It now seems like a quasi-regular ritual, but once again, Dan Duquette and the player development team have taken to freeing the system of players they deem to be expendable. As we’ve seen with trades made during the Duquette era, the front office does not seem to be constrained by allegiances to previous pet projects, nor by dollars that may have been attached to the acquisition of such projects. Yesterday’s activity includes more casualties from the draft class of 2009, which continues to look like even more of a lost opportunity (if that’s even possible) as years go by. Steve Melewski has the skinny on yesterday’s activities, but among the cuts we find:
Ryan Berry, 9th Round (2009), An eccentric righty from Rice (memorialized in this outstanding Notgraphs post) that had been highly thought of before the 2009 draft gave some pause when he was diagnosed with shoulder issues and shut down that year. As was known to happen during his tenure, this fact did not deter Jordan. Berry signed a deal with a $400,000 bonus. Steve Melewski quoted Jordan as saying at the time, "In my opinion, he's the first guy to the big leagues out of this draft. If he is healthy, which we believe he is 100 percent, he could start next year at Frederick and be at Double-A before next summer is over. That's just what I think of him." About that, Joe...
Aaron Wirsch, 7th Round (2009), A lefty out of El Toro High in Orange County California was signed for $200,000. Wirsch seems to have been handled with kid gloves (16 games, 12 starts from 2009-2011), but endured oblique injuries in 2010 and ended up rupturing his UCL and undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2011. He has not made an appearance with an Orioles affiliate since. A write up of Wirsch on Jordan Tuwiner's Orioles Nation site quotes Jordan as saying, "I wish we could sign five every year just like him". I’ll also leave this Wirsch interview also from Orioles Nation here (for amusement purposes only).
Rick Zagone, 6th Round (2008), A lefty from the same Mizzou program that has recently produced Aaron Crow, Nick Tepesch and Kyle Gibson, the former Honorable Mention All Big 12 pitcher bounced between the bullpen and the rotation in the O’s system. Zagone, 26, underwhelmed beyond his brief performance at Aberdeen in 2008 (2.46 FIP, never below 3.80 afterwards). He signed for $150,000.
Pitchers Sean Gleason and Tim Bascom were granted the the Jimmy McNulty Award for excellence in organizational soldiering and sent on loan to the Puebla Pericos of the Mexican League.
Perhaps this is reading too much into things on my own part, but I also see the release of Clayton Tanner referred to in Melewski’s article linked above as encouraging in its own right. A month ago, Dan Duquette sang Tanner's praises to Roch Kubatko and now we see Tanner among the cuts. Duquette doesn’t merely replace the previous regime’s projects with his own, but seems to have no compunction about turning the scalpel on his own guys.