The Baltimore Orioles solved a lingering roster problem on Thursday by trading right-handed reliever Ryan Webb and the #74 pick in the June Amateur Draft to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a pair of minor leaguers. Webb had been removed from Baltimore’s active roster last week. He passed through waivers without being claimed due to the $2.7 million remaining on his contract. The Orioles decided to part ways with Webb after an uneven 2014 season. Webb’s departure allowed Baltimore to include Rule 5 draft pick Jason Garcia on the Opening Day roster.
In return for Webb, the Orioles acquired pitcher Ben Rowen and catcher Chris O’Brien. Rowen, a 26-year-old right-hander, posted excellent stats for Triple-A Round Rock over the past two seasons. He pitched to a 4.15 ERA in a brief for the Rangers in 2014. O’Brien, the son of long-time Major League catcher Charlie O’Brien, is a 25-year-old product of Wichita State. He was selected by the Dodgers in the 18th round of the 2011 draft. O’Brien has steadily advanced through the Dodgers’ farm system and could have a future as a backup catcher in the big leagues. O’Brien set career highs in most offensive categories, including extra-base hits and OPS, for Double-A Chattanooga last season.
The Orioles have effectively handed a draft pick to Los Angeles in return for taking Webb’s salary. Rowen and O’Brien are not prime prospects but they do have some Major League potential and a full set of minor league options. Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette, who does a masterful job of maintaining roster flexibility, has essentially turned Ryan Webb into three younger players (Garcia, Rowen, O’Brien) with lower salaries and higher ceilings. Orioles fans should expect to see Rowen in Baltimore at some point this season.