punch out 144.

Lyles would also be one of two O’s pitchers in 2022 to pitch a complete game. Having his first winning season since 2019, Lyles had a season that was almost filled with career-highs, missing the innings pitched by one inning and strikeouts by two.

Lyles, as mentioned above, does have a team option for the 2023 season, and Orioles fans are eager to see if he will be in the orange and black again next year.

Robinson Chirinos – FA Signing

The Orioles decided to take a chance on a 37-year-old veteran catcher in Robinson Chirinos, signing him to a one-year $900K contract.

Chirinos would be the starting catcher for the beginning of the year, while waiting for rookie and top prospect Adley Rutschman to heal from an injury obtained in spring training.

While Chirinos would not have the best season, slashing .179/.265/.287 with a .552 OPS, he would provide a type of veteran presence to a young Orioles team that is irreplaceable.

Chirinos is a free agent this upcoming offseason, and he has made it known that he would like to play one more big league season.

Lastly, let’s go over the two big trades that impacted the O’s second half of 2022.

Trey Mancini – Traded

While all the moves mentioned have impacted the Orioles and helped the team build and grow, we also see that the team made moves that impacted the club emotionally.

On August 1, Trey Mancini would be traded to the Houston Astros as part of a three-team deal. Mancini, at the time, was having a solid season, slashing .268/.348/.404 with a .751 OPS, tallying 95 total hits, 16 doubles and 10 home runs.

Since going to Houston, Trey hit just .176 in 51 games played, with eight home runs and 22 RBIs.

In return, the Orioles would receive two 23-year-old pitching prospects in Chayce McDermott and Seth Johnson. Mancini is still deeply loved in Baltimore for everything he has done and has a 2023 mutual option with Houston.

Jorge López – Traded

The final move that highly affected the Orioles happened August 2, as the O’s decided to part ways and trade closer Jorge López to the Minnesota Twins.

López was not only a 2022 All-Star at the time, but he was considered a dominant reliever and one of the best closers of 2022. As an Oriole, López went 4-6 with a 1.68 ERA in 48.1 innings pitched and gave up just nine earned runs, walked 17 batters and struck out 54. He also collected 19 saves.

Since traded, López has not been as dominant, posting a sub-five ERA in much less innings. In return, the Orioles received, 21-year-old Juan Nuñez, 22-year-old Cade Povich, 18-year-old Juan Rojas and 28-year-old Yennier Cano, who had a 18.69 ERA in 4.1 innings with the Orioles.

The 2022 Baltimore Orioles might have been mostly homemade, but the waiver wire and free agency signings helped shape a team that made baseball in Charm City fun again.

Make sure to stay tuned for part two of this four-part season recap, as our Justin Sutphin recaps the 2022 Orioles offensive production.

What front office move was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!

Like Zack’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @Zackattack8211

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