Just to show you how busy the Oriole front office has been, earlier today I scanned this card in order to write a post about how Randor Bierd seemed to have been squeezed out of the team's bullpen despite a sometimes-impressive rookie season. By the time I got back online, I discovered that he had been traded to the Red Sox for fellow right-handed pitcher David Pauley. This comes one day after the O's acquired speedy outfielder Felix Pie (pronounced PEE-ay, much to my disappointment) from the Cubs in exchange for lefty Garrett Olson. Easy come, easy go.
It's always tricky to acquire a player in the Rule V draft, as the Birds did with Randor last year. You've got to keep the guy on your major league roster for the entire season, or else offer him back to his original club for half-price. The O's drafted pitcher Mike Johnson in 1997, and he flopped (7.94 ERA). They lucked out with Jay Gibbons in 2001 (be fair: he did have a few good years), but Jose Morban was absolutely overmatched in 2003 (.141 AVG). But Bierd hit the ground running, pitching thirteen scoreless innings to start his career and wowing the coaching staff with an unhittable changeup that he reportedly learned from Pedro Martinez. He also had an exotic name and a hilarious nickname, courtesy of Camden Chat: Randor the Burninator. (For those unfamiliar with Homestar Runner: click here. Wait it out, it's worthwhile. RANDOOOOOOORRRRR!!!)
Unfortunately, Randor went on the disabled list after back-to-back rough outings at the end of April. He had a right shoulder impingement, which cost him velocity. He clearly wasn't the same pitcher upon his return in July, and he finished the year with a 4.91 ERA. Despite his strong start and a track record for throwing strikes (always a rare and precious commodity for the Orioles), he wasn't even on the team's list of Spring Training invites prior to today's trade. With Danys Baez (ecch) and Chris Ray returning from surgery, and the eventual loser(s) of the starting rotation derby slotted for long relief, it looked like Randor was the odd man out. It just goes to show you how fleeting success can be at the major league level. I'll pull for him to turn things around in 2009...but I'll probably also pull for the Red Sox to trade him elsewhere first!