Omar Daal sigend a two-year contract today with Baltimore. He was 11-9 with a 3.90 ERA for LA last year. He is expected to be the number 2 or 3 pitcher next year. It sounds like a pretty good pick-up for the O's, right?
Well, what the stats don't tell you is that Daal's ERA was only slightly above the adjusted average for a Dodger pitcher (by 3%). That's not bad, just average. But when you have a staff led by a 27-year-old, 2nd-year pitcher in Rodrigo Lopez, who surprised everyone with a 15-9, 3.57 year last year, as the Orioles do, you cannot afford too many average pitchers.
Besides the rest of the staff is highly suspect. There's 26-year-old Sidney Ponson who may have started to finally become a major-league pitcher after 6 years of trying. He had a career-low 4.09 ERA (7% better than average). His strikeouts per 9 innings, WHIP, and strikeout-to-walk ratio improved. He still does give up a lot of home runs though. Ponson and Daal will duke it out for number 2. I think the Orioles would be better served in giving the job to the youngster and allowing him to grow into a reliable starter.
The rest of the staff will be filled by untried rookies (probably 23-year-old John Stephens) and franchise albatross Scotty Erickson, who is in the last year of his contract. They do have a pretty good bullpen led by youngster Jorge Julio though.
That's not much of a staff though when you are competing with the Yankees and Red Sox. With all of the starting pitching talent available and the O's lack of spending of late, couldn't they have opened the coffers for someone better than Daal? I don't mean to dis Omar. He's a solid, average pitcher. He is not, however, the type of pitcher that you want competing for number 2 on your staff, not unless you are not a very good team. And clearly the O's are content with remaining not a very good team--Oh, and with blocking the Expos relocation to abutting D.C. territory. It's pretty clear that this club is not as good as their post All-Star floundering lunges at mediocrity would lead you to believe. Their late-season swoon may have been a better indication of how they'll do in 2003.