Dan Duquette loves the Rule 5 draft so much that he gets back his Rule 5 picks of the past before this year’s draft even comes along. The Orioles brought an old friend back into the fold on Wednesday afternoon, picking up righty Logan Verrett from the Mets for cash considerations.
Verrett, if you don’t remember, was the second of the two Rule 5 picks that the Orioles made for the 2015 season. The Orioles chose not to keep Verrett at that time, instead holding onto Jason Garcia for the season. But it seems they’ve always kept their eye on him. Verrett became available on Wednesday because the Mets needed to make room to officially re-sign Yoenis Cespedes.
The immediate impact of this move is probably - though not definitely - that the Orioles will now view Vance Worley as expendable. Of course they might still keep Worley, but the best version of Verrett would fill the same role of a spot starter and long reliever, and he’ll do it for a couple of million dollars less than Worley.
The Duquette quote bot, delivered via text message to mainstream Orioles reporters, is very excited about getting Verrett back on the Orioles:
Duquette: "Good, solid, dependable kid. Every staff needs a pitcher who can pitch multiple roles like Logan Verrett." #orioles— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) November 30, 2016
You don’t get much higher praise from Duquette than that. If you feel like nitpicking this statement (don’t nitpick Duquette statements) you might note that Duquette describes him as a good, solid, and dependable kid, but does not use those words to describe Verrett as a pitcher.
With a minor league option remaining, the Orioles do have the choice of viewing Verrett as more insurance than as a guy with a definite role. They can stick him down in the Norfolk rotation if they choose.
In Verrett’s rookie season, where he pitched 18 games, with four starts, he enjoyed some small sample size success: a 3.59 ERA over 47.2 innings.
Verrett’s sophomore effort in 2016, where he pitched in 35 games, 12 of which were starts, did not go so well. He finished that season with a 5.20 ERA. It’s hard to be a right-handed pitcher whose fastball averages only about 90 miles per hour. Well, it’s hard unless you’re facing the Orioles offense all of the time.
When you acquire a guy with a 5+ ERA, you have to expect certain things - though that certainly didn’t stop them from trading for Wade Miley during the past season.
An amusing and probably meaningless effect of this trade is that the Orioles now have all six of the Rule 5 picks they’ve made over the Duquette era in the organization. Ryan Flaherty, T.J. McFarland, Jason Garcia, and Joey Rickard are all on the 40-man roster along with Verrett, while Michael Almanzar, the 2014 Rule 5 guy, is hanging around in the minor leagues.
Don’t expect that to last for long. If the Orioles are going to non-tender anyone before Friday’s deadline, McFarland will probably be that guy. Duquette really loves those Rule 5 picks. He’s probably already salivating over the players he might be able to take at next week’s winter meetings - you know, assuming that labor negotiations don’t break down and the offseason comes grinding to a halt. But that’s another story.