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Checking in on notable former Orioles

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It can be tough to see former Orioles succeed elsewhere, but it’s also a relief to watch them struggle in a different uniform.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

It can get a bit exhausting to talk about just one team all year long. Sure, we love the Orioles around here, but there are 29 other MLB franchises that deserve attention too. Better yet, some of those teams enjoy the contributions of players that used to don the orange and black.

So, let’s step back from the O’s and take a look at how some familiar faces are faring away from Baltimore. Needless to say, this is not a full, exhaustive examination of all former Birds (that would be ridiculous). But it should cover most of the guys that you care about. That said, feel free to add info to the comments section about any other fellas that may have flown the coop.

LHP T.J. McFarland, Arizona Diamondbacks
11 G, 3-0, 0.55 ERA, 16.1 IP, 11 SO, .164 BAA, 0.80 WHIP, 0.5 WAR

The southpaw was released by the O’s back in February after being designated for assignment in order to make room for Vidal Nuno. Arizona invited McFarland to Spring Training and then assigned him to Triple-A Reno before calling him up to the show in late April.

In limited appearances, the 27-year-old has done a nice job. He has even powered through a left ankle injury which put him on the shelf in mid-May. Left-handed hitters are really struggling, slashing just .067/.118/067 against McFarland.

RHP Jim Johnson, Atlanta Braves
24 G, 3-1, 11 SV, 3.65 ERA, 24.2 IP, 27 SO, .215 BAA, 1.01 WHIP, 0.4 WAR

It wasn’t that long ago that Johnson saved 101 games for the O’s over the span of the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He was a key cog in the team that brought winning back to Baltimore. After struggling with the Athletics, Tigers and Dodgers, the 33-year-old has resurrected his career with the Braves.

OF Nick Markakis, Atlanta Braves
.283/.365/.366, 12 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 24 RBI, 0.3 WAR

Markakis was the face of the franchise in Baltimore for nearly a decade, and he was a steady veteran influence on both the 2012 and 2014 playoff teams. Odds are he would still be a productive hitter in the O’s lineup. The team could certainly use his on-base ability, but his power is pretty poor for a corner outfield. No matter, there will still be some clamoring for his return come the trade deadline or when he hits free agency following the 2018 season.

RHP Jake Arrieta, Chicago Cubs
11 G, 5-4, 4.60 ERA, 62.2 IP, 71 SO, .272 BAA, 1.34 WHIP, -0.3 WAR

In the last two years, the 31-year-old Arrieta has won a World Series and a Cy Young award; two things he, likely, would not have done in Baltimore. But his 2017 season has been his toughest since being traded to Chicago in 2013. Part of his problem may be bad luck. Opposing hitters are batting .337 on balls in play.

RHP Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs
24 G, 2-2, 2.79 ERA, 19.1 IP, 22 SO, .174 BAA, 1.14 WHIP, 0.2 WAR

RHP Koji Uehara, Chicago Cubs
22 G, 1-3, 3.26 ERA, 19.1 IP, 23 SO, .194 BAA, 0.98 WHIP, 0.1 WAR

A pair of former bullpen pieces that would be really useful in the middle innings for the 2017 Orioles. For the fifth consecutive season, Strop has an ERA under three for the Cubs. Uehara is 42 years old and still is effective enough to have a WHIP under one.

RHP Miguel Gonzalez, Chicago White Sox
11 G, 4-6, 4.83 ERA, 69.0 IP, 40 SO, .282 BAA, 1.42 WHIP, 0.0 WAR

Since having two back-to-back, eight-inning starts back in April, Gonzalez’s season has taken a bit of a nose dive. His best outing since then was actually a hard luck loss to the O’s on May 5 when he allowed just two runs over 6.2 innings. However, the ChiSox stink and Gonzalez gets a chance to play the role of “veteran innings eater”, which sounds just about right for the 33-year-old.

