Alfredo "Weak Sauce" Simon may soon be simmering in someone else's kitchen. The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly reported tonight that Simon has been placed on waivers. After a brief, confusing period, where there were further tweets reporting EVP Dan Duquette as saying "Simon is on the roster" the report has been confirmed. It seems that Simon can both be on waivers (a confidential process until it's leaked) and on the roster. Clever prevarication, Duquette, but the media is on to your shenanigans, or at least they're willing to make reports contrary to your evasive responses.
The Orioles will have to ultimately make room on the 40-man roster for Ronny Paulino, who is in line to be the backup catcher, and Nick Johnson, who's earned a bench spot with a solid, healthy spring. To make room, someone must needs be removed, and Simon could be caught in the crossfire of the process. Worth noting that this could be the first consequence of the decision to place Brian Roberts on the 15-day DL instead of the 60-day DL.
Both Connolly and MASN's Roch Kubatko indicated that Simon would be unlikely to clear waivers, with Connolly citing an NL executive who said he "can't imagine Simon won't get claimed based on his ability". There is always a team out there who is willing to pull the trigger on a live arm, and Simon has that. If Simon clears the waivers, he will be outrighted to Norfolk and removed from the 40-man; if another team sets their sights on him, he will be lost to the O's and thus off the 40-man.
Because apparently neither myself nor my podcasting cohort Andrew Gibson have anything better to do on a Friday night than write about Alfredo Simon rumors, we were in fact both composing a post about him. As is typical for us, mine has more bad jokes and his has more incisive analysis, so I will cede the floor to him now:
Simon is a useful arm and the organization is probably worse off minus a useful reliever than they are with Simon around. Every spring we watch in entranced fascination with the bullpen battles, kidding ourselves that this relief corps looks really good. For serious this time! And every year the Orioles end up needing a dozen and a half guys to get through the year. They used 20 different relievers last year, and that's just the nature of the beast. It'll be a shame to lose Simon as an option in order to get an extra LOOGY or ROOGY onto the Opening Day roster.
But please, let's not shed too many tears of rage over the rumored departure of a reliever with a career ERA over 5.00 and a career WHIP nearing 1.50. There's a reason us stat-nerds keep talking about relievers as "highly fungible". As talented as Simon's arm looks, if the O's front office can't find another guy just as useful and talented, they're in a lot worse shape than we all think.
Andrew also adds that this move seems to open a bullpen spot that could be taken by either Zach Phillips, Darren O'Day or Pat Neshek. He is right on about the prospect of Simon's loss. Neither of us will lose any sleep over it and you should not do so either.