The Orioles did not end up pulling off the swap that would have sent Ubaldo Jimenez to the Padres and outfielder Melvin Upton to Baltimore, but they came very close to doing so before Upton was shipped to the Blue Jays instead.
On Tuesday morning, Ken Rosenthal, who first reported on the Jays landing Upton, said that the O’s had offered two prospects to the Padres, in addition to Jimenez, but the deal broke down over finances.
Presumably, the Orioles were expected to send some money to the Padres for taking on the Jimenez contract, although in the trade that was actually made, the Padres sent $17 million to the Jays along with Upton. The Padres only saved $5 million in the trade, which is about the same as they would have saved if they just had a money-neutral contract swap of Upton and Jimenez.
Another reporter, Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller, revealed a case of Meddling Angelos. According to Miller, the O’s and Padres were close to a deal but Angelos stepped in over a question of the money involved (it’s not known how much) and that changed the deal, after which the Padres preferred what the Jays were offering.
Who were the two minor leaguers involved? MASN’s Roch Kubatko solved that mystery. He tweeted the names of the two players the O’s and Padres had discussed. They are: lefty reliever Garrett Cleavinger and righty starter Jhon Peluffo.
If you were fearing the O’s might have been contemplating trading one of the few prospects you know about, well, that didn’t happen in this deal. It would have been a fairly deep dive into the O’s system there.
Cleavinger, 22, was the Orioles third round pick last year. At the time, O’s scouting director Gary Rajsich said that he believed Cleavinger could be the fastest player to the big leagues in the draft class. That could still prove true, though Cleavinger began the year at Low-A Delmarva. He since earned a promotion to High-A Frederick where in a small sample size (nine games, 19 innings) things haven’t gone as well.
There aren’t very many High-A relievers you would end up missing greatly.
The 19-year-old Peluffo is even farther down the farm than that. Peluffo, who the Orioles signed out of Colombia, is pitching for the Gulf Coast League Orioles. Yes, the Orioles actually do sign international amateurs! Just not many of them and not the top names you’ll find in Baseball America.
Before this year, Peluffo had been spending time in the Dominican Summer League, so this is his first taste of state-side action. As a general rule, especially with younger prospects, you don’t want to get too hung up on scouting box scores and stat lines, but for a guy like Peluffo who’s that far away, that’s about all you can do.
In the five starts Peluffo has made to date, he’s struck out 27 batters in 23 innings with only a 1.96 ERA. The fact that the Padres wanted him makes him more interesting.
Peluffo is not listed among MLB.com’s top 30 Orioles prospects, which is probably more a reflection of MLB.com not having heard of him than him not being worth knowing.
If the Padres wanted two minor leaguers from way down in the system, plus Jimenez and money to offset the Jimenez contract, not much of a shock that deal didn’t get done, whatever the reason. San Diego had to eat $17 million in order to get 19-year-old Hansel Rodriguez from the Jays. Rodriguez is in Rookie league.
But don’t get too attached to Cleavinger or Peluffo. If the Orioles were willing to trade them in one deal, they might be names that pop up in a different deal instead.