LHP Andrew Miller, Cleveland Indians
24 G, 3-0, 0.33 ERA, 27.1 IP, 40 SO, .137 BAA, 0.66 WHIP, 1.9 WAR

Miller was only an Oriole for a few months, but he was so good that the argument can be made that he was worth trading Eduardo Rodriguez to division rival Boston. Since leaving Baltimore, Miller has continued to be one of the best relievers in baseball and is almost certainly the best non-closer in the game.

1B Mark Reynolds, Colorado Rockies
.295/.366/.535, 6 2B, 14 HR, 46 RBI, 0.7 WAR

Can you believe it has been five years since Reynolds was an Oriole? Since leaving he has been to Cleveland, New York, Milwaukee, St. Louis and now Colorado. At 33, the slugger is having the best season of his career in Denver’s thin air and has been an important part of what has been a surprisingly good Rockies team.

RHP Jason Hammel, Kansas City Royals
11 G, 2-6, 5.93 ERA, 57.2 IP, 47 SO, .295 BAA, 1.60 WHIP, -0.4 WAR

Five years ago, Hammel was the Orioles starter in game one of the teams first ALDS in a generation. Now, he is a bad pitcher on one of the best teams in baseball. Just another sad case of a veteran pitcher returning to the American League after a few successful campaigns on the senior circuit.

RHP Bud Norris, Los Angeles Angels
28 G, 1-2, 10 SV, 2.60 ERA, 27.2 IP, 36 SO, .173 BAA, 1.05 WHIP, 0.9 WAR

Looking back, it makes perfect sense that Norris has become a big league closer. He always had the swagger and touted a pretty impressive fastball. Now he gets to actually do it. So far, he is 10-of-12 in save opportunities for an Angels team that, despite missing Mike Trout, is within reach of a playoff spot.

LHP Wei-Yin Chen, Miami Marlins
5 G, 2-1, 4.33 ERA, 27.0 IP, 20 SO, .225 BAA, 1.19 WHIP, 0.2 WAR

It’s been a tough go of it for Chen in Miami. So far, 2017 has been even worse than 2016. He lost all of May to “left arm fatigue” and he doesn’t have an expected return date just yet. Yikes.

OF Nelson Cruz, Seattle Mariners
.297/.379/.564, 10 2B, 14 HR, 45 RBI, 1.6 WAR

You thought he was good in Baltimore? Well he has been even better since signing with the Mariners. This is his age-36 season and he is on pace for his fourth consecutive 40-homer campaign despite playing the last three in, what many people call, a “pitcher’s park”.

RHP Yovani Gallardo, Seattle Mariners
11 G, 2-6, 6.24 ERA, 57.2 IP, 43 SO, .297 BAA, 1.66 WHIP, -0.5 WAR

The Orioles stole Seth Smith from these guys in exchange for Gallardo? Maybe Seattle will say “no” to deals with Baltimore for a while.

RHP Tommy Hunter, Tampa Bay Rays
15 G, 0-1, 1.84 ERA, 14.2 IP, 12 SO, .204 BAA, 0.95 WHIP, 0.4 WAR

Hunter’s performance thus far deserves two claps and a Rick Flair. He still has that mid-90s fastball and would seem to be setting himself up as a valuable trade chip for the middling Rays.

UTL Steve Pearce, Toronto Blue Jays
.205/.256/.373, 2 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI, -0.2 WAR

The 34-year-old’s struggles from the end of last season with the O’s have followed him north of the border to Toronto. Even worse, he has been on the DL since May 15 with a calf strain. #teamSteve?

C Matt Wieters, Washington Nationals
.278/.345/.430, 9 2B, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 0.6 WAR

It is still really weird to see Wieters in the Walgreens uniform, but it’s nice to know he is doing well and playing an important role on a good team. So far, he has been able to stay off the DL and keep contributing. Good luck, Matt, but please no more walk offs against the O’s, OK?

*All statistics are from the 2017 season through Sunday June 4th