After Hayden Penn's latest bad spring outing, it doesn't sound good for the 24-year old righty:
Penn, one of five candidates for three rotation spots, is forcing the Orioles to make a difficult decision. He is out of options, meaning the Orioles would need him to pass through waivers to get him to Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles aren't confident Penn will make it through waivers, as a number of teams, including the pitcher's hometown and pitching-desperate San Diego Padres, have expressed interest in him in the past.
Ol' Hayden just isn't getting it done out there, which he acknowledges (in those words even):
"Actually, I felt pretty good out there," said Penn, who needed 62 pitches to get eight outs. "Obviously, the line is bad and I didn't get it done, but I felt pretty good. I really did. That's probably the best I felt physically all spring. ... I felt I was making some quality pitches. That's the way it goes. That's baseball."
At what point when you're Hayden Penn does "Well, that's baseball" start driving you plum effing crazy, though? This is a guy that was about to get another call to the show last year before being impaled by a bat. He has had some ridiculously awful luck. Trembley talked about him having a sharp curveball the other day. His control was bad, too, and let's not discount that, but Penn's out there feelin' it and his curve is working and he still stinks, and he has the resolve to go, "Well, hey, you know, that's baseball. Am I right fellas?"
I imagine him saying this again a dozen more times when spoken to after rough outings and finally just losing it and going on some weird tangent like Michael Richards in UHF.
The thing is, Hayden Penn was basically handed a golden opportunity this spring to right his own ship. There were FOUR open rotation spots before Koji Uehara was signed, and three after. He wasn't being asked to beat out the brightest stars in the galaxy, either. But it looks like he's going to lose this shot to the likes of Adam Eaton, Mark Hendrickson and probably Alfredo Simon. I'm not the biggest Penn backer in the world or close to it, but I was relatively sure he'd make it out of camp with a rotation spot. I thought there was a good shot he wouldn't keep it very long (perhaps after being attacked by a giant squid), but I really thought he'd win a spot. Doesn't look good now, though.