15 December 2012

Where Are They Now -- the 2012 Tides Home Opener Roster (Pitchers)

One of the purposes of a Triple-A team is to supply their affiliated team with reinforcements during the course of the long season. In 2012, the Norfolk Tides did supply the Orioles with many key pieces, such as outfielder Nate McLouth and starting pitchers Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez. But not all of the 77 players who appeared on the Tides’ active roster in 2012 were as useful as McLouth, Tillman, or Gonzalez. Although I don't have the Tides 2012 Opening Day roster — they opened 2012 on the road — over the next two weeks I'll review the Tides' roster for their April 9 home opener. This week, I'll go over the pitchers.

Brad BergesenBergesen began 2012 in the Norfolk starting rotation, and in fact was their opening-day starting pitcher. As other starting pitchers joined the team, he was moved to the bullpen. When the Orioles tried to remove Bergesen from the forty-man roster, the Diamondbacks claimed him and he pitched in nineteen big-league games. The Diamondbacks released him in November.

Jason BerkenBerken, the Tides starting pitcher in their home opener, spent almost all of 2012 in the Norfolk starting rotation. He led the Tides in starts and innings pitched. He had one disastrous relief inning in Baltimore, and after the minor-league season was claimed on waivers by the Cubs. He made four starts for the Cubs and was outrighted to AAA after the season.

Dana EvelandEveland bounced up and down all of 2012, making 14 starts for Norfolk and appearing in 14 games (2 starts) for the Orioles, mostly in a mop-up role. He was granted free agency after the season.

Willie EyreEyre had been a successful pickup at the end of 2011, and made the Tides bullpen out of spring training. Unfortunately, Eyre could only manage a 7.92 ERA in his 25 Tides innings and was released in June. The Rangers signed him, and he pitched fairly well for their AAA team. He’s now a minor-league free agent.

Chris George – After two modestly successful seasons as a swingman for the Tides, former Kansas City Royal George was on the Tides’ roster at the start of the season. After 4 games, 8 innings with an 11.25 ERA, George was released at the end of April and didn’t catch on anywhere.

Steve Johnson – Johnson began 2012 as a spot starter/long relief pitcher with the Tides, but after promotions, injuries, and roster moves became a fulltime starting pitcher. He pitched very well for the Tides – much better than he had in 2011 – and went 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA in twelve big-league appearances. He's in the mix for the 2012 Orioles' staff.
Jon Link – Link started 2012 as one of the Tides’ closers, but lost that job and was released in early June despite pitching fairly well. He was signed by Miami and was declared a free agent after the season.
Pat Neshek – Recovering from an arm injury, Neshek eventually took over the closer role for the Tides and led the team in saves. Neshek was sold to Oakland in early August and became a useful member of the Athletics’ bullpen, posting a 1.37 ERA in 24 games. He’s currently on Oakland’s 40-man roster, having signed a contract for $900,000.
Zach Phillips – Phillips was the Tides’ primary left-handed setup man to Pat Neshek until Neshek was sold to Oakland; then he became the Tides’ closer for the last month. He led the Tides in pitching appearances and gave up only one home run in 54 innings. In addition, Phillips pitched six scattered innings for the 2012 Orioles. After the season, he was declared a free agent and has signed a minor-league contract with the Marlins.
Miguel Socolovich – Another Tides middle-to-long relief pitcher, Socolovich went 4-0, 1.90 in 28 Tides relief appearances. He had two brief stints with the Orioles before being claimed by the Cubs on waivers in late August. After a few appearances with the Cubs, he was removed from their roster and is currently a free agent.
Chris Tillman – Tillman started 2012 in the Tides’ rotation. He pitched better and was recalled to Baltimore on July 4. The fourth time was the charm, as Tillman became a reliable rotation starter, going 9-3, 2.93 with the Orioles. He starts 2013 as a likely member of the Orioles’ rotation.
Oscar Villarreal – Villarreal was one of the two Tides to spend all of 2012 at Norfolk, generally as the right-handed setup man. Villarreal was effective in that role with a 2.88 ERA in 68 innings. He was declared a free agent after the season and signed a minor-league contract with the Red Sox.
Dontrelle Willis – The Orioles signed Willis to a minor-league contract with the hope that he would become a left-handed relief specialist. Willis made a couple of ineffective appearances, was put on the disabled list, and then left the team, declaring that he wanted to be a starting pitcher. Eventually, the Orioles agreed to that and he rejoined the Tides. On June 27, he made a start at Columbus and was hit hard. After that game, he announced his retirement and so far has stuck to it.


OTHOSOS said...

At first glance a mixed bag. Is this atypical of a AAA roster? When Duquette reached down he got two starters for the stretch. seems like a good Deal to me.

Unknown said...

An interesting question, one to which I don't have a good answer. Sounds like a topic for 2013.