One of the earliest moves that Dan Duquette made after settling into his job as the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations was to trade two minor leaguers for Dana Eveland. At that time, Eveland was probably on the path towards not making the Dodgers the next year anyway, but Duquette acquired him and an arbitration salary obligation (later settled for $750,000). Eveland has a 5.52 career ERA in 360.1 IP. Though his name was bandied about as a rotation candidate, poor outings led him to yesterday concede that he was out of the starting rotation race.
Today, he has been eliminated from the Orioles roster race altogether as he has been designated for assignment. What a way to flush three-quarters of a million dollars. Was there any expectation that Eveland would get his act together and contribute to the O's at any point? I don't see how there could have been, but he was acquired anyway, and now, a little less than four months later, without throwing a pitch in the regular season, he is gone.
Eveland was DFA'd to make room for a player the Orioles claimed off waivers from the Brewers. That player's name is Zelous Wheeler. I am not making this up. I don't know anything about him and I'm rooting for him already. Let's see what the Orioles press release had to say about him:
Wheeler, 25, is a career .271/.371/.408 hitter in 538 minor league games over five seasons. He spent last season at Double-A Huntsville (65 games) and Triple-A Nashville (17 games), hitting a combined .272/.378/.459 with 33 extra-base hits in 329 at-bats.
Wheeler was originally drafted by Milwaukee in the 19th round of the 2007 draft out of Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, AL.
You wouldn't know it from most recent-vintage Orioles (other than Mark Reynolds) but it is actually possible for a player to have an OBP that's 100 points above his batting average. This means that a player knows how to "walk", meaning that he is thrown four pitches that do not cross the strike zone (and are not called strikes) and does not swing at any of those pitches within a single plate appearance.
Wheeler, it seems, may have such a discerning eye, and he will get to put it on display at AAA Norfolk, where the Orioles optioned him immediately after claiming him. I, for one, will zealously await the day he might get to appear in the big leagues.
As for Eveland, I forgot that he was on the Orioles at all. Every time he pitched I was reminded of his presence, and based on his results, usually regretted it. Now he is gone, as Jarret Martin and Tyler Henson, whom we traded to acquire him, are also gone. They are all gone and they will soon be forgotten, fading into the margins of a cruel and indifferent world that cares not for their suffering. At least with Eveland, Orioles fans can say he will not be contributing to ours any longer.