- ESPN MLB insider
Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”
The Baltimore Orioles acquired left-hander Cole Irvin from the Oakland Athletics on Thursday, bolstering their rotation as they look to take a step forward in the ultracompetitive American League East.
Irvin, who turns 29 this week, emerged as a reliable innings-eater over the last two seasons, throwing 359.1 innings at a 4.11 ERA after the A’s acquired him from Philadelphia for $100,000.
Baltimore used its significant middle-infield depth in the deal, sending 21-year-old Darell Hernaiz to Oakland. The Orioles also received 24-year-old minor league right-hander Kyle Virbitsky as part of the trade.
Baltimore took a significant leap forward last year, finishing 83-79 a year after losing 110 games. The promotion of catcher Adley Rutschman and infielder Gunnar Henderson, both considered the top prospects in the game at the time of their debuts, buttressed a team that had lost at least 108 games in the previous three full seasons.
The Orioles have had a relatively quiet winter, signing right-hander Kyle Gibson, right-handed reliever Mychal Givens and second baseman Adam Frazier to one-year deals. Irvin will join Gibson and Dean Kremer in the rotation, with Tyler Wells, Kyle Bradish and Austin Voth fighting for slots along with right-hander Grayson Rodriguez, one of the best pitching prospects in the minor leagues.
Hernaiz, who was taken in the fifth round of the 2019 draft, leapt from Low-A to Double-A during the 2022 season. He hit .273/.341/.438 with 12 home runs, 62 RBIs and 32 stolen bases in 36 attempts while playing shortstop, second base and third base.
Virbitsky, in his first full season in 2022, put up a 4.63 ERA in 126.1 innings with 140 strikeouts against 30 walks with 18 home runs allowed.
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