The next-day bullpen shuffling after a brutal loss in which the Orioles starter was forced out of a game early and the exchangeable parts of the bullpen were taxed heavily is becoming a tradition for the 2017 O’s. Here we go again this Sunday morning, with two fresh relievers joining the party: Logan Verrett, who you’ve seen before, and Jimmy Yacabonis, who will be making his MLB debut.
To make room for those players on the roster, Stefan Crichton was optioned back to Norfolk and Edwin Jackson was designated for assignment. That’s quite the short stay for Jackson, but given how he pitched, it’s hard to argue he deserved any differently. There’s a reason why he was available to be signed after the start of the season.
There wasn’t much harm in the O’s giving Jackson a shot. He was pitching at least superficially decent for Norfolk and had an opt-out. In Jackson’s four days on the roster he gave up four earned runs and three more unearned due to his own throwing error. Jackson’s WHIP was a whopping 3.000.
With the free exchange of optionable relievers in the Orioles bullpen being a necessary condition to survive this season, there wasn’t room to keep Jackson for long if he wasn’t up to snuff right away. Ubaldo Jimenez is already out in the bullpen taking up space. Like it or not, the O’s have a lot invested in Jimenez. Jackson, not so much. So off he goes.
Crichton also pitched like a guy who should be back in the minors, and what’s more, he pitched two innings in yesterday’s game so he won’t even be fresh today. Off he goes, too.
This round of new guys
We’ve seen Verrett before this year. The 2015 Rule 5 pick who the O’s didn’t keep them but reacquired in the offseason is one of the few of this crowd of pitchers who’s yet to post an ERA that makes you think, “Why the heck is this guy here?” A 3.38 ERA in three games doesn’t tell us much, but it’s not horrible.
Yacabonis, 25, was the O’s 13th round pick in the 2013 draft. He was just some other guy in the system until things improved in a big way at Double-A Bowie last year and they’ve been even better at Triple-A this year. In 30 innings for the Tides over 23 games, Yacabonis had a 0.90 ERA. Not too shabby.
Keep in mind, though, that Yacabonis issued an uncomfortable number of walks with Norfolk, 16 in those 30 innings, and has only struck out 18 batters in that time. Not a ratio you want to see. The low strikeout rate is an aberration compared to the rest of his minor league career. The high walk rate is not.
Yacabonis has pitched well enough that an Orioles team that’s absolutely thirsting for warm bodies to eat up some innings should certainly be giving him a chance to see how he does. The rest is in his hands. With Kevin Gausman pitching the way he’s been pitching this year, Yacabonis might just get his shot on Sunday.