No week is truly complete until the Orioles somehow acquire some fringe roster player of whom you have never heard. They get in under the wire this Friday afternoon, claiming right-handed reliever Scott McGough off of waivers from the Marlins.
The Orioles had two open 40-man roster spots remaining, so there's very little cost in picking up this particular player here. McGough has been optioned to Norfolk and, if he pitches well, maybe he will find himself on the Norfolk-Baltimore shuttle at some point this season. If not, he'll eventually be sent to the great DFA in the sky and you'll forget he ever existed.
The name McGough, by the way, does not rhyme with "Van Gogh" - it actually rhymes with "Huff". At 5'11", he is both a little short for a Stormtrooper and a pitcher.
McGough, 26, was originally picked by the Dodgers from the University of Oregon in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. He grew up in the Pittsburgh area. The July 2012 trade that sent Hanley Ramirez to Los Angeles brought McGough into the Marlins organization, where he's been ever since. He was sidelined for the entire 2014 season after having to have Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL.
The Marlins designated McGough for assignment yesterday after claiming another pitcher, lefty Eric Jokisch, from the Cubs. The roster wheel is always spinning.
Deploy the Dan Duquette quote bot!
Duquette: "McGough is a good competitor and should be able to support our major league bullpen if needed this year." #orioles— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) April 15, 2016
What, you can't even muster a "qualified major leaguer" or "dependable reliever" for this guy? Either Duquette is trying to mix up his catch phrases to keep us guessing or he really doesn't have high hopes for McGough and just claimed him because making fringe roster moves is what fills a lonely hole in the deepest parts of Duquette's soul, at least for a little while.
In his most recent action, McGough pitched his way up through three levels of the Marlins minors in 2015 while working his way back from the surgery. The last stop on that rehab tour was Miami, where he gave up seven runs in 6.2 innings in his first taste of the big leagues. But before that he had a 2.12 ERA for Triple-A New Orleans in 13 games. A small sample size, but something he can hang his hat on.
The Marlins didn't select McGough's contract - that is, add him to the 40-man roster - before last season, so that means McGough should have two minor league options remaining beyond this year. Unless he really bombs, he's somebody they can stash at Norfolk for a while.
It looks like the best case scenario for McGough is a guy capable of being a multi-inning reliever, which if you've watched the Orioles rotation over the season's beginning, you know they will need